Social Media Policy for Small Businesses

how to write a Social media policy for small businesses
  • Andre Kay
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What is a social media policy?

Social media policy is a document that lays out instructions that employees or business representatives should abide by on the use of social media. It encompasses your business’s mode of communication and the use of social media. 

Even if your business does not use social media, provided you have employees who do, you most definitely need a social media policy. Social media policy helps protect your business image, security, and employees. 

A good social media policy for your business will ensure that your employees are careful and conscious of their conduct on social media platforms. A good social media policy can even lead to an increase in productivity or performance.

No worker is exempted from this policy. It applies to everybody, including the business owner and the lowest level of the worker. Hence, it should be written in clear, concise, non-ambiguous terms in such a way that even a layperson will understand.

 About Sociallybuzz

Sociallybuzz is a leading social media marketing, management, and digital advertising agency for small and medium-sized businesses. With over 12 years of experience, we know how to create and execute marketing campaigns that will help you grow your business. Our social media agency specializes in using the power of social media to create highly targeted campaigns designed to get small business owners more customers and sales.

>>>>  Check out some of our case studies <<<<

Contact Us, Let’s Promote Your Business !!!

 8 Benefits of Social Media Policy

 Let us look at the eight benefits of Social media policy for small businesses.Visit this page if you want to learn how you can write your social media policy.

1. Protect your Business Reputation

A social media policy will guide your employees on the right way to act on social media. This includes the right language to use when having discussions related to the brand and how to respond to messages, comments, or posts related to the brand.

It also guides your employees on the right way to dress and how not to be hostile to people on social media platforms. A social media policy will enable employees to be good agents of the business online or offline. A good social media policy keeps things running smoothly, provided you make rules that reflect what you stand for.

2. Increases Responsibility

Social media policy enables employees to be more responsible. It helps them to be well-behaved online. The policy does not only work when employees are on duty; it also binds when they are off duty because they still work for the brand; hence, ever they post or say online will affect the business. 

Hence the need to show a sense of Responsibility online or offline. With the policy, your employees might be acting in whatever they like, which could negatively affect your business positively. Your employees are like ambassadors to your business. Whatever they do impacts your business positively or negatively.

3. Protect Employees

Another benefit of social media policy is that it helps to protect employees. It is not only the business that benefits from the excellent conduct of employees; the employees themselves benefit in the sense that it helps not to create bad blood between them and other social media users. 

When you are polite and careful in your dealings with people online, you won’t have too many issues with them, and your mental health is protected. For employees who have their own businesses or intend to have a business of their own, it is an excellent way to make a good name for yourself. It is also an avenue to prepare themselves for the task ahead.

4. Account Ownership Clarity

Account ownership clarification is another benefit of social media policy. A good social media policy tells who owns social media accounts, who can post using the account, and who can comment or reply to messages with the account. This will help you, the business owner, to know who does what, when, and how. 

That way, you will be able to manage the social media aspect of the business satisfactorily. Also, when something goes wrong, you will know who to hold responsible, and if it requires pressing charges, you will be able to do that without stress.

5. Defines your business symbol

A social media policy helps to show what your business stands for; this includes the signs, images, colors, and logos that represent your business. It helps define what your business symbolizes, in that whenever people that already know about your business see those symbols or logos anywhere; they will know it’s related to your brand, or maybe someone else stole it.

6. Security

When combined with the right security approach, a social media policy helps protect your business from impostors and hackers. It also protects your business against unnecessary threats and intimidation. Social media policy is very crucial for every small business owner. They are different types of people on different social media platforms.

Some use these platforms for fun; some use them solely for conversing with friends and families and maybe for sharing pictures and videos. Some other groups like yourself use social media platforms for business. Then there is this last set of people that should give you cause for concern. 

The ones who come online to perpetrate evil. They are hackers and impostors who enjoy making life hard for people online. That is why a social media policy and security protocols are needed to secure your account.

7. Productivity

If you want your small business to be productive, have a social media policy. A well-drafted social media policy can state what your employees may or may not do whenever they are online or on duty.

Some employees can come online during work hours, and rather than focus on their job, they will start chatting with friends and families or even start watching online videos. Of course, when this happens, there is a decrease in productivity as they need to give more attention to the business. 

If this continues over time, your business will be significantly affected, and you will most likely suffer huge losses because your reputation might be affected. Employees are also advised to ensure the websites they use in downloading files are genuine. Hackers can access confidential information about your business if you download files from websites that have been infiltrated, hence the need to be more careful. 

8. Employment and Dismissal Decisions

Social media policy helps in making decisions regarding workers’ employment and dismissing workers when the need arises. Most small businesses ask for a person’s social media handle before employing them. 

As a small business owner, you wouldn’t want to employ someone who fights on social media or someone of questionable character, as this might affect your business.  Social media policy explains to you, in detail, how to make decisions about the employment of workers. It also lets you know when an employee has breached an agreement and when to dismiss Law breaking employees.

Consequences of not Having a Social Media Policy

Below are some consequences a small business will likely face if it does not have a social media policy.

1.      Cyber Danger

Without a social media policy, your business is at a high risk of getting hacked by cybercriminals; this is why it is essential to draft a social media policy, as it will proffer measures on how you can tackle cybercrime in your business and also how your employees can prevent cyber criminals from infiltrating the social media handles of your business as well as their social media handles too.

2. Damage to Business Reputation

Employees who are not adequately guided may unintentionally do things that negatively affect the business. They may post or reply to comments in a way they are not supposed to online, and as ambassadors of the business, the business will be significantly affected too. This can only be prevented when there is a social media policy to guide employees.

3. Release of Confidential Information

Social media policy guides employees to know what information to post on social media. Without it, employees may ignorantly post confidential information that will affect the business negatively. There have been cases where employees posted private information about the business they were working for, which turned out poorly. This was mainly because the businesses never had a social media policy; hence the employees were not informed.

4. Online Bullying and Abuse

Without a social media policy, get ready for your employees to be abused and bullied at will. Online bullies are too many, always looking for small businesses to attack. If you do not have a social media policy to deter them from bullying your employees, they will most likely fall victim. When these bullies get to know you have a social media policy and that there is punishment for abusers in it, they would have no other choice than to behave themselves.

5 Most Important Things You Should Put in your Social Media Policy

As you are drafting your social media policy, there are essential things to include. We will briefly discuss some of them below.

1.      Roles

 A social media policy should contain the roles of different employees. This includes the social media accounts they manage and their responsibilities at a specific time, so you will know who to hold responsible when there is a default.

2.      Security Measures

 You must include the various security measures your employees should observe in your social media policy. This encompasses the kind of information they shouldn’t share, who they can give their social media passwords to, how often the information can be changed, and many more security measures.

3.      How to Comply with the Law

This is another vital piece or content of social media policy. It x-rays the compliance with the Law concerning the company. It includes how to comply with social media law, protect confidential information about the business, and handle information from customers.

4.      Employees’ Social Media Use

You should include in the social media policy the limitations to information employees can divulge about the company using their social media accounts. If you do not allow employees to mention your business name in their bios, you must also state it.

5.      Consequences of Breach of Agreement

You would also have to state in the social media policy the consequences of breaking any of the rules. This will make employees and your audience more conscious of their behavior on social media as they know punishment awaits any defaulter.

How to Write a Social Media Policy 

1.       Assemble your Team

The first step in writing a social media policy is to assemble your team. Drafting a social media policy is not a one-person thing. It should be a collective effort of you and your team members. This ensures that future issues are appropriately handled as your team members are informed of the various rules.

2.       Choose What your Employees May or May Not Do

Choose what your employees have the right to do and what they shouldn’t do when using the business page or their page. This includes the kind of comments to reply to and business transactions to make. You are the owner of the business and would be in a better position to reply to some comments. All these are what will be stated in the social media policy.

3.       Give roles

The next step is to assign roles to different employees. It would be better to do this according to their area of expertise. That way, productivity will increase as each employee is already familiar with their duty.

4.       Establish Security Procedures

Consult cyber security professionals and public relations personnel. Cybersecurity professionals will help state security measures that your business should observe. They will also help ensure your websites are secure and advise employees on how to avoid breaking cyber rules. The public relations personnel will understand the various behaviors that could be detrimental to your business and how to avoid them. 

5.      Decide how to handle a social media PR crisis

You will need to make provisions for ways to tackle the social media PR crisis when it happens. Of course, no matter how excellent your products and services are, there must be people who are not satisfied. They may decide to come online to throw insults at you. This particular step focuses on dealing with situations like that and others related to it. Sometimes, you may need to make a damage control post or do something to remedy the situation and save the face of your business.

6.      Be Specific about Different Social Media Platforms

State how your employees can interact on different social media platforms. These social media platforms are relatively different, and it can sometimes depend on the age and caliber of people who mainly use them. A platform like LinkedIn requires a high degree of professionalism, unlike Facebook; this being said, what works for you on Facebook will likely not work for you on LinkedIn. Suppose you post the same way you post on Facebook on LinkedIn. In that case, you may be termed unserious and unprofessional, whereas posting the same way you post on LinkedIn on Facebook might make Facebook users see you as overly severe and proud. Stating how employees interact and promote the business on different social media platforms is very important.

7.       Provide guidelines for personal social media use

Provide instructions on how your employees can use social media platforms when on or off duty. Let them know that whatever they post on social media will affect the business even when they are not in the office.

8.      Make Sure the Policy does not Affect Employees’ Freedom

Do not deprive your employees of their freedom in trying to make a standard social media policy. They can have fun while working and still obey the rules. Make the workplace exciting, and allow them to communicate freely.

9. Make the Policy Visible

When you are done writing the policy, please post it in different places. Add it to your business handbook and websites. You should also print it out and hang it at strategic corners of your business place. That way, defaulters won’t use ignorance as an excuse.

In conclusion, since you know the importance of having a social media policy for your small business, you must work towards getting one. We have made it easier for you, all you need do is make use of the process listed above, and you will always go right.

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Having a social media policy for your business not only mitigate risks of social crisis; it also helps in maintaining a good brand reputation. So far we have discussed what a social media policy is, the benefits of social media policy for small businesses, consequences of not having a social media policy and how to create a social media policy for your business. If you found this article helpful, please do us a favor by sharing it on social media. 

About Sociallybuzz

Sociallybuzz is a leading social media marketing, management, and digital advertising agency for small and medium-sized businesses. With over 12 years of experience, we know how to create and execute marketing campaigns that will help you grow your business. Our social media agency specializes in using the power of social media to create highly targeted campaigns designed to get small business owners more customers and sales.

>>>>  Check out some of our case studies <<<<

Contact Us, Let’s Promote Your Business !!!

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