How to Create Effective Social Media Guidelines for Your Business

How to Create Effective Social Media Guidelines for Your Business

No matter what industry you’re in, every modern merchantry needs to have social media guidelines.

Social media guidelines lay out the weightier social practices for your employees. In some cases, these rules are required by law or for legal protection. But ultimately, the goal of these guidelines is to empower employees with the information they need to make the right choices on social media, both for themselves, and for the company.

This is true plane if your visitor doesn’t have a social media presence yet. Whether you have an official Twitter worth or Instagram profile or not, you’d largest believe your employees are out there on the internet, chatting up a storm.

This vendible will review:

  • The difference between a social media policy and social media guidelines
  • Real-life examples from other brands
  • How to use our self-ruling social media guidelines template to create your own set of guidelines

Bonus: Get a free, customizable social media guidelines template to quickly and hands create recommendations for your visitor and employees.

What are social media guidelines?

Social media guidelines are suggestions for how employees of a visitor should represent themselves and the visitor on their personal social media accounts.

Think of social media guidelines as an employee transmission for social media weightier practices.

They should outline how to behave on social media in a way that’s positive and healthy for the company, employees, and customers alike. Social guidelines may include etiquette tips, helpful tools, and links to important resources.

Importantly, we really don’t recommend prohibiting employees from using social, or restricting them from talking well-nigh your visitor at all. It’s not a good squint to police or superego your team members’ social presence: talk well-nigh a morale killer, and say goodbye to any organic producer opportunities.

Social media guidelines, it should be noted, are variegated from your company’s social media policy. They’re moreover unshared from your social media style guide.

A social media policy is a comprehensive document that describes in detail how the visitor and its employees use social media. These policies are intended to protect a trademark from legal risk, and maintain its reputation on social media. Where a social media policy lays out the rules and repercussions for breaking them, social media guidelines are increasingly instructive.

A social media style guide, meanwhile, defines the trademark voice, trademark visuals, and other important marketing elements. It is often used by the content creators in an organization to ensure that their posts are “on brand”.

One increasingly distinction: social media guidelines are moreover variegated from polity guidelines, which set the rules for public engagement with your worth or group.

Want to learn more? Take Hootsuite Academy’s self-ruling undertow Implementing Social Media Governance Within your Organization.

Why are social media guidelines important?

Every single employee (yes, including Maurice in accounting) is a potential online trademark ambassador. Sharing social media guidelines is your endangerment to provide the whole team with tools to help them hype you up positively, inclusively, and respectfully.

Use social media guidelines to:

  • Empower your employees to engage positively on their personal social accounts
  • Educate on social media weightier practices
  • Encourage employees to follow your official finance or use official hashtags
  • Distribute your company’s social media strategy
  • Introduce employees to helpful third-party tools and resources, such as Hootsuite’s social media dashboard or Hootsuite Academy training
  • Protect your employees from social harassment
  • Safeguard your visitor from cybersecurity risks
  • Clarify what information is OK to share, and what is a violation of confidentiality
  • Boost your brand’s reputation on social media

While social media guidelines are usually crafted to share with employees, anyone else you’re working with can goody from these weightier practices too — think corporate partners, marketing agencies, or influencers.

If you don’t create weightier practices virtually how your visitor is represented or discussed on social media, things can screw out of tenancy fast. And on the flipside, a lack of social media guidelines moreover can prevent you from benefiting from employee content. An enthusiastic team member, armed with social guidelines and feeling confident well-nigh what they’re unliable to say, can wilt a powerful producer for your brand.

10 social media guidelines for employees

Here’s a rundown of cadre sections you should include in your social media guidelines. But of course, while these details are common, go superiority and tailor any part of this to fit your brand: without all every industry is different.

In fact, every company is different… so surpassing you lock in any nonflexible and fast rules, you might want to trammels in with your team. Your employees might have specific questions or concerns that could be helpful to write in your master doc.

1. Official accounts

Identify your company’s official social media channels, and encourage employees to follow. This isn’t just a endangerment to proceeds a few increasingly followers: it’s an spanking-new opportunity to demo to employees how your trademark presents itself on social media.

You might moreover want to identify specific hashtags, too, if those are a cadre part of your social strategy.

In some cases, companies either indulge or require unrepealable employees to run brand-affiliated social accounts. If that’s something your merchantry does, this is a good place in your social guidelines to explain how a team member can (or can’t) be authorized for their own branded account.

2. Disclosure and transparency

If your team members are proudly identifying on their social finance that they work for your company, it’s a good idea to ask them to sieve that they’re creating social media posts on behalf of themselves, not your brand. Adding a disclosure to their social profile or bio that “All opinions expressed are my own” (or similar) helps make it well-spoken that these are not official viewpoints.

That stuff said, if they’re going to discuss company-related matters on social, it’s unquestionably required by law that they identify themselves as an employee. This one’s a rule, not a friendly suggestion. In fact, in the United States, the Federal Trade Commission requires the identification to occur in the relevant post. Just noting it in a bio is not enough.

Mekka Okereke Google digital ecosystems opinions my own Twitter bio

An example of a Google employee’s Twitter bio

3. Privacy

It never hurts to remind your team that confidential visitor information is confidential off the clock, too. Whether private info well-nigh coworkers, financial disclosures, upcoming products, private communications, research and minutiae intel, or other sensitive information, sieve that privacy and confidentiality should be respected wideness all social media platforms.

4. Cyber safety

Cyber hacks and threats are no joke. Plane if your employees are vigilant well-nigh phishing scams and the like, it never hurts to review cyber-safety basics, expressly if you collect information well-nigh customers or clients.

Cyber safety first!

A quick refresh of cyber security 101:

  • Choose strong passwords
  • Use a variegated password for every social account
  • Don’t use the same passwords for your corporate accounts
  • Use two-factor (or multi-factor) hallmark to login to social networks
  • Limit the personal and professional information you share
  • Use personal credentials for personal accounts
  • Make sure your Internet connection is secure
  • Do not download or click on suspicious content
  • Only vivify geolocation services on apps when necessary
  • Practice unscratched browsing

5. Harassment

Guidelines wontedly remind staff to be kind on social media. But vastitude promoting positivity, businesses should moreover make well-spoken that they do not tolerate any form of social media harassment.

On the flip side of that is an opportunity to provide your employees with support should they experience harassment. Define your policy for dealing with trolls or bullies, whether it’s to report them, ignore them, or woodcut or ban them.

Tell people how to report issues they may have seen or experienced. If support is needed, tell employees how and where they can get it.

Providing protocol and tools is going to help your team nip problems in the bud surpassing it grows into a full-blown social media crisis.

6. Inclusivity

It’s important for every employer and trademark to promote inclusivity on and off social media. Encouraging your employees to do the same is a way to show that you superintendency well-nigh them, too.

Inclusivity guidelines may include:

  • Use inclusive pronouns (they/them/theirs/folks)
  • Provide descriptive captions for images
  • Be thoughtful well-nigh representation
  • Don’t make assumptions well-nigh gender, race, experience, or ability
  • Avoid gender or race-specific emojis
  • Feel self-ruling to share your preferred pronouns
  • Use title specimen for hashtags (this makes them increasingly legible for screen readers_
  • Use diverse imagery and icons. This includes stock imagery, emojis, and branded visuals.
  • Report and remove any comments deemed sexist, racist, ableist, ageist, homophobic, or hateful to any group or person
  • Make text accessible, using plain language and wieldy to people learning English as a second language or those with learning disabilities

Find increasingly inclusivity resources here.

7. Legal Considerations

Your social guidelines can include a reminder to employees to respect intellectual property, copyright, trademarks, and other relevant laws. When in doubt, the rule of thumb is relatively simple: if it’s not yours, and you don’t have permission, don’t post it. Easy!

8. Do’s and don’ts

Of course, while you may want to get into detail with the previous sections, making a quick-to-reference list of do’s and don’ts is a endangerment to spell things out super clearly.

For example…

  • DO list the visitor as your employer in your social media bio (if you wish to)
  • DON’T engage with competitors in an inappropriate way
  • DO share visitor social media posts, events, and stories
  • DON’T share visitor secrets or confidential information of your colleagues
  • DO express your own opinion — just make sure it’s well-spoken you’re not speaking on behalf of the company
  • DON’T scuttlebutt on legal matters pertaining to the company
  • DO report harassment you’ve experienced or noticed
  • DON’T engage with trolls, negative coverage or comments

9. Helpful resources

You may wish to include links to helpful resources throughout your guideline document, or you might want to list in a separate section. Wherever you put them, it’s a good idea to link to your social media policy, social media style guide, and polity guidelines, so everyone has this info at their fingertips.

Other links you might want to include could be:

If your visitor offers social media resources, what largest place than your social media guidelines to make everyone enlightened of them? Whether its tools or training from Hootsuite, or stipends for social media classes, empower the people that work for you to put their weightier foot (feet?) forward on social.

For instance, may we recommend Hootsuite Amplify? It’s a unconfined way to find vetted content to share and enhance your personal brand.

10. Contact Information and Date

Be sure to moreover add information where questions can be sent. That may be a specific person, a forum or Slack channel, or an email address.

You should moreover indicate when your guidelines were most recently updated.

Social media guidelines examples

Looking for real world examples of social media guidelines? We’ve assembled a few sources of inspiration.

Grossmont-Cuyamaca Polity College District self-rule of speech be respectful and get your facts straight

The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Polity College District outlines tips for weightier practices unmistakably and concisely. “Freedom of speech must be exercised responsibly,” the page reminds readers. “These recommendations provide a roadmap for constructive, respectful, and productive use of social networking sites.”

Intel Social Media Guidelines

Intel makes every effort to reassure employees that they’re not here to superego or police their online behavior. “We trust you,” the guidelines say, both explicitly and implicitly. Right off the top, Intel is well-spoken well-nigh its wishes: Be Upfront, Focus on the Good, and Use Your Weightier Judgement.

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Bonus: Get a free, customizable social media guidelines template to quickly and hands create recommendations for your visitor and employees.Download now

Stanford University Communications Social Media Guidelines

Stanford University (yep, the same institution Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of) has social media guidelines that are quite dense, but provide lots of resources and context for users. If your social media guidelines are this thorough, it may be a good idea to review the key takeaways with your team in a workshop or seminar to make sure the details aren’t skimmed over.

Bloomberg School of Nursing University of Toronto respect and accuracy

Bloomberg School of Nursing at the University of Toronto has a very concise, bullet-point list of guidelines that are easy to rewording at a glance. It’s a good reminder that how you diamond your guidelines can help with comprehension, whether it’s a web page, a PDF or a brochure.

Sharp News social media standards accountability

Remember that your guidelines can be as long or as a unenduring as you wish. Sharp News, for example, only has four guidelines for social media use.

International Olympic Committee social and digital guidelines Beijing 2022

The Olympic Committee kept its social media guidelines to one page for the Beijing Olympics — albeit a pretty dumbo one. Leaning on the “do’s” and “don’ts” makes it well-spoken at a glance what is winning and what is frowned upon.

Nordstrom employee guidelines social media and blogging

Because Nordstrom is a visitor that deals with consumer service and privacy is important, its social media guidelines are heavily focused on protecting customers. Your own industry will have its own special sensitivities, so retread your guidelines to fit your specific problem areas (or opportunities!).

Social media guidelines template

We’ve distilled all these hot tips into one self-ruling downloadable template. It’s just a simple Google doc and quite easy to use.

Simply make a reprinting and start plugging in your recommendations to guide your team to social media greatness.

Social media guidelines self-ruling downloadable template

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