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Why does your organisation need a social media policy

Social media is always changing, from content trends to the latest and most popular platforms. And yes, this makes it hard to maintain an updated policy informing employees consistently, but look on the other side – it gives everyone in the organisation guidance in a space that is always so uncertain and dare I say… random?

Structure of a social media policy

I always advocate maintaining a basic social media policy, and this should include:

  • Governance structure, i.e. who owns social media for the organisation. It may be different teams owning different responsibilities, but this should be made clear for accountability and authority.
  • Resources. This can include SAAS platforms for publishing content, any agency on retainer, tone of voice or templates, and anything else necessary to do work for your organisation.
  • Community management. This should explain the rules of engagement when replying to comments, private messages and mentions. For example, do you reply to negative comments on someone’s page, rather than your own?
  • Publishing. You should state if there is an approval process, and who is qualified to provide an approval on behalf of the organisation. Also, consider if only wall (or organic) posts should be reviewed, or does this also include dark ads.
  • User accesses, i.e. how can anyone who want to work on social media campaigns for the organisation get access to do so? If there is training involved, make it clear that this is a pre-requisite too.
  • Employee use of social media, i.e. the rules that an employee need to follow when posting social media content in their personal capacity. This should not be overbearing, but sensible ones like not trolling competitors, mis-selling on social media, sharing confidential information etc.

Managing a social media policy

In a large organisation, a policy that governs the use of social media may ruffle some feathers. For instance, should Marketing, Communications or Legal ‘own’ it? Hence, many organisations require a formal review process with a committee of senior representative. Through this process, you get clear and unequivocal support across the organisation, and it certainly helps push through a standardised approach to the social media that everyone can (or has to) agree on.

Next steps

If you have an existing social media policy, you’re all set. Remember to keep it updated regularly. In my experience, an annual review works well with minimal changes, or if there are new updates, you should make the changes and submit for the committee’s review as soon as you can. After all, a policy that isn’t relevant ceases to be useful.

If you need to prepare a policy from scratch, you can check out this sample social media policy for reference.