For any brand active in social media or about to commence the journey it is critical to have a social media policy in place. A policy provides staff and agents with a baseline of expectations.
It also important that the policy is revisited every 6-12 months. Social media platforms are changing continuously. It is important that your policy is kept up to date to account for any changes and associated risks.
In today's article, I will outline the key components Digital Stand includes in our client's social media policy plans. Please see this only as the baseline from where we begin.
If you would like a copy of this plan, simply click the link at the bottom of the article and you will be able to download it for free.
First and foremost your plan, like any good plan needs a purpose. For example:
This policy is intended to provide employees, contractors and agents working for or with “Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd” with clarity on the use of social media platforms, as it pertains to our organisation.
This policy will outline the minimum guidelines and standards expected.
Next comes the document scope. In this section ideally, you should try to capture all the social networks you or your staff have a presence on. This will be difficult, so a general statement covers unknown or emerging platforms.
A clause on document scope may read:
Social media is online media that allows for interaction and participation. Examples include:
1. Social networking, micro-blogging sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr and Pinterest
2. Video and photo sharing sites like Flickr, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and Vimeo
3. Online forums and discussion blogs, including comments on online news articles
* The above list is not an all-inclusive list of social media properties, and nor does it seek to be. The examples above are a general guide only.
The Audience this Policy is For
This social media policy applies to all people who work for or represents “Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd.”
There may also be related documents that you want staff and agents to be aware of. They should be listed in a related documents section like this.
1. People Policy
2. Code of Conduct
3. Social Media Best Practice Guide
4. Social Media Cheat Sheet
Next is the Background
Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd is well established across a range of social media channels. These channels are used as additional communication and promotion tools. They complement our existing communication and marketing avenues.
Predominantly social media is used to provide Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd employees, contractors, agents, and the general public with
1. Help-seeking messages
2. Service updates and information
3. Community interaction, and an avenue for the public to support Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd
4.Promotion of Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd services
5. And an avenue to learn about the organisation, our services, resources and campaigns
This document aims to establish a process by which Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd official social media interactions can be managed. It aligns with the best interests of “Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd” brand and reputation in mind.
This policy also sets out expected behaviour for people who do not officially represent “Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd” on social media. These individuals could, through their behaviour, impact on the reputation of “Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd” Brand or services.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube are currently the predominant social media channels used by “Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd.” However, this protocol should be applied in a common sense way to other social media channels. Used by employees, volunteers and supporters, or by the organisation in the future.
Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd employees, contractors, agents and supporters are encouraged to participate in social media. Whenever Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd employees, contractors, agents or supporters are interacting with social media, whether official or personal (see section five (5) for definitions). The following guideline should be top of mind.
We will not criticize clients, colleagues, Social MediaMarketing Pursuits Pty Ltd or related Government policy
2. We will respond to others’ opinions respectfully and professionally
3. We will not do anything that breaches my terms of employment
4. We will not harass, bully or intimidate
5. We will acknowledge and correct mistakes promptly
6. We will disclose conflicts of interest where we can
7. We will not knowingly post inaccurate information
8. We will link to online references and source materials directly
9. We will be polite, considerate, kind and fair
10. We will always ensure our activity does no harm
11. We will champion Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd and its services
1 Social Media
For the purpose of this policy, social media is defined as “any conversation or activity that occurs online”. It is where people can share information or data that might impact on Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd’
2 Official use
Official use is when an employee, contractor or agent is using social media as a representative of Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd with permission from Marketing Manager.
An alternative definition is an employee, contractor or agent posting from a social media account labelled as an official ‘Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd’ account.
Posts from these ‘Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd’ accounts must:
1. Comply with Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd’s ethics and the guiding principles stipulated in section (x) of this policy
2. Do no harm
3. Not promote individual staff and contractors, agents, businesses.
4. Not promote money-making ventures or individual political candidates, preferences or Parties
3 Personal use
Personal use is when an employee, contractor, agent or supporter is using social media themselves.
They are not officially representing Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd, but identifying themselves as affiliated with Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd. This can include but not limited to their online biographies, profiles, posts, or through other means.
Employees, contractors, agents or supporters who do not identify themselves as affiliated with Social MediaMarketing Pursuits Pty Ltd are still counted as representing the organisation. The nature of the online world means they could be traced back to the organisation through their online presence.
Posts from these accounts must:
1. Comply with Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd’s ethics and the guiding principles stipulated in section (x) of this policy
2. Do no harm
3. Not suggest or imply that Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd endorses individual businesses
Identification is defined as ‘how a social media bio, post, tweet, account, blog or page description identifies that particular social media channel as being affiliated with Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd.
5. Official accounts
An official account (being it a blog, webpage, twitter account, Facebook page, etc.), which represents Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd should stipulate this within its bio, page or account description.
An official social media page must be sanctioned by the Marketing Manager (or appropriate delegate). The account must carry the following, or a version of the following, words.
“This is the official, account for Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd.” Followed by a brief description of Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd and the purpose of the account relating to the particular social media platform.
For example, a Twitter bio might read, “Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd is Sydney’s leading marketing agency and uses this account to service, update and promote offerings to existing and new members.”
6. Personal accounts
Accounts (being it a blog, webpage, twitter account, Facebook page, etc) that are not official, but are set up by employees, contractors, or agents of Social MediaMarketing Pursuits Pty Ltd for personal reasons can have an affiliation with the organisation, so long as the following is undertaken:
1. It should not have the affiliation with Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd as the primary identifier
2. It should stipulate that the opinions expressed are the persons’ own, and not that of Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd
3. It should state a disclaimer that reposting, ‘likes’, re-tweeting, etc. do not represent the views of Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd
For example, on Twitter a staff member might have this for their bio:
“Likes rugby and fishing, interested in leading marketing practices and the social media industry. Works at Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd, opinions my own, RT’s are not an endorsement.”
At Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd’s National Office, the Marketing Manager is responsible for all official use of social media as defined in
Personal use is up to the individual employee, contractor or agent. However, individuals are accountable for the consequences of their actions on social media.
They will be held accountable and disciplined according to the people policies and codes of conduct of the various Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd individual employment agreements.
Individuals, who are employees, contractors or agents of Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd, do not have permission to post official Social MediaMarketing Pursuits Pty Ltd content.
They can, however, repost, retweet, Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd posts, material or comment without substantial or meaningful change. This is to be done as part of showing their affiliation or support for the organisation.
8. Inappropriate use
Inappropriate use of social media includes, (but not limited to):
1. Conducting a private business in Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd’s social media presence
2. Using discriminatory, defamatory, abusive or otherwise objectionable language
3. Stalking, bullying, trolling or marginalizing any individual or groupUploading information of a confidential nature, especially in regards to Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltds services or clients
4. Uploading information of a confidential nature, especially in regards to Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd's services or clients
5. Criticizing or denigrating Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd or other organizations, and our employees, contractors, agents or supporters
6. Activity that interferes with work commitments
7. Activity that brings Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd or the person’s professionalism or ability to act in a professional manner into disrepute* And a range of other items that you feel need to be included to protect the interest and integrity of your organisation.
* And a range of other items that you feel need to be included to protect the interest and integrity of your organisation.
It is the duty of everyone who is affiliated with Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd to alert either the (Marketing Manager) or appropriate Delegate to any inappropriate content they may come across.
9. Policy Breach
Misuse of social media can have serious consequences for Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd, and consequently, that misuse can have serious consequences in terms of disciplinary action for staff and volunteers.
Branches are responsible for ensuring adherence to the Social Media Policy by their staff, contractors or agents.
This includes undertaking appropriate risk assessment and performance management or disciplinary action, of any suspected or identified breach.
In the event of serious misconduct, disciplinary action up to and including summary dismissal may occur.
The National Marketing Manager has full delegation for all official social media activity.
The secondary delegation is the Marketing Assistant.
The CEO has veto rights on the primary and secondary delegations.
10. Complaints through social media
Complaints or negative comments regarding Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd will be made through social media channels. Both official and personal users of social media are discouraged from arguing or refuting complaints or negative feedback through social media channels. This behaviour can antagonise or fuel further attacks on Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd’s services, brand and reputation.
In the event of a complaint or negative comment about Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd, it is important to address the comment as soon as possible by responding with the following, or a tailored version.
An example might be
“We are sorry you have not had the experience you expected when using Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd’s services.
Your feedback is important to us, would you mind direct messaging us or calling xxx so we can address the issue.”
11. Deleting posts
Social media is fluid, two-way, busy and often self-regulating.
Social media should be considered a form of two-way communication and a vehicle to listen to the ‘wider’ community views.
Organisations that heavily control content on their social media pages, blogs and accounts, mostly through the deletion of questionable or disapproving content, significantly reduce the impact, and usefulness, of social media as a channel for information distribution.
Social Media Marketing Pursuits Pty Ltd will not delete posts that are complaints, or negative, except when they breach any of the conditions outlined for employees, contractors and agents in the ‘inappropriate use’ section eight (7) above.
Where possible, the administrator will contact the user whose post has been removed, providing them with an explanation of why it has been removed and the necessary action(s) for it to be reposted.
I hope this outline is useful for you when creating your social media policy. This is the foundation we start with for all clients.
As mentioned at the outset of the article if you would like a copy of this policy click below.
Please note this is only a guide for any organisation and is not a definite list of all the items you need to include in a social media policy.
You should seek your own legal counsel approvals for any policy you put in place. Hopefully, this document will save you some time and is useful for building a solid foundation.
Of course, you also welcome to contact us, if you would like us to assist with putting in place the appropriate policy for you.
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