Every company should establish a social media policy to act as a guide for employees and ensure everyone is on the same page. Let’s go over why having a social media policy is important, as well as a template to create your own social media policy.

Why Do You Need a Social Media Policy?

A social media policy is an official company code of conduct that outlines the guidelines for employees in terms of posting on social media, whether for company or personal accounts. A social media policy applies to all employees, from social media managers to CEOs.

Social media policies can be in a variety of formats such as a public website page or in an employee handbook provided during onboarding. They can be both short and sweet or long and detailed, with many providing both do’s and don’ts for posting.

A social media policy is an important document for companies. Not only does it keep your employees from committing offenses, but it also mitigates public-relations risks and keeps your brand voice consistent.

Some additional reasons to have a social media policy are that they:

  • Protect one’s company from legal issues
  • Prevent security breaches
  • Prevent and help manage public relations (PR) issues
  • Clearly state employee rules for social media
  • Outline responsibilities for certain employees
  • Encourage employees to post about their company
  • Outline expectations for diversity and inclusion

In addition to these important aspects, having a well-crafted social media policy helps companies operate smoothly and even increase long-term revenue.

According to LinkedIn, companies with successful social media employee-advocacy programs are 58% more likely to attract, and 20% more likely to retain, top talent. This reduces long-term employee turnover costs, which is one of the greatest expenses of a business.

Social Media Policy Template

Here’s everything you should include in a successful social media policy template.

Social media policy template

Policy Information

At the top of your social media policy document, include information on the document. Include official information like:

  • Policy name
  • Policy number
  • Date effective
  • Date of recent revision
  • Version number of document
  • Contact information for questions

Including this information at the top of your policy helps to organize your policy documents and make them easier to follow.

Policy Scope

Next, provide a policy scope, or a section that details to whom the following policy applies. Typically, a social media policy will apply to all employees, no matter their seniority. Make sure to detail which employees must follow this policy.

Additionally, outline what terms like “social media” mean under this policy. Consider outlining the specific platforms your company is referring to. Also, note whether this policy applies to company accounts, personal accounts, or both.

Policy Purpose

Under the policy purpose section, write a short overview of the social media policy. This lets employees know what the policy is about. Your policy purpose should also include the reasons for having a social media policy, such as to increase organization, prevent security and PR issues, or outline social media usage rules.

This section can also include what you hope to accomplish by implementing this policy, such as increase employee advocacy or improve company culture.

Do’s and Don’ts

After detailing the basic information of your policy document, it’s time to get into the elements of your social media policy. This can begin with the do’s and don’ts of posting on social media for those that the policy applies to.

Some common do’s for a social media policy include:

  • Do post about the company, in accordance with guidelines
  • Do put the company name in your profile biography
  • Do respect customer and client privacy
  • Do follow the terms and conditions for social media platforms
  • Do pass training before using company accounts
  • Do respect brands, trademarks, and copyright

Some common don’ts for a social media policy are:

  • Don’t post private, sensitive, or confidential information about the company
  • Don’t overuse social media while at work, unless you are a social media manager
  • Don’t post negative content about a customer, client, co-worker, or company
  • Don’t post content that creates a conflict of interest
  • Don’t post defamatory, derogatory, or any other offensive content
  • Don’t respond negatively to comments, messages, etc.

Every company is different, so make sure to tailor your social media policy to your individual needs.

For each rule of your policy, make sure to outline any further details needed, such as what is considered offensive content, what customer/client information is forbidden to post, and so on.

Roles and Responsibilities

Next, a social media policy should outline the roles and responsibilities of certain individuals. For example, it should define who can access company accounts, which is likely only social media and marketing managers.

Additionally, outline the responsibilities of each person who works with the company’s social media channels, such as who posts content, who replies to comments, and who approves content. This section can be written in a table with responsibilities designated to each person’s name/role.

Security Protocols

To prevent possible security breaches, it’s essential to include security protocols. Unfortunately, online accounts are at risk for hackers. But there are ways to keep your accounts and sensitive information safe. Your protocols might include:

  • Having extra-strong passwords
  • Updating passwords each week or month
  • Ensuring no sensitive information can be accessed (i.e. not sending confidential information over direct messages)
  • Only using company devices to manage company accounts
  • Installing two-step logins
  • Having backup accounts

Your security protocol should also detail the plan of action in case of a security breach.

Plan of Action for a PR Crisis

Your social media policy can also include a plan of action for a PR crisis. While following the guidelines of a social media policy should help to prevent PR issues, they are still possible to face.

For example, if a company is facing backlash online, it might follow a set protocol to mitigate it, such as deleting post(s) with negative reactions, [not] responding to comments, or posting an approved apology. This section should also have an updated emergency contact list in case immediate attention is required.

Disciplinary Actions

As this document is a policy that employees are required to follow, it should also include what can happen if they don’t follow the policy. Your disciplinary actions might include warning, suspensions, or termination, depending on the offense. This section should also include how social media will be monitored and how offenses will be determined.

Filing claims

Your policy should also include a section for how employees can file claims or complaints. For example, an employee may want to complain about a co-worker violating this policy by posting an offensive post. Outline how employees can do this, such as by contacting human resources or through an online claims portal.

Make social media policies part of your employee advocacy program

If you already have a formal employee advocacy program in place, or are still considering one, making your social media policy a part of this program is of paramount importance. This way, employees are given clear guidelines on how to post content about your company online. With expectations set, employees feel more confident about advocating to their peers, knowing they’re doing so the right way.

Having a formal employee advocacy program has many benefits. By leveraging your employees’ networks, you can increase your reach by 561%. It’s also been proven that people trust people more than brands. If you’re looking for the right EA tool, schedule your Haiilo demo and learn more about empowering your employees to become true advocates for your organization.

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Social Media Policy Template