Social media platforms are filled with various controversies. Shared posts, tweets going viral can get many people in trouble, sometimes exposed or bullied for various reasons, and unfortunately, social media companies are a tad slow when responding to reports. Although social media has disadvantages, it also has its advantages given that it's used properly and responsibly. Most often, it's hard to distinguish posts that have been officially made by the company through an official representative, and those posts that are expressed by individuals such as a company staff or employee. With that on the line, it is important for businesses to establish a framework for the employees and the rest of the company members through a social media policy. This is to make sure that individuals have a boundary when it comes to posting and interacting with other people online. Social Media Policy Explained A social media policy is a legal binding document that lists the company's framework and structure when using social media. This policy should cover different platforms used such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter among others, for all the brand accounts that your company own. The document also discusses how employees should behave when using their social media platforms - both for professional and personal use. Social media is quick to adapt to people's activities and lifestyle, and that means that you need to come up with a dynamic social media policy to catch up with these changes. You have to continuously revise and improve the policy, at least twice a year. Additionally, the said policy needs to be properly ruled out to all departments. This is to make sure that all company members are fully aware and are familiar with the said policy. The Importance Of Social Media Policies If you don't have one yet, here are a few reasons why social media policies are crucial for your business and its employees: * To uphold a uniform and consistent branding in all social media platforms used. * Prevents information leaks and other types of security breach protocols. * Avoids a PR crisis overall. * Be able to do something about it quickly in case a PR crisis arises. * Be straightforward to all business employees about their main duties and responsibilities while on social media. * Encourage and empower all employees to be able to uphold the company's mission, vision and brand values through their own social media platforms. Things That Must Be Included In Your Social Media Policy * If you don't have one yet, you can request a copy of a social media template from your HR adviser, or someone in a similar position. * Compile ideas from the board, leaders, stakeholders, legal, HR, and marketing teams. * Come up with an agreement on where the social media policy should reside. * Successfully launch the policy. * Make sure that there's a meeting and/or presentation scheduled to spread the information on what the policy is all about, and all the things that are covered under the said policy. * Schedule a review every six months for any changes or revisions on the said policy. Launching Your Company's Social Media Policy Compile A List Of Social Media Accounts And Their Operators Document these accounts as well as its owners and operators, as well as a detailed report listing their responsibilities either on a daily, weekly, monthly or on an as-needed basis. It is also beneficial to make sure that the names and employees' email addresses are included in the documentation for other teams' reference. Start And Document Security Protocols This includes using secure and hard-to-guess passwords and changing them on a regular basis. Who are the people responsible for changing these? Who has access to this document? When problems arise, who should employees talk to if they wanted to report a specific concern? Device A Structural Response Framework As An Emergency Plan During Any Social Media Crisis While the main purpose of a social media policy is to prevent this crisis from ever occurring, sometimes, it's just inevitable and the policy itself should also be able to manage the said crisis. The said document or plan must include a list of emergency contact persons with their roles. Depending on how you wrote the policy, this may include your social media team, leadership team, digital marketing team and legal advisers. Comply With The Law Social media commentators are required to comply with the law related to the confidentiality, privacy and copyright terms and that they should be aware of what these are. Staff Expectations Make sure that the policy covers all the things that the staff needed to know, including how they should behave when using their social media accounts. Employees need to be made aware that breaching social media conduct from their personal account may have a negative implication towards the business and employer. When posting or reacting from a post, employers would typically ask the employees that their opinion is in no way affiliated with where the business stands.