How to create a social media policy (+ free template)
29th September 2021
63% of the world’s population are active on social media platforms, with 40% of all internet users worldwide using social media at work.
With more than half of us using social platforms regularly, and not enough people using social media management tools, it’s no wonder it’s become a minefield of different writing styles, opinions, and thoughts on what’s appropriate and what’s not.
Many people don’t realize the power of social media. A small joke can snowball into a PR nightmare, and a comment between friends can seriously tarnish a brand’s reputation.
Having a social media policy to offer guidance to employees across your business keeps everyone aligned on what’s acceptable when it comes to mixing work and social.
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But before we talk more about social media policies, here are a few examples of brands that went viral for all the wrong reasons.
With the intention of promoting a new scholarship program to change the gender ratio in the restaurant industry by empowering female chefs, Burger King’s conversation starter (pictured above) received a much more negative reception than they’d expected.
Reformation chose to announce the return of the ‘Guava’ dress by showing a model wearing the dress in the factory, among the factory workers. Unsurprisingly, this rubbed a lot of people the wrong way and was quickly dubbed as being pretty offensive.
Innocent shows how even an innocent campaign idea (no pun intended) can go awry. To try and sell more of their dairy-free range Innocent invented a fake ‘conker milk’ to get some extra attention on social. Before the campaign went live, the team did discover that conkers were poisonous but didn’t think it was reason enough to stop the campaign from going ahead. Turns out, they were wrong.
If you want to here more from Innocent on their apporach to content then watch our webinar with John Thornton (Innocent Drink's social media manager and all-round content genius).
A simple social media policy reminds your team of the responsibility they have when representing the company online, and the consequences that can occur when guidelines aren’t adhered to. It can also offer best practice advice to help your team harness the power of social for good.
To get you started off on the right track, and ensure that you’re including the most vital information in your social media policy, download our free social media policy template and fill in the blanks according to your company guidelines.
Don’t expect employees to automatically know where the line is when it comes to their social media interactions. It’s important to spell out what you expect from your employees and not rely on their ability to use their own common sense. Things that are not acceptable may include; no hate speech, no negativity towards the company, no sharing of confidential information, no politics, and basically nothing you wouldn’t do in front of your Grandma!
A social media policy reminds employees that their personal channels can still be connected to their professional lives. Employees will need to be careful in expressing any personal opinion that may be conflicting with the company's values.
You should clarify in your policy if you are okay for employees to include their place of work in their social media bios, and if they do mention their association with the company - they may also need to state that their views are their own!
Team members who don’t deal with customers/leads directly may have difficulty knowing how to respond if they are directly approached by an interested party. Your social media policy should outline the best way to respond as well as clarifying who in your company is best to pass such inquiries to.
It’s not particularly helpful to say ‘don’t share confidential information’ without clarifying what is confidential. Your social media policy should clarify what information should not be shared in a public or online setting.
It’s not all doom and gloom. Encouraging employees to talk about your product/services on their own personal social channels can help increase your brand awareness and shows that your team is invested. This is great for brand image, may help with recruitment in the future, and is beneficial for social networking on behalf of the company.
The good news is, we’ve done the hard work for you! Make a start on your social media policy today by downloading our free social media policy template.