Having a policy for using social media in your business is the best way to make sure your employees has the knowledge on how to behave on the different channels. In this guide, you will find tips on how to design a SoMe-policy across your channels.
What is a SoMe-policy?
A SoMe-policy gives some written guidelines on how an organization and its employees should behave online. It is helpful in protecting your company’s reputation and encourages employees to, responsibly, share the company’s messages.
However, it is important to be aware that social media is in constant development and you should therefore design it as guidelines that can be changed and updated – and not as a defined track. In addition, it is important that it is easily accessible and easy to read, in order to create the best starting point for your employees.
The goal of your SoMe-policy is to give employees simple guidelines that are easy to follow.
Benefits of a SoMe-policy
Whether you’ve been around for a long time without a SoMe-policy or your organization is already established on social media, it’s never too late to make a social media policy.
Protects you against legal and security risks
Social media can, to many, be complicated in things like copyright and the boundary between work and privacy. Here, a strong SoMe policy can help protect your organization against potential legal and security risks. It should therefore describe potential threats and contain instructions on how to avoid them and explain what an employee must do to ensure that the reputation of the company does not endanger.
Allows employees to share peacefully
Are you lucky enough to have employees who want to share your company’s messages and good stories on social media? If yes, then it’s a good idea to give them the tools to do it in a way that ensures that they do not have to worry about getting in trouble with the company regulations
With clear guidelines, you can help your employees understanding how to use social media to promote the brand. Use your SoMe policy as an employee advocacy tool that outlines the best way employees can share content and comment online – and equally important, when employees should not get involved.
Tip: In most cases, it is an advantage to encourage employees to be aware when things are discussed where emotions are involved, such as politics and religion, and also, to show respect for the opinions of others.
Creates consistency across your channels
What is your brand’s voice – funny, professional, youthful? It is an advantage to decide and describe what tone of voice you want to use on social media.
In addition, you can ask your employees to add special hashtags when they share something that concerns your business and of course follow special guidelines when they choose to share something on behalf of the organization.
In addition, you should also add how photos and videos are used correctly according to your policy. This also helps to create consistency in the presence on social media.
What should be included in a SoMe-policy?
Although there is an overlap between the two, it’s a good idea to divide your policy into:
- A SoMe-policy for the organization’s official channels
- A SoMe-policy for the employees in general
This will make your policy clearer and easier to follow. Below is a general review of what a SoMe-policy should contain.
This section should outline expectations of appropriate employee behavior on social media. This could include:
- Brand guidelines: How is your organization or products mentioned?
- Engagement: Explain how – and if – you want the employees to respond to the organization’s posts
- Confidentiality: Defines which business information’s that should not be shared on social media
- Consequences: Make it clear to the employees, what the consequences for abuse of social media is
- Social media (personal use): Describe how and when employees can use social media and what to avoid
Roles and responsibility
Having a plan in advance and knowing who handles what, is the key to responding effectively in a crisis. You might not end up in any kind of crisis, but in general it is advantageous if someone is in charge of social media. Distribute and write down the various areas of responsibility.
- How to respond to criticism against the company
- One who approves messages to be sent
- Customer Service
- Security and legal affairs
- SoMe-training of employees
- Monitoring of social media.
There are many legal risks associated with social media, and especially when working from many departments. But if everyone works and follows the guidelines, many problems can be avoided.
Some topics that this section should cover are:
- Credit your sources: Your policy must specify how your employees should credit sources if they repost or borrow content from an external source.
- Protection of information: Define what is considered confidential, such as plans for a new strategy or customer information, etc.
- Disclaimer: Tell employees that they should make a disclaimer such as: “Expressed views are mine and do not necessarily reflect my employer.” so that when they comment on content related to your business, it’s on their behalf. You can also suggest employees to add such disclaimer to any public social media, such as Twitter or LinkedIn.
Implement your SoMe-policy
It is a good idea to design your SoMe-policy with the help of employees. This ensures that all topics are covered and that your employees accept the policy.
Look at the big picture
Social media is constantly evolving – therefore, be careful not to write down specifications for each channel. Instead, set the guidelines in your policy.
It is there for your employees
Keep in mind that your SoMe policy should not frighten you employees but is there to help them feel more secure when they post or comment. Therefore, avoid making a document of “don’ts”. Instead, give your employees the tools they need to exploit the potential of your social media.
Do you have experience with a SoMe policy?
Then we would like to hear about them in the comments.
The article is written with inspiration from this blog post.