3 Crucial Elements of Any Social Media Policy

Can I talk about this billing issue with this customer over social media? If a crisis were to happen right now on our company’s social media account, who would I contact? Can I reply to this individual in a humorous tone? Having a social media policy helps employees have answers and resources to common questions that come up during the year. Social media policies are very important to establish guidelines and rules that promote consistency, privacy, and knowledge on social media. Social media policies come in all shapes and sizes depending on the company and their services/products, but here are a few essentials every social media policy should cover.

Privacy

Your policy should give clear guidelines on when you can engage with customers in the public environment, in direct messages, and things that are not allowed to be handled over social media. For example, many companies respond to complaints by reaching out to the individual and requesting them to take it to a more private platform of direct messages to gather more details. Doing so allows you to handle complaints in a private channel, rather than on the public feed. (Keep in mind, however, that any messages can potentially be screen captured by that individual and shared publicly.)

Brand Voice

A clear brand voice helps you maintain a consistent voice and direction. Think of your brand’s voice as the sort of personality of your social media account. Do you want your voice to be strictly informational and very corporate, or is there room for more casual interactions with followers? Deciding this direction makes it easier for a consistent voice to be broadcasted when that voice is often coming from multiple employees. Some companies even use one final individual as the final proofreader to ensure consistency.

Twitter screenshot of Delta airlines replying to a complaint
Most airlines take on a professional brand voice, taking complaints seriously and having private discussions with dissatisfied customers.
Twitter screenshot of Merriam-Webster casually poking fun at somebody tweeting at them
Merriam-Webster is an example of a brand that has a more casual voice. They reply to people more humanly, sometimes poking fun at the original comment.

Crisis Management

When something goes wrong with a post or a real-world event is bringing negative publicity to your company, you can expect unwanted engagements with your social accounts. The crisis management section of your social media policy should define what your company considers a crisis and a chain of communication that follows. It often helps to label and define different levels of crises. You could use a “yellow” threat for a serious customer complaint that is handled by the marketing team and manager of the service area of issue needed to approve action, whereas a “red” threat could be a more serious issue needing communication with the top leadership and sign off by the CEO before acting.

Many other elements may be needed to be included in order for your company’s social media policy to be fully effective, but these three elements are a must. These essential elements will provide your social media with a consistent voice, increased privacy protection measures, and a plan to act quickly when a crisis happens.

If you need help creating or improving a social media policy, we’re here to help!