Social Media Policies for Employees
What’s your company’s policy?
Do you know? Do your employees know?
As with any policy, in order to be effective, this needs to be a firm set of rules.
It needs to be an organized, well thought out list that is written down, shared with employees, updated over time, and posted around the workplace as a constant reminder.
Enforcing a social media policy is important in keeping your company (and brand) safe!
A firm policy will protect your brand, while empowering employees. A social media policy tells the employee what is accepted in the workplace, as well as what is expected from them. Laying out these guidelines will give the employee a sense of creative freedom; by having everything laid out, they feel confident in their work and know they are doing exactly what they are supposed to be.
Your company has likely developed a certain voice, a certain character. It has become a brand…
Keep your brand and message consistent.
This will ensure your brand’s voice, vision, and character come through loud and clear. A social media policy will make this easy! Use the policy to outline expectations of what your brand’s voice and tone should be. Images, as well as copy, should follow one unified voice. Keeping your brand consistent will help you draw in your ideal market and allow customers to really connect with you.
Do you have public-facing employees? Make sure they are well aware of the company’s policy and “voice” and that their public image fits with yours. Consider encouraging them to create a Twitter handle that includes a reference to your brand. For example, if you have employees interacting with the public on behalf of the company, they could create a Twitter handle such as: @”Co.Name,EmployeeName” (Ex: @AmazonTiffany). This makes it clear that Tiffany is an Amazon representative.
What to include in your Social Media Policy
Your policy should cover how your company uses social media, as well as how employees are expected to use their own accounts. Here are some ideas on what to include:
- General guidelines for overall conduct. Use phrases such as “Act respectfully, amongst both customers and peers” or “Be the solution, not the problem.”
- Stress the importance of confidentiality. What is your company’s policy on new product releases? What’s your policy for company news?
- Employees should never reveal or discuss sensitive, private information – not about the company, other employees, or your customers.
- Be very clear in describing the brand, the character, and the voice. Give examples of what kinds of messages, wording, and images to use, and explain how to talk about specific products within your portfolio.
- Humor posts can be good, but stress to your employees that it has to be appropriate and relatable to your brand. (Ex: Is politics somewhere you want to go…?!)
- It’s important that your employees know how to act, but they also have to know how to re-act. How should they handle negative content that they see on your company’s page? How should they handle any negative comments about your brand that they come across? What procedures should they follow?
- Include etiquette guidelines that explain how employees should respond to complaints respectfully.
- You might want to clarify which sites employees may/may not visit at work.
- Do you want your employees to claim accountability on their own social media profiles? For example, should they write something like an “opinions are my own” disclaimer?
- A lot of people’s personal profiles link to their employer, stating where they work. Do you think employees should “behave” a certain way on their own personal accounts? They are, after all, public representatives of your brand…
To ensure a successful social media policy, assign employees to specific tasks that they will be held responsible for. Here are some basic roles that should be filled:
- Training, education, and implementation of the policy to new and current employees
- Branding guidelines (voice, character, images)
- Social media post approval process
- Online customer service guidelines and protocols (how to act and re-act to both good and bad comments)
- Safety and security of the company/brand
- Legal issues (always credit original sources if sharing or borrowing content)
- Maintaining a logical, effective, up-to-date social media policy
Here are some examples of social media policies!
This is Adidas Group’s social media policy: Adidas Group
Here is one by AP (much more in depth than Adidas’): Associated Press
The following is more formal, as a governmental policy: NYC Department of Education
A healthcare industry example: Mayo Clinic
And last but not least, the following article is super helpful because it gives a list of big brands’ social media policies, then goes on to discuss where each one succeeds and/or fails.: Need Sample Social Media Policies? Here Are 7 to Inspire Yours
Social media policy templates, for you 🙂
Templates provide an AWESOME starting ground for your own company’s policy.
This one is short and sweet, and super clear: Template Sample
Here’s another: Workable.com Template
So, how would you define your company’s social media policy? Good, bad, old, non-existent? It’s time to get a solid, updated policy in place so that you and your team can start curating great content (AND SHARING IT SAFELY!), today. 😉