What are the benefits of having a social media policy? Having a social media policy is very important for any organisation in the modern world. Here’s why.

Social Media Policy Benefits

Exclusion of liability clauses in social media policies help prevent you from being held liable for what your customers, prospects, or employees say and do on social media. You could be held liable if what they say or do on social media:

  • causes harm because it is defamatory, threatening, or discriminatory;
  • breaks the law because it is obscene, hateful, or infringing of someone’s copyright;
  • gets construed as your views;
  • looks like it has been endorsed by you because you have ‘liked’, ‘retweeted’, or ‘favourited’ it;
  • gets imputed to you as their employer or contractor; or
  • is tied to their work email address with you, your logos, or other intellectual property.
A comprehensive set of social media policies will help you maintain good relationships with your customers, prospects, and employees by:

  • preventing them from having bad experiences interacting with you and each other through your social media communities; and
  • ensuring their expectations are well managed when it comes to response times.

Protect your reputation

An internal social media policy will help protect your reputation by preventing your employees from publishing anything that is:

  • likely to cause members of the public to view you negatively or bring you into disrepute, like political or religious statements, swearing or foul language, or attitudes towards the sex lives and ethnicity of others; or
  • dishonest or unfair towards anyone that it is about; or
  • impolite towards you, other people who work for you, or your customers, partners, or competitors.
Conversations on social media can quickly stray from their intended purpose, which deceases their impact. Social media community rules can help ensure that conversations on your social media communities stay relevant to your brand by preventing people from publishing things like:

  • unrelated links;
  • adverts for other products or services;
  • other people’s promotional competitions;
  • spam;
  • donation requests;
  • acknowledgement requests; or
  • their personal contact information.
Promotional competitions on social media can quickly get out of hand. Social media community rules will also help manage promotional competitions by preventing participants from making:

  • unjustified outcries – like “The competition was rigged!”; or
  • discriminatory objections – like “I can’t believe only [insert attribute here] people won!” or “Not even a single [insert attribute here] person won!”
Your social media community rules will help you manage your communities so that they grow and flourish by:

  • encouraging your community members to report violations of your social media community rules;
  • ensuring you are able to moderate anything that they publish; and
  • allowing you to take recourse against wayward community members in the form of suspensions or bans.
Your internal social media policy will help you manage employee conduct by ensuring that you can:

  • control access to social media legally;
  • have them remove anything on social media that is contrary to your policy;
  • restrict their access to social media at work by blocking, restricting, or reducing access;
  • intercept and monitor conduct on social media; and
  • take recourse against wayward employees by dismissing them or terminating agreements with wayward contractors.
Your social media policies can ensure compliance by ensuring that:

  • your community members comply with the written social media service rules and the unwritten rules of manners and etiquette; and
  • anything they publish complies with the relevant social media service’s legal terms and any relevant copyright and other laws.
Social media policies can help ensure that your workforce stays productive in the age of social media. They will become unproductive unless you:

  • remind your employees or contractors not to spend so much time on social media that it interferes with their ability to do their work; and
  • not to spend excessive amounts of time using it in a way that doesn’t relate to their work.
Social media can pose significant data privacy risks unless you get a social media policy to:

  • ensure that employees use their privacy settings to prevent information from being accessed out of context; and
  • address the operational aspects of information security by ensuring that your employees and contractors do not disclose any confidential information through social media.
In the same way that laws do not prevent criminal behaviour completely, even great social media policies cannot prevent incidents from occurring outright. You need an incident response policy so that you can:

  • ensure that the people in your organisation who are expected to respond to a social media incident know who they are;
  • identify the incident;
  • categorise the incident;
  • get the incident reported;
  • ensure the incident gets properly escalated;
  • plan your response;
  • respond; and
  • evaluate your response.
There are also other reasons to get a social media policy including to:

Want a social media policy?

You can read about how we can help you with a social media policy here.