Why Your Business Needs a Social Media Policy

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Sometimes, the internet can feel like the Wild West.

Understanding our tools, planning ahead, and having procedures in place can help. That’s why your business needs a social media policy.

What’s a social media policy?

A social media policy is a crucial tool for any organization that uses social media.

In fact, it’s a crucial tool even if your organization doesn’t use social media. Because your employees almost certainly do: 72% of Americans use at least one social media platform. Yet 63% of Americans say their employer has no social media policy.

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Think of your social media policy as an online code of conduct. It makes clear how you expect others to engage with your business online, especially your employees. This may sound limiting, but it can actually be empowering.

When you know what to do and how to act, others have the tools to represent your business to the best of their abilities. It can also help you avoid disaster and legal risks. Establish your policy early instead of when you’re in the middle of a crisis.

Your policy can be short (and there are many guides and examples online for you to build upon). It should also be a living document. Your business is going to change, and so will technology available. Is the existing policy still working? Is there a new platform that needs to be accounted for? Make sure you keep checking in that it is up-to-date.

Make your policy straightforward and available.

A clear, concise policy is best. Share the policy with new employees as they join your business.

Additionally, make the policy available to your web community. This is what will help commenters and followers know how to interact with your business online — and know what counts as crossing a line.

Document everything.

If you start having issues with someone online, take note. Perhaps that first infraction simply raises a red flag. If you decide to have a “three strikes and you’re out policy,” you’ll need to track strikes.

Hopefully, it doesn’t get to the third strike. But if it does, you’ll have the documentation needed to back up any further action.

Discover brand advocates.

When you monitor your business online, you get to discover your fans. This is one of the pleasures of engaging with your online community. When we think about policies and rules, sometimes we think about “don’ts” more than “dos.”

As you look around your social channels, take note of the positives. When you engage with your brand advocates, you encourage a conversation, and they feel even more a part of your world.

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