What is a workplace social media policy?
A social media policy for employees outlines clear, concise guidelines about how they should behave online, and it can cover both their personal and professional activities. Social media connects individuals and businesses through content sharing. Users can engage with each other, read customer opinions and expand their professional networks. The most important function of a social media employment policy is to safeguard the company’s image and encourage employees to behave responsibly when posting online.
The benefits of having a social media policy in place
A social media policy offers many workplace benefits, including instilling confidence in employees in how they represent your brand online and encouraging respectful digital communication between community members. Social media policies can provide many other benefits to businesses, including:
- Improved reputation and brand identity: A detailed social media employee policy elaborates on the company’s brand identity, what language employees should use when discussing the business, how they should respond to comments or blog posts and whether they should refer inquiries to the public relations or marketing department. It helps companies maintain a good reputation and create consistent rhetoric about the brand’s values.
- Awareness of company rules about public and private information: Social media changes constantly, and so do the regulations companies establish around it. A social media policy that outlines the rules for engagement online should include details about protecting information. When these rules are accessible on your internal website or social media page, employees can comply and keep sensitive information away from competitors.
- Better communication: An effective social media policy encourages communication between company employees without jeopardizing the brand’s image or message. Connecting with colleagues online while complying with guidelines in the social media policy can increase unity among staff members and ensure that digital interactions don’t have negative repercussions.
- Faster response times during a social media crisis: A social media employee policy should provide a roadmap for your company’s response to a social media crisis. Having a plan for how your company responds to a scandal or crisis can help mitigate damage to your reputation.
- Promotes equality: A social media policy for your employees ensures everyone is treated fairly regarding the type of content they’re permitted to post online. This level playing field means that if questionable comments or statements are made online, such as derogatory or offensive language, all employees can expect to be reprimanded accordingly with no room for favoritism.
- Easy recruitment: When your employees have personal social media accounts that make working for your company look fun and challenging, high-quality candidates will be more likely to apply to your business. The way your employees represent working for your company online can positively impact your brand identity and promote an image of healthy company culture, making your workplace more desirable to applicants and clients.
What to include in a social media policy
Social media policies for employees include guidance for people using the company’s social media and sometimes their personal profiles as well. These policies typically include:
- A definition of social media: Social media can mean different things to different people. Let readers know which social media sites your company uses and which ones your company’s social media policy covers. You can include blogs, social networking platforms, forums and other types in your definition.
- A description of the brand and its voice: Tell people what tone to use for your business’s social media. For example, you may want to share posts that are serious, whimsical or urgent. Maybe you want to share posts with a combination of characteristics. Let staff members know whether your company’s posts will focus on videos, photos or other types of information. Talk about the brand’s logo, mascots and leaders. Remind people they are ambassadors for the brand, and if they wouldn’t say something in front of their boss, they shouldn’t post it on social media.
- Departmental roles and expectations: Let readers know which department or employee will maintain the company’s social media account. Provide an email address where people can send posts for approval, and mention whether individual departments or locations should create regular posts.
- Security directives: A social media policy for employees must contain instructions about handling sensitive or proprietary information. Classified information such as plans for new products, photos of prototypes or records of development meetings must remain confidential. Businesses also need to protect the privacy of customers who don’t consent to appear on social media. Include a list of all the sites that your company’s social media policy covers, the content that people need to avoid and example posts for your business. Only grant a few trusted team members access to the company’s social media accounts for updating. If someone quits or gets fired, issue new social media passwords as soon as possible to prevent unauthorized changes.
- Response plans: Social media policies need to have response plans for unfavorable posts from individuals or news outlets. A response plan outlines how people should handle individual complaints or questions from the media. They remind employees to refer these inquiries to the marketing or customer service departments and how to do that. When swift action is needed, a clear response plan will save time and help your company keep its reputation intact.
- Directions for complying with local laws and legal advice: In many industries, people avoid certain subjects or include legal disclaimers in their ads and social media posts. Most social media policies also include instructions on how to comply with copyright law and what sources to use for stock photos and industry information.
- Rules about personal social media use: Explain the rules for behavior on personal social media accounts and let people know they should delete accounts that don’t comply or change the settings to private so that customers can’t see them. Political material, comments about competitors or complaints about bosses or customers could be banned. Some companies have separate personal and corporate social media policies.
- When and how it’s used: Employees should be aware through your social media policy if they are prohibited from spending time on social media apps during working hours. Also, inform your staff about protocols regarding using company email addresses to register for social media accounts intended for personal use.
- The consequences of social media policy violations: Social media policies should also let people know what punishments they can expect for violating social media policies and who determines those consequences. People who post incorrect information or violate minor rules often need to apologize and correct their statements. Those who reveal company secrets or post inappropriate content online could lose their jobs or pay monetary damages to the business.
Social media policy template
Social media policy templates should be concise but contain information about how guidelines for social media use relate to the company’s core values. With this template, you can create a social media policy for your company quickly and easily:
[Date and Version]
[Discuss why the company implemented the new social media policy and the goals it hopes to achieve.]
[State the business’s mission and values.]
Social media policy
[Include the content in the previous section in a list of guidelines for employees’ social media use.]
[Include several resources, along with a place to submit complaints and ask questions about the company’s policies.]
Social media policies examples
Use social media policy examples to help you write social media use guidelines for your organization:
September 10, 2022
Panacea Neighborhood Pharmacy uses marketing and promotion to interact with customers through a variety of social media channels. This social media policy covers proper use by our employees.
Panacea Neighborhood Pharmacy is dedicated to providing the community with essential medications and medical supplies.
Social media policy
Employees of Panacea Neighborhood Pharmacy must keep these guidelines in mind:
- Transparency: Be honest on social media, but don’t post any claims about the company or its products until you receive authorization from our marketing department.
- Safety: Keep passwords safe, and don’t visit social media sites while using company hardware or the company’s network.
- Own your views: When you post your own opinions, add a statement clarifying your thoughts are your own and don’t reflect the views of your employer.
- Confidentiality: Never disclose medical histories or other personal information about Panacea Neighborhood Pharmacy’s customers.
- Policy enforcement: Any violation of social media policy will be met with disciplinary action, including termination in severe cases.
Frequently asked questions about social media policy
How do I create a social media policy for my employees?
To draft a social media policy for your company, make use of social media policy examples online or work within a template. Set expectations for employee conduct and be clear about your brand’s voice and message. Communicate to employees that they are your brand ambassadors and outline the repercussions for inappropriate online activity.
How can my company avoid social media misuse?
Protect your brand from social media misuse by implementing a policy that encourages proactive measures. Ensure employees are aware of the difference between content that is public vs. private, guidelines for posting photos or videos taken within the workplace and using discretion for sharing classified information.