In 2018, most organisations have actively integrated social media into their marketing strategy. Yet few have considered a social media policy, with only 51% of employees reporting that their workplace has ‘rules’ regarding social media (according to Pew Research Center).
If your organisation is active on social it is crucial you have a social media policy. There should be no misunderstanding for an employee when it comes to the rights and wrongs of posting content, regardless of whether it is in the context of business or personal accounts. The days of hiding behind the statement ‘these views are my own’ are firmly over! Any content that can be linked even by tentative association can bring praise or criticism to a brand’s reputation.
Social media is a great channel to build your brand image, grow a loyal and engaged audience, and deliver exciting customer experiences. However, there are a number of social media risks to be aware of, but having a policy in place is one way to help mitigate those risks and get the most from your social accounts. Having a policy in place can protect your organisation and brand from being embarrassed or even potentially facing legal issues.
The role of a social media policy
The role of the social media policy is to outline your corporate guidelines, protect your organisation and employees when they are using social media and to maintain a good brand image. Ideally your social media policy, will fill your employees with confidence when using social to help them deliver the most engaging content possible.
Why you need to have a social media policy in place
A social media policy is a powerful tool which is used to help protect both your employees and the organisation from social media risks.
- The policy helps to educate employees on the organisations cultures and policies specifically in communicating across social media channels. It is specific about what is acceptable working practice in both personal and professional social media and provides practical examples of how to apply the policy and signposting to further help and support.
- By clearly outlining the ‘do’s and don’ts’ the chance of exposing the organisation to any legal issues such as defamation, copyright and exposing intellectual property are reduced, all of which can cause significant damage to your organisation.
- Having a policy in place can also help minimise your employee’s falling foul of click-bait links and other viruses. By educating on the risks social media can pose and the potential data protection breaches, it will help minimise the more serious issues which are sparked by the high speed, snowball effect of social media.
If you do not currently have a policy in place, then now is the time to create yours. With the pace social media networks are evolving, it is vital you have a meaningful and practical plan.
Keeping your policy up to date is essential. The environment is dynamic and constantly changes. The social media policy needs to be regularly reviewed and updated in order to keep up with social media platforms and UK law, in order to keep your employees confident, safe and secure.
Some employees may require comprehensive social media training and mentoring through the process, and a ‘two set of eyes’ validation process can help ensure the policy is being adhered to and reduce the risk of mistakes.
Your social media management platform should allow for a copy of the policy to be easy accessible to all users. In addition to this, some platforms include a very useful feature where users can add and contribute practical examples they have experienced or seen in undertaking their role on social media to help educate others, hence reducing the likelihood of putting the organisation at risk in future. For example, SoCrowd has a collaborative wiki page whereby all policies are available for users to access at any time.
If we have inspired you to implement a social media policy, please check out our blog How to write a social media policy which provides additional information on creating a policy.