First up, there’s two distinct sections to a social media policy…
How to use social media FOR work, and
How to use it (or not as the case may be) AT work
Your social media will ideally cover both these areas, but two separate policies work well if you have a lot of temporary staff.
1. Open your policy document with an explanation of why the policy exists:
Push Start Marketing’s policy opens with this statement: ‘social media brings significant benefits to us at work through our own social media channels, particularly for building relationships with current and potential customers.
However, it’s important that employees who use social media within the company do so in a way that enhances the company’s prospects.
A misjudged personal status update can generate complaints or damage the company’s reputation. There are also security and data protection issues to consider.
A misjudged status update on a company account can be even more damaging and alienate, insult or lose clients / followers.
This policy explains how employees can use social media safely and effectively.’
2. The scope of the policy
Does your company allow personal use of social media at work, or as in the case of Push Start, encourage it? In what capacity can social media be engaged with? Are employees encouraged to share company updates and talk about their employment with you?
Be clear who holds what responsibilities within the company and what they take care of. For example; ‘The social media manager, Hilary Nightingale is ultimately responsible for ensuring that Push Start Marketing uses social media safely, appropriately and in line with the company’s objectives.’
You can include, the IT manager, the marketing manager and the responsibilities of all staff members.
Why are you using social? Is it to promote your business, or for private social interactions? If you’re staff are affiliated with your business on your private networks, ensure you may wish to establish guidelines of what not to say!
4. Basic advice
Know the social network – get familiar with suitable tone of voice and content
If in doubt, don’t post it – staff members need to know who to consult before posting
Establish a company voice – choose key ethics, such as thoughtful, insightful, useful, entertaining and stick with them
Stay secure – look out for threats to online security and establish a reporting process
Don’t make promises – again, consult with the right person in the company if you want to make a promise, or establish to whom you direct this type of resolution
Take it offline – complex and contentious issues can be taken off social media to be dealt with via the phone or email
Don’t escalate – if you are dealing with a contentious issue with customer service, be as polite as possible for the benefit of your whole audience and get the individual to communicate offline; NEVER argue on social!
5. Authorised users
‘Only people who have been authorised to use the company’s social networking accounts may do so.
Authorisation is usually provided by the [social media manager]. It is typically granted when social media-related tasks form a core part of an employee’s job.
Allowing only designated people to use the accounts ensures the company’s social media presence is consistent and cohesive.’
6. Safe and responsible social media use
‘The rules in this section apply to:
This where you talk about the must-nots: offensive language, unsolicited views etc. You often see ‘views are my own’ on Twitter profiles for example.
Also include copyright laws and guidelines, and data protection and privacy rights, here.
Social media FOR work
7. Creation of social media accounts
Protect your brand and prevent the unauthorised creation of social media accounts in your name. Refer back the ‘responsibilities’ section.
Establish why the company uses social media, for example:
Respond to customer enquiries and requests for help
Share blog posts, articles and other content created by the company
Share insightful articles, videos, media and other content relevant to the business, but created by others
Provide fans or followers with an insight into what goes on at the company
Promote marketing campaigns and special offers
Support new product launches and other initiatives
And refer back to those ethics…
9. Acceptable content
This is a point worth punching home, so go back over the points that were brought up in the ‘general’ section.
Social media AT work
We understand that social media is a powerful tool, and that individual have a network of their own. Can this be tapped into for business use?
Staff members can make industry contacts that may be useful in their jobs
Employees can discover content to help them learn and develop in their role
By posting about the company, staff members can help to build the business’ profile online
10. Personal use of social media accounts
What and when and how long is acceptable? Include how they may or may not talk about the company.
11. Monitoring social media use
‘The company therefore reserves the right to monitor how social networks are used and accessed through these resources. Additionally, all data relating to social networks written, sent or received through the company’s computer systems is part of official [company name] records.’
12. Potential sanctions
‘Knowingly breaching this social media policy is a serious matter. Users who do so will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
Employees, contractors and other users may also be held personally liable for violating this policy.
Where appropriate, the company will involve the police or other law enforcement agencies in relation to breaches of this policy.’
So, that’s your social media policy in 12 easy steps!
For all employees it is essential that the policy is read and understood, and initialled or a digital signature added, to ensure everyone is on the same page, and your company is protected from potential threats.
You can download our social media policy template from the ‘Helpful Stuff’ area of the website, just let us know if it was actually helpful!