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Why you need a social media policy

In this post we will explain what a social media policy is and why you need one. We will conclude the article with a social media policy template, and examples of social media policies.

Why Your Company Needs a Social Media Policy

At one of my jobs, a patron of ours was very active on Facebook, and friend requested vendor employees, company liaisons, and customers. Election season came, and everyone had a stance on their candidate choice. She made the bold decision to post “Anyone who is voting for [Presidential Candidate] can unfriend me, and never speak to me again”. Well, of course, her customers saw it, her bosses saw it, and she ended up losing her job. This declaration in front of the company’s audience hurt their reputation and relationships. If the company had a social media policy in place, this scenario could have been potentially avoided.

What is a social media policy?

A social media policy is an agreement between an employee and an employer that outlines how an employee is expected to conduct themselves on social media, and how they should represent the company. Having employees represent your brand online can be a great opportunity for the company, but they need to know how you would like your messages shared. It is important to have a social media policy in place BEFORE a public relations crisis strikes, so the situation can possibly be prevented, and if it does occur, the employee will understand the consequences. We’ll explain the benefits of having a social media policy in place, provide a temple on writing a social media policy, and provide examples of policies from other companies.

Benefits of Having a Social Media Policy:

  • Explicitly states expectations of the employee while interacting online
  • Outlines disciplinary actions for violating the policy
  • Protects the reputation of the brand and relationships with customers, and prevents negative PR
  • Can be used to empower employees to advocate on the company’s behalf and share the company message. Having a social media presence can help humanize your brand which can build trust with your audience.
  • Employee advocacy generates authentic content which helps your marketing strategy, and is a great free promotional tool for the company.
  • Addresses productivity, privacy, and legal matters

So now that you understand the value of having such policy, where do you get started? Below is a template for your policy with ideas of what you may want to include.

Template for social media policy:

  1. Introduction: In this section you will want to declare the purpose of the policy, the consequences of violating the policy, and to whom the policy applies.
    1. State purpose of policy. After an introductory phrase, our policy is straight to the point and says “… these guidelines are to help you do the right thing when connecting on social media. They are important to maintaining the integrity and image of the business, and will help protect you as well”. Don’t forget to add that the policy is not just about protecting the company, but protecting the employee as well.
    2. Encourage employee advocacy. Employees contributing to your company’s social media can absolutely be a positive thing, and you don’t want to discourage them from posting about the company. You just want to make sure they’re posting the right things about the company.
    3. Clearly state the consequences for violating the policy. Will you take legal action if it is violated?
    4. Define the position of the employees to whom the policy applies. The policy might apply to all employees or a specific job position. If you are covering multiple job roles in your policy, you may want to create individual policies for each position, or clearly define the differentiating roles in the conditions section of your policy. For example, your expectations may be differ between a sales representative and a social media manager.
    5. Clarify if the policy applies to personal accounts and/or corporate accounts.
    6. Remind your employees that even if their accounts are private, their information can still be made public by others. Even if they delete a post almost immediately, they can not guarantee that a screenshot hasn’t been taken. You may also want to encourage employees to interact with professional acquaintances on sites like LinkedIn, and keep other accounts separate.
  2. Conditions: Here are some conditions you may want to consider for the policy. Not all of these may apply to your business, and you might need to add some conditions that are specific to your industry.
    1. Do not disclose sensitive or confidential information.
    2. Employees should identify themselves as employees when posting about the company, and should also state when they are expressing an opinion.
    3. Copyright and infringement laws must be followed when posting on behalf of the company. Make sure your employees understand the copyright laws of each social media platform.
    4. Do not post anything involving illegal or illicit activities. For our clients that own restaurants, the policies we write for their employees remind them to follow state and local liquor laws in their posts. For example, in our state, if you are off duty at work, you can not consume alcohol while in uniform. A picture of an employee engaging in this activity could be harmful to the business’ image, and potentially result in legal repercussions.
    5. Do not discuss sensitive or controversial topics like politics or religion while representing the company.
    6. Hate speech will not be tolerated.
    7. Do not disparage the company.
    8. Social media usage should not interfere with work.
    9. Use a company hashtag when advocating for the company. For example, Zappos suggests their employees to use the hashtag “#CompanyCulture” when posting about the company, and Reeboks uses “#FitAssCompany”.
    10. Provide instructions on how to handle conflicts or complaints from customers. Our policy clearly states that employees are not to respond to media inquiries or customer complaints without prior authorization. When they encounter these situations, they are directed to notify their manager immediately.
  3. Conclusion: Keep this short and sweet, but reiterate the most important aspects of the contract.
    1. Briefly summarize the key points that the policy is to clarify your expectations for online interactions, and that you encourage employees to participate in sharing their passion for their job with your audience.
    2. State who they should approach with any questions or concerns they have with the agreement.
    3. Include lines for the employee to sign the policy, clearly write their name, and also date the policy.

Examples of Social Media Policies

Best Buy: We like the bulleted format on this policy, and how straight-forward it is.

Associated Press: While this policy is specific to journalism, we appreciate how it directly discusses friending/following individuals.

Starbucks : Starbucks does a great job of balancing directness without being uptight.

Having a social media policy is vital to have in place to prevent undesirable content from being posted on social media, but you don’t have to present it as an authoritarian action. Remind employees that the policy is to protect them, to remove any ambiguity on what should be posted, and to also invite them to share their passion for your brand and company culture.  

What are some industry specific conditions you have in your social media policy or would write into your future policy?

ProfileThis article was written by Sara Corbin, Owner of Good Karma Marketing. Sara enjoys expanding her knowledge on CSS and HTML to overcome the downfalls of CMSs that limit intuitive customization in their UIs. She has recently discovered a new exciting talent of creating her own animal jokes in record time. Just ask her what a horse’s favorite wine is…  

#socialmediamarketing #socialmedia #smm #digitalmarketing #marketing #marketingtips #smallbusiness #policies #smallbusiness 

Understanding Facebook’s 3 Basic KPIs

Welcome back! We wanted to write a quick description of Facebook’s KPIs– Engagement, Reach, and Impressions. If you’re new to marketing KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator… these are the metrics you use to track your campaign’s success. Don’t worry! We have a blog post coming up soon breaking down marketing abbreviations. Personally, I’m not a fan of abbrevs in general(see what I did there? I cringed too.).

According to Facebook, here are their definitions of those metrics:

  • Engagement: Number of people who engaged with your post. This includes any click or story created, and looks at unique users.
  • Reach: Number of people who had any content from your post or about your post enter their screen. This also measures unique users.
  • Impressions: Number of times any content from your post or about your post entered a person’s screen. This is a total count of all views from all users. You should expect this number to be higher than the others.

If you’re new to social media, you may think likes and followers are the most important metric, but in the industry these are considered vanity likes. Yes, lots of likes can look impressive, but it does not necessarily mean that those likes are converting to leads or sales. For me, engagement is the most important metric (and in my opinion, the most difficult!), but the importance of them will vary based on your marketing goals.

What metrics are most important to you? How did you get over the engagement “hump”, or what methods are you trying? We’d love to hear from you!

ProfileSara Corbin is the owner of Good Karma Marketing. She loves being involved in the Raleigh community. She’s a proud owner of two pit-mix mutts, and enjoys cheese plates and everything lavender.

#socialmedia #socialmediamarketing #raleigh


When and How to Use Instagram’s Nametag Feature

Instagram’s new Nametag feature opens up a world of possibilities when it comes to marketing your business on Instagram! The Nametag acts like a QR code… simply present it to a future follower, have them scan it, and then they can instantly follow you! No more spelling out your name meticulously, or making sure the hyphens or underscores are perfectly placed. Using Victoria King Photography‘s Instagram as an example, here’s how it works:

  1. Go to your profile. On the top right you will see the three lines. Click those three lines, and a menu will pop down. Select “Nametag”. (The menu may vary if you have a personal account opposed to a business account) Menu
  2. Once you click Nametag, you will get a screen with your handle, and on the middle top you are given a choice of a background. You can choose a background ranging from a pattern of an emoji, to a selfie, and a gradient of colors. We chose the camera emoji, since it’s an instagram page for a photographer. Nametag
  3. Now that you have your Nametag set up, it’s time to find some new followers. If you meet a potential follower, and would like them to follow you, the easiest way we’ve found, is open up your nametag using the steps above, have them follow the same steps above, but then have them click the “Scan a nametag” function.ScanNametag
  4. Scanning a name tag is very similar to scanning a QR code, and once you get to the “Scan a nametag” screen it should look like this:Scanning
  5. Once you’ve aligned the scanner’s square with the nametag’s square you will get an image like this that will give you the option to follow the page or view the profile.Successful Scan

Pretty easy, right? So why would something so easy be so important?

  1. The future of social media is moving away from text to images, and then to video. The Instagram platform allows for both images and video. Why not encourage future clients to join in on a platform that benefits the future direction of social media?
  2. How many times have you asked someone for their username, and said you would follow them, but never followed through? My biggest fear of doing sales was being too pushy/forward, but this is an easy way to say “Hey, let me make it easy to follow me.”
  3. It’s a great way to advertise at conferences, booths, etc. Print out your nametag and post on your booth! It is helpful to provide a little information on how the user can scan it incase they’re not up-to-date. Here’s an example of a poster you could use it at a conference:Poster
  4. You could also use the image of your Nametag on your Twitter and Facebook to increase your Instagram following! The studies behind social media prove that users like photos and video!