4 Key Elements to an Effective Social Media Policy

A well-written social media policy can increase your effectiveness online and save you time and legal fees. A poorly written social media policy will get you one step closer to a lawsuit.*

What makes a social media policy effective?

Four key elements:

1)     The team. A social media policy cannot be written by one person alone. It must be unique to your organization and ideally should include input from many different people on staff including: the CEO, development/marketing, volunteer department, program director, digital natives, and a social media savvy lawyer. The team approach ensures that key areas of risk are managed properly and that, because you’ve already established a common goal and values for your social media activity, any challenges that may arise are handled appropriately.

2)     A Dual Focus. Social media policies should have two components. The first component addresses what staff is doing during work time for work-related business. The second component provides direction to staff concerning their personal accounts and should discuss a) what they are allowed/not allowed to do from their personal accounts during work time and b) any guidelines you might have for how they discuss the company on their personal accounts.

3)     The Basics. There are some basic elements a social media policy will need to include; however, it is wise to not add too much detail in a social media policy. The network sites change frequently. If your policy is too specific, they the policies will quickly be out of date.

4)     The Process. A good social media policy will focus on developing processes for social media including: self-evaluation, staff training, and strategy development and review. By focusing on process rather than content, staff is empowered to stay fresh, be creative, and self-monitor the risks.

For sample social media policies as well as helpful tips and hints, click here.

*Note: this is not legal advice. Your “Team” should absolutely include a social media savvy lawyer.


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