If your business is sharing content on social media – or is considering doing so – a social media policy is a must-have document. Read on to find out why it shouldn’t be overlooked…
Your social media channels are as much a part of your brand as your logo. Any content shared here – in the public domain – says something about your business.
As such it’s important to define tone of voice guidelines within your social media policy. It can help to steer your social media team in the right direction, so they ‘speak’ to your audience in the right way.
For instance, if you’re a traditional funeral director, it’s unlikely you’ll want to start sharing sassy updates like Wendy’s. It’s likely to come across as inappropriate and inconsistent.
Emoji use should also be considered as part of your tone of voice guide. Does your brand use emojis on social media? Are there do’s and don’ts when using them?
We’ve all been there: we’ve had an unsatisfactory experience with a brand and taken to social media to vent.
If your business is on the receiving end, you need a documented procedure in place to handle the feedback.
Our top tip? Make sure your social media team acknowledges the comment and responds ASAP, asking to take the issue offline – either by sending a DM, email or making a call. From there, you need to define who picks up the complaint and how it’s handled.
If you work in a regulation-heavy industry, like financial services or law, a social media policy can help you to avoid hot water.
The Financial Conduct Authority’s guidance, for instance, states that sharing a customer comment that endorses a particular product could be deemed as advice.
Explore the restrictions for your industry and define clear processes to avoid problematic updates.
Read more: Social Media for Business
It helps your teams to understand which channels you’re using, especially if they are new to the business. For instance, if you’re using Facebook, not LinkedIn, why? And is there any chance that might change?
Is there a sign-off process your employees need to go through before they can share updates?
It’s also important to understand what is and is not acceptable from the outset.
For instance, can they respond to competitor posts? Or refer to controversial trending topics?
The business should know who has access to the business’s official accounts and how.
We’ve heard of cases where employees have left the business and the social media accounts are linked to personal email addresses and the passwords aren’t handed over. It’s important that no one sets up and account in the company name without sharing the log-in details.
The policy should also explain when employees are expected to check the organisation’s social media channels. For instance, should a member of the team check the account overnight or at weekends? And who they should contact if there’s a complaint or a problem?
What’s your policy regarding confidentiality and personal information? For instance, do you tag your employees’ and customers’ personal accounts when you post?
Our advice? Seek permission in advance.
Read more: Facebook Groups for Business
Remind colleagues to be aware of copyright law when they post. If content is shared without permission, your organisation could face legal action.
If there isn’t a defined Creative Commons License, always seek permission before using someone else’s content. For instance, if your team wants to use a customer’s image posted to Instagram, they should ask for permission, explaining how they’re intending to use it.
Exceptions would be situations where you invite followers to supply their images for resharing on your channels by using a particular hashtag or responding to your posts. By using the hashtag, they’re agreeing to be bound to terms outlined on your website/on your feed.
Of course, if you need help with your social media policy, be sure to speak to a professional for support.