Social Media Policies for Dummies: 5 Tips for Creating a Social Media Policy

To say that social media policies are complex would be an understatement.

Today, social media has become just as mainstream as any other form of communication. Facebook alone has over 750 million active users, and then there’s Twitter which continues to rapidly grow. It’s crucial for companies to have a proactive social media policy in place so all their employees know what acceptable practice is and what is not.

Here are five great tips for setting up a company’s social media policy:

Introduce its purpose
It’s important for people to understand why they are being subjected to a social media policy. The idea is that the policy should focus on the things that employees can do rather than what they can’t do. This ensures that employees won’t be discouraged from using social media. Remember, a social media policy is simply a guideline that employees should follow.

Being Human
The essential starting point of any managerial document is to relate to the employees who will be impacted by the policy. If you lose this relationship with your employees, then problems may be caused. You need to focus on gratitude, humility and collaboration.

Company’s culture and values
Every organization has their own culture and set of unique values, and so you need to ensure that this is maintained online. This is an important point to make in your social media policy. The vision of the company to achieve growth online and offline needs to be guided by the values the company lives by. Employee’s need to be constantly reminded that they are representing the company!

Explain the consequences
You need to tell the employees what not to do and explain the consequences. If you make expectations and consequences easily known and accessible, this will be the best way to go about creating a social media policy. It’s useful to provide employees with specific examples of what not to do, and explain why they shouldn’t do it.

For example, employees shouldn’t set up company social media profiles without company sanction. An employee who sets up an unofficial site may not effectively represent the company or might even misrepresent them. It’s important that you develop a consequence structure that will explain what will happen if the company’s social media presence is abused or if the employee misrepresents the company.

Be prepared for change
Social media changes every day and that’s a fact. While some base principles will always stay the same, it is still important to be ready to change your policy and plans. Organizations need to adjust their social media policies in order to match each social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, etc) so that rules are clear and concise.
Make sure you remember these pointers when creating a social media policy and you will be good to go!

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