A social media policy is a document that outlines how your organization and employees should conduct themselves online. It covers your brand's official channels, as well as how employees use social media, both personally and professionally.
The policy covers all of the organizations online behavior; as such it applies to everyone from the CEO to the interns. In this age of social media, the need for a policy like this cannot be overemphasized. Among the many reasons for having a policy is the need to maintain brand voice while mitigating media risks.
As aforementioned, a detailed social media policy is the sole document you need to govern all of your social media activities. A well-crafted and enforced social policy protects you from falling short of rules and regulations.
If one is unsure about whether or not a social media policy is needed in their business, it is important to remember that it is better to be safe than sorry. Not only would it remind employees to stay within the expectations and guidelines set by the owner, but it would help with the consistency of the company’s appearance online.
Another important reason one might like to consider a corporate social media policy is to help facilitate inclusion and diversity. A good policy should contain comments that include everyone not minding their race, age, or creed. Furthermore it is important to consider including policies that ban cyberbullying and doxing.
Unclear or unimplemented social policies can cause public relation issues. This can be prevented by drafting a policy specific to social media that is explicit and easy to understand. In addition to clearly stating how the company’s image and brand should be represented, it states how social crises or breach should be addressed online. It is vital to make sure one always has an emergency response plan in place.
Social media policy is a way to clarify employees’ social media responsibilities. While it should address the look and attitude of employees online, it might not only focus on what employees can’t do or say, it can actually encourage them to be more involved with social media. When there are clear guidelines that eliminate confusion as to what an employee can or cannot do on social media, it will be easier for them to contribute to the company’s online presence.
Different companies utilize social media to make their voice heard. The way a home decor company makes use of social media might be different from the way a gas company will do so. For example, let's look into Dell's social media policy.
Dell has a very simple and straightforward social media policy with six important statements:
The sixth point is important, because it makes clear to whom online content belongs. In the case of Dell, they make it clear that any information posted about the company becomes the company's property. Because not all companies have this same approach, the need for clarification is imperitive.
Another great example is our own social media policy. Our policy addresses three important aspects for our employees online interaction while representing our brand:
These aspects are important, especially the first. Because we believe that everyone at iBCScorp has the mandate to promote the company; every one of our employees is a representative of our brand.
Misunderstanding your brand happens, so it is important that you prepare for such situations. Your social media policy should include ways to respond to crises when they arise. As a rule one should respond quickly when one’s brand is in trouble.