How to Write a Social Media Policy

Your employees are your biggest asset, but they can also be a huge risk to your business. Let’s take a look at what can go wrong on social media, and how you can create a social media policy for your team today!

What can go wrong?

Due to the instant nature of social media, and the size of the audience that can see your updates, little errors can quickly become big problems for your business and your reputation. Here are some examples of well-known social media mistakes which could have been prevented by social media policy:
Music retailer HMV neglected to revoke access to the @hmvtweets twitter account before calling 190 staff in to be laid off. One disgruntled employee live-tweeted the redundancies, with tweets from the account including “We’re tweeting live from HR where we’re all being fired! Exciting!!” and “Just overheard our Marketing Director (he’s staying, folks) ask “How do I shut down Twitter?”

Chrysler Autos suffered a PR crisis when one of their employees mixed up their company twitter account with their personal twitter account, tweeting “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f**king drive”

A United States pizza company, DiGiorno Pizza, used a trending hashtag to promote their pizza without checking the context of the hashtag. The #WhyIStayed hashtag was being used by domestic violence victims to explain why they had stayed in an abusive relationship, and DiGiorno’s tweet caused controversy due to bad decision making.

Why do you need a policy?

In each of the above cases, these companies could have protected their brand from controversy by making sure that their staff members were trained, their social media accounts were able to be accessed by senior team members, and their marketing decisions were being considered properly. Your social media policy is the first step to protecting your business and your reputation.

Setting out Roles and Accountability

Before you start handing out your new social media policy, make sure your staff members know their role on social media. Your team may think they’re being helpful if they reply to a customer complaint for you, but there’s a risk that they could get the tone wrong, or make the situation worse. Be clear about what input you’d like from your team on social media, but also make sure you’re clear about unacceptable online behaviour too.