What is a social media policy?

A social media policy is a document that outlines how a company and its employees should use any social media platforms inside (and often outside!) of working hours.

Why is a social media policy important?

A social media policy helps to safeguard a company’s brand and reputation. Without a clear policy in place, a company takes the risk of being harmed by what employees post, and can even face legal issues in certain, more serious cases when third parties are affected.

The lines between personal and professional have become increasingly blurred, and what one posts on a “personal” social media account can often be linked to one’s “professional” interests. Employees need to know that how they portray or express themselves on social media can often result in negative consequences.

What needs to be included in a social media policy?

● Rules and regulations

The policy should clearly outline what is allowed and what is not allowed when using social media as an employee. This can include rules for posting on the employees’ personal accounts and the company’s account when it comes to mentioning the company, the brand or any stakeholders in any way.

● Potential risks

The policy should clearly state the potential risks an employee faces when using social media in their personal and professional capacity. Examples can be included and this should act as a kind of warning of “what can happen”.

● Accountability

A social media policy should clearly state that if an employee breaks any of the rules and puts the company’s reputation at risk, he or she will be held accountable and there will be consequences. This can be either in the form of warnings, hearings or dismissal, depending on the violation.