Does your small business need a social media policy?

When you’re setting up your small business, you may have all the usual stuff covered — a logo, a website, your social media — but you may need to also give some consideration to a good social media policy.

What is a social media policy?

A social media policy acts a guideline document that outlines how you’ll run your social media. This document should be constantly evolving as your business and audience changes. A good social media policy is particularly useful if more that one person contributes to your social media channels.

Your social media policy can be as intricate as you need, but at a basic level it will:

Maintain consistency. What tone of voice do you use? How often does your business post to social media? Are there industry-specific terms you use or don’t use? Do you aim to respond to your followers queries within a set time? A guideline document should cover all these variables and act as an easy reference for anyone in the business to follow.

Be clear about which platforms you use. Not all social media platforms suit all businesses, so decide on the ones you’ll use and ensure your policy contains the information required for access.

List who does what. One person may manage everything from the photography to graphics to customer service responses, but make this clear in your policy.

Contain example responses. How will you respond to customers who have a negative experience and write about it online? Who manages these responses? Try and think of any scenarios when this may occur and have some example responses drafted — it can be a huge help in times of crisis to have agreed on these statements prior to an event.

Outline how you’ll work with user-generated content. Do you post photos that your customers have taken? What’s your method for doing do? What about content captured by professional photographers/bloggers? Your social media policy should outline how this works, and also contain information on copyright issues and correctly crediting permissions.

Be clear on how your branding is used. Logos, colours, language – all these elements speak about your brand, so make sure they’re being applied correctly.

Determine who is managing your social media channels, and when. If you have more that one person who is responsible for managing your social media, be clear about who and when so there’s no double-handling.

Determine when an issue should be escalated. A lot of people use social media for positive feedback, but many use it to share negative feedback. Is there an escalation process for this? How does this work? Your social media policy should specify.

Keep your social media policy current!

The social media landscape changes constantly, so be sure to keep your social media policy updated as often as possible. It’s a good idea to review your policy monthly to make sure you’re up-to-date and have any changes covered.

There’s some great examples of social media policies publicly available, so start by taking a look at others that have been put together before you start.

Need help putting together a social media policy for your business? Get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!