A social media policy is a document that will help you regulate social media use in your business. Essentially, they are a set of guidelines that govern how your business handles the use of social media, and in particular, how your employees use social media.
But why are they important? Social media guidelines are a necessity for businesses to ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to how employees use social media in their professional lives. A social media policy is a document that tells employees what is and isn’t acceptable to share on social media, what is considered appropriate and inappropriate use of social media, and how to conduct themselves in a professional manner on social media. Some companies have strict policies about what their employees can share on social media, while others aren’t as strict with what they allow to be shared.
We feel that an employee should have control over what content they distribute to their professional social media, such as LinkedIn. In saying this, empowering them with high quality content to distribute across their social media accounts will make their lives easier, and your content more impactful.
The importance of having a social media policy for employees is one that cannot be stressed enough. Social media is a great way to promote your business and get your name out there into the world. However, without a social media policy, there is no way to protect it from being misused or mismanaged. It is equally important that employees are aware of the consequences of using social media for your business. If they don’t know those consequences, they will be much more likely to make mistakes. A social media policy for employees can be a really helpful tool to help your company create a social media presence that will positively impact your business as well as avoiding a lot of potential issues.
Consider these 6 things when creating a social media policy for your employees.
In your social media policy you'll want to outline what the overarching goals are for the businesses social media policy. These can be broken down to be department specific goals, or into broader, company wide "missions".
For example, sales teams who are leveraging social media will often have goals around social selling. The idea of social selling has been around for almost as long as social media, but it’s only recently that businesses have made efforts to incorporate it into their sales teams' workflows. Social selling is a way for salespeople to communicate with customers and prospects in a way that is more relevant and accommodating to their social media-driven lifestyles.
Now, businesses are using social selling to increase social media footprint and brand awareness, as well as to convert and retain new customers. To do so, they are creating social media policies for their employees. This practice is becoming common among larger companies (Facebook, for example, has hundreds of pages of internal social media policies). But small and mid-sized businesses are also starting to create social media policies for their employees. In fact, some businesses are using social selling as a reason to create social media policies for their employees, because social selling requires a step-by-step process that is very clear to employees.
On the flip side, employees in non-sales roles may have goals relating to employee advocacy, and how they can amplify the company culture, values and important announcements through their networks.
An employee advocacy social media program is an effective and cost-efficient way to increase the impact of your brand. When employees are encouraged to promote your brand, they are able to attract new followers and create new relationships with customers, which can ultimately lead to increased revenue. Employee advocacy social media programs can be used to create company branding, increase customer engagement and drive sales.
You've probably seen a lot of companies go through some kind of issue after a social media disaster. This can cause a lot of damage to a company and their brand. It is important to have a social media policy that can help your employees understand how they should represent your business online. A social media policy can help you avoid a lot of headaches. While this may seem like a simple task, you'll want to make sure your social media guidelines are comprehensive and up-to-date.
Social media is a great tool for keeping in touch with your customers and sharing information about your business, but it also presents a lot of risks. From a huge blowup to a small slip-up, social media can make or break your business. Thankfully, there are some simple ways you can protect your brand from any social media mishaps your employees might encounter.
To help keep your brand stay safe on social your can leverage an employee advocacy platform to ensure that the content being put in front of employees and their networks is on-brand. Platforms like Curatebase allow marketers to put parameters on every post, such as a Post Expiry date and a Release Date. Valuing your brand security on social media is a key consideration when implementing a social media policy.
The social media policy is one of those policies that touches most departments. If you asked 10 people what the social media policy should say and how it should be presented, you’d get 10 different answers. That’s why building your social media policy from the bottom up - so that every stakeholder has a voice in shaping, editing, and ultimately approving of. The truth is: no one element, tool, or department affects your company's image as much as your online presence does: this means the process needs to be a community effort with input from stakeholders including legal affairs, public relations (PR), compliance team members, human resources (HR), sales & marketing (S&M) departments etc. You need people in your team who participate!
First, identify the right place to host your company social media policy. We have found out that having a page on a privately-accessible part of your website is a good choice. If not that, we suggest you create an internal wiki site for the social media policy. The important thing is to make sure these documents are available so everyone can read them and get the information they need.
Promotion is key. It’s vital to let your employees know that a social media policy has been created so that they aren’t caught off-guard. You haven’t just created the policy for yourself, but also for them so make sure everyone knows about it in at least some way shape or form. There are plenty of ways you can do this whether it be emails or posts on your company Slack. Once you're actively promoting your policy, it's vital to update and maintain it as you see fit. Leverage internal communications tools like Slack to spread the word on policy updates.
Your content strategy should be designed around providing content that will engage both buyers and prospects. Something important to note is who should create the unique content in order to support a social selling strategy: it may be the sales team, or the marketing team, or a combination of both. Collaboration between departments is key, after all they are the ones responsible for creating most of the content that your potential and existing customers interact with firstly when it comes to lead generation and brand awareness! Your content strategy should be designed around providing valuable information for key stakeholders. This will show them that you are an authority they can trust.
Can you commit to providing your employees with regular content, and managing a Post Library? With the right platforms to facilitate your content, managing this is easy - but you will still need to invest your time in quality content. Most teams are already doing this, but unfortunately aren't amplifying it as much as they could their most valuable resource - their people.
The biggest challenge for companies implementing an employee advocacy strategy is not the strategy itself. For the most part, companies understand that they need to work with their employees to offer a consistent brand message, and they know that they have to use the right social media tools to get the job done. The real challenge is getting the right social media tools in the hands of the right employees. With more and more employees becoming social media influencers and brand ambassadors, more companies are turning to employee advocacy - and by doing this, companies are adopting the best technology to help them.
What to look for in a social media tool:
When creating your social media policy, you need to take into account the views of all of your key stakeholders. Whether it’s your boss, your colleagues, your clients or your boss’s boss, everyone has an opinion on social media. However, the views of these stakeholders are not necessarily the same. It’s important to know what your key stakeholders want from your social media plan, because the opinions of these people are the ones that really count. It’s important to create a social media policy that works for your company and its key stakeholders.
So the question to ask - have all key stakeholders given you input into your social media policy? For example, did you include representatives from your customer service department and your marketing team? What about the people who manage your current social channels? If you’re a small business, the most important stakeholder of all is probably your customers. They are the reason why you have social media in the first place. If you’re a big business, it’s your employees who are the biggest stakeholders. You have a responsibility to empower your staff to act as spokespeople and to generate positive brand awareness.
Social media policies help companies protect their reputations and reduce liability. In this blog, we touched on the 6 considerations you should have when creating a social media policy for your organization. To learn more about Curatebase, and how it can help your B2B social media strategy book a demo here.