When it comes to writing a social media policy for employees, what should the policy absolutely include?
To help you with best practices for social media policies, we asked social media managers and marketing experts this question for their best insights. From advising against posting competitors to clarifying confidentiality, there are several best practices that you may adopt as essential components of your social media policy.
Here are six best practices for social media policies:
- Advise Against Posting Competitors
- Include Rules for Engaging With Hostile or Critical Commenters
- Explain Who Can Speak On Behalf of the Company
- Encourage Fostering of Positive Connections
- Educate Employees About Online Behaviors
- Clarify Confidentiality
Include Rules for Engaging With Hostile or Critical Commenters
A social media policy for employees should absolutely include rules for interacting with engagement, particularly with hostile or critical commenters. Well-meaning employees might seek to defend the brand when someone insults it online, however, countering aggressively may hurt the brand’s reputation.
You can instruct employees not to engage with trolls, provide suggested messaging, and offer a contact that employees can reach out to with questions on how to respond.
Michael Alexis, TeamBuilding
Advise Against Posting Competitors
The policy should include posting competitor products. Employees should be promoting company products, not outsourcing. While buying the products isn’t frowned upon, it’s best to leave that off social media channels.
Team members are encouraged to upload their own products from the business, but competitors should be avoided.
Sara Adam Slywka, Nestig
Explain Who Can Speak On Behalf of The Company
One thing a social media policy should explain is who can or can’t speak on behalf of the company on social media. This is crucial to avoid potential misunderstandings when an employee speaks on behalf of a company to answer questions or complaints. Employers should have a social media team dedicated specifically to this purpose.
Datha Santomieri, Steadily
Encourage Fostering of Positive Connections
I always want our employees to craft and share authentic, respectful content online that honors ourselves and the differences between all people. Encourage respectful behavior and focus on engaging in positive discourse on employees’ social media to cultivate authentic, connective spaces and curb legal issues and other liabilities.
We each have a responsibility to protect our personal data and our employer’s data, as well as each other’s reputation online. Since everything we post is semi-permanent, create social media policies that nurture positive, genuine connections and relationships.
Kevin Miller, kevinmiller.com
Educate Employees About Online Behaviors
The most important aspect of a social media policy is educating employees about the company’s expectations for their behavior online. Employees should be made aware of what is and isn’t allowed on social media, and they should be given guidance on how to represent the company in a positive light.
They should also be warned about the potential consequences of violating the social media policy, such as being fired or sued. It’s also important to have a mechanism in place for dealing with incidents that occur online.
Employees should know who to contact if they see something that violates the policy, and there should be a process for investigating and responding to complaints.
Asako Ito, Divine Lashes
Confidentiality is high on every business’s list when it comes to social media policy, but quite often it is open to interpretation. For example, although you may advise not to share client information, deals, or wins, your team may post photos of events that include your clients or their banners. Clarifying what exactly they can post is crucial to have a transparent policy which is both easy to understand and to follow.
Amy Bos, Mediumchat Group