Social Media Policy

Creating a Social Media Policy

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.

Why do you need a social media policy in your organization?

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.

Harmony Between Co-Workers

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.

Public Relations and Perception

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.

Clarity for Employees

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.

What is Expected of Online Spokespeople

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.

Example: Dell Global Social Media Policy

Dell has a very simple and straightforward social media policy with six important statements:

  • Protect Information
  • Be transparent and Disclose
  • Follow the Law, Follow the code of Conduct
  • Be Responsible
  • Be Nice, Have Fun and Connect
  • Social Media Account Ownership

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.

iBCScorp’s Social Media Policy

Another great example is our own social media policy. Our policy addresses three important aspects for our employees online interaction while representing our brand:

  • Disclose your relationship with iBCScorp
  • Protect the brand online
  • Use common sense

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.

Another aspect of our social media policy includes the “dos” and “don'ts.”

  • DO list the company as your employer in your social media bio (if you wish
  • DON'T engage with competitors in an inappropriate way.
  • DO share company posts, events, and stories.
  • DON’T engage with negative coverage or comments.
  • DO express your own opinion, but make sure it's clear you're not speaking on behalf of the company.
  • DON'T comment on legal matters pertaining to the company.
  • DO report harassment you've experienced or noticed.
  • DO use appropriate hashtags (#) and mentions (@) tagging the company.
  • DO tag anyone from the company including the head of the company in appreciation posts.
  • DON'T use offensive words against the company. Make sure internal issues are resolved without bringing them online.
  • DO make use of social media to send in an appreciation post.
  • DO incorporate the company into your personal brand, if you wish.

Preventing a Social Media Crisis

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.