How To Write an Effective Social Media Policy in 6 Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published October 21, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Social media policies are important components of a company or organization's rules and regulations for employee conduct. Social media policies can help to protect a business from legal issues or confidentiality problems. If you're a human resources specialist or social media director, learning more about what social media policies are and how to write an effective one can be beneficial. In this article, we explain what a social media policy is, describe the benefits of creating one, describe the important components to include, detail the steps you can follow to write one and review an example.

Related: 14 Ways To Increase Social Media Presence

What is a social media policy?

A social media policy is a document that clearly defines a company or organization's expectations for social media use. It's usually a part of the employee handbook and allows employees to better understand which social media conduct is acceptable. Social media policies can also address internal social media use from marketing professionals to help companies build their brand and avoid legal issues.

Related: Personal Internet Use at Work: Definition, Tips and Sample Internet Policy

Benefits of writing a social media policy

By writing a social media policy for your workplace, you can develop clear expectations for online interactions and social media engagement. This can protect staff members and the company brand from negative perceptions. These are some other benefits of writing an effective social media policy:

  • Define your company brand

  • Improve diversity efforts

  • Avoid security breaches

  • Create contingency plans

  • Explain responsibilities

Related: Community Management vs. Social Media Management

How to write a social media policy

You can follow these steps to create an effective social media policy:

1. Communicate with public relations and cybersecurity

Before writing a social media policy, consider consulting with the cybersecurity and public relations professional in your organization. Public relations may offer insight into the type of behavior that reflects poorly on the company and that the social media policy can help to avoid. Cybersecurity experts can explain security measures and help you clearly define how team members can avoid security breaches.

2. Determine the parameters of your media policy

Before including specific information about your policy, it's important to communicate the purpose of the policy and what it includes. If the policy covers both internal and external social media use, you can state that to ensure team members understand expectations. You can also include what may happen if someone violates any of the terms in the policy.

Related: Creating a Successful Social Media Marketing Strategy

3. List and refer to specific social media platforms

If you have a marketing team that uses different platforms on behalf of your brand, you may allow different kinds of interactions on each one. For example, a short-form social media site may use a more familiar tone than a professional development social media platform. Describing how team members can express themselves on each type of platform, both internal and external, can be helpful.

4. Include the essential social media policy components

After defining the parameters of your policy, you can include the essential components that communicate expectations to team members. Social media policies differ based on the needs of the company. Essential components can include who the policy applies to, the standards for social media use, local rules or regulations and security and confidentiality procedures.

5. Incorporate the policy into your employee handbook

After writing the social media policy, you can save it as a separate document. It's also useful to incorporate it into your employee handbook so all team members have a copy. It's also helpful to hold a meeting to review the social media policy occasionally so all staff members understand the policy's details.

6. Review and update the social media policy as necessary

Reviewing the policy frequently and making adjustments are important for keeping it relevant. For example, if your social media marketing team opens a new company account, it's a good idea to update the policy. As the company grows, you may need to implement new rules or become more specific about online engagement.

Related: Digital Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing: Key Differences

Social media policy example

This is a sample social media policy you can use as inspiration when creating your own:

Tasty Toasters Social Media Policy

Parameters

This policy refers to all internal and external social media use. This includes both social media marketing on the company's behalf and personal accounts, wikis, message boards, networking sites, online forums websites and blogs held, operated or participated in by Tasty Toaster's staff. The purpose of this policy is to protect the security and integrity of the company's brand, sensitive information, reputation and team members.

All external and internal use regulations apply in all social media or online situations for all Tasty Toaster's employees. Refer to the employee handbook for more information regarding our cybersecurity policies. Employees who violate these regulations may be subject to termination or legal action.

External use

The following are regulations that apply to the online engagement and expression of any Tasty Toaster employee. The employee shall not:

  • Conduct themselves in a manner the negatively reflects on the Tasty Toaster's brand.

  • Engage in criminal, unauthorized or otherwise unsatisfactory interactions online.

  • Use company property to interact with personal social media or online accounts.

  • Publish or post any company information that is considered confidential or sensitive.

  • Speak on behalf of the company without authorization to the press or media online.

  • Interact with customers or clients in a negative or antagonistic manner.

  • Neglect to abide by all cybersecurity procedures outlined in the employee handbook.

Internal use

The following are regulations that apply to the online engagement, branding and expression of Tasty Toaster employees on behalf of the company for promotional purposes. The employee shall not:

  • Fail to publish or post important promotional content for personal reasons.

  • Post or publish materials or content that don't align with the brand.

  • Use company accounts to engage in personal interaction with other users.

  • Release information about the company considered confidential or sensitive.

  • Engage with clients or customers in an unsatisfactory off-brand manner.

  • Publish content not included in the strategy without authorization.

  • Neglect to abide by all cybersecurity procedures outlined in the employee handbook.

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