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The Small Business Guidelines for Creating a Social Media Policy 

Creating a social media policy for your business should be done so with the intention of providing clarity for employees - when and how should they be using social media?

Of course, this is only really beneficial for organisations that use social media as part of their workday, i.e. your internal marketing department if they manage social channels, or marketing agencies.

If you’re hoping to get advice about monitoring phone use during work hours that is a different policy altogether - this policy is designed to provide guidance for quality control and brand consistency.

Your social media policy should: 

  • Prevent security risks and hacks
  • Prevent PR issues
  • Maintain and uphold brand and voice consistency
  • Offer guidance about what is and isn’t accepted by management for use on social media channels
  • Encourage wider team to boost your brand’s message - advice about sharing company content on social
  • Highlight social media responsibilities - company and personal
  • Advice for working through negative feedback, and legal or HR issues on social media

Some key areas to include in your social media policy are outlined below, but depending on your industry, reliance on social media and goals with your social activity, you may need to add more or less sections to your bespoke company social media policy.

Outline roles and responsibilities

A core focus of your policy must be whose responsibility it is to post on social media, manage engagement and deal with ‘crises’, should they arise. In brief, your roles should clarify: 

  • Who speaks for your brand on social media
  • Who doesn't speak for your brand on social media
  • Who is the point of contact when it's necessary to escalate issues 

Generally speaking, the responsibilities section of your social media policy should highlight: 

  • Posting and engagement 
  • Customer service guidance and structure
  • Strategy and planning
  • Monitoring and listening
  • Effective tools and platforms - free and paid
  • Security and logins
  • Approvals and crisis management
  • Training and upskilling

Security

Although security falls under our first header, it's crucial that security in all its guises is addressed in its own right. You must outline possible security risks and how to address and resolve them. 

It's also best practice to have a policy that addresses regular password changes to reduce the risk of hacks, as well as addressing software updates, device management and who maintains and accesses your social accounts, software, et al. 

Crisis management

Whether it's a security crisis, PR management, or a wider communications concern, you should have a criss management process in place that allows your team to manage crises without your input every time. 

Guidance for personal accounts

Particularly key for employees if you’re encouraging them to share your company content with their personal networks, you may want to offer guidance about the kinds of content and language they’re using on their personal accounts. 

Of course, although you cannot control what your employees post online and most understand the importance of thinking before you post anything online, there may be some specific guidance you can offer that they will appreciate, i.e. how to boost the visibility of your company content on their LinkedIn - and how they can build their personal LinkedIn presence (of benefit for your company, but also their personal brand). 

Use these blog posts for help guiding your employees’ personal social media use: 

Ensure take-up of your social media policy

  1. Create a draft of your policy and get it signed off by senior management/MD.
  2. Get buy-in from marketing leads/senior management, etc.
  3. Confirm update schedule and location of digital document.
  4. Raise awareness of its creation and announce launch.
  5. Launch - via email, meeting, 1-on-1 discussions, etc., get sign-off from required employees.
  6. Review and update as appropriate. 

If you’re looking to get started with your social media policy, ask a digital marketing agency for advice, speak to your HR department, or browse online for some fantastic templates to get yours underway!

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