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Why your startup needs a social media policy and how to write one


You may think because you are a startup in its early stages that you don't need a social media policy, but this isn't so.

In fact, your startup benefits greatly from a social media policy whether you're outsourcing this marketing or doing it in-house.

In this article, we look at why your startup needs a social media policy and how to write one.

Why you need a policy

Social media is vital to the success of your online marketing. In fact, social media can make or break your startup, especially if it's done wrong.

You need a policy because you want to ensure your social media messaging is effective, on-point, respectful, and tasteful.

Your social media policy should cover the marketing side of things, but it should also spell out what your employees can or can't do with regard to their jobs on social media.

For example, you don't want your employees sharing proprietary information about projects online because your competition may see it.

According to one study, only 29% of businesses have social media policies. One hundred percent should.

Your social media policy should outline for your employees and your social media marketing team your guidelines for communicating (posting content online) in the digital arena. 

What should be in the policy?

Your social media policy is unique to your startup. It's up to you to decide what is in it, and how specific you want to be. Although, there are several general items included in most social media policies:

  • A clause that prohibits the sharing of company information, customers' details, etc.
  • Verbiage prohibiting the use of slanderous, inflammatory, bullying, derogatory, or provocative content.
  • A policy that prohibits your employees from talking negatively about your startup, its employees, or its customers online.
  • Information that prohibits the posting of anything identifying people who haven't given you permission.
  • A clause prohibiting posting of text, videos, or pictures that suggest involvement in illegal behavior.
  • Information regarding who can and can't post on your startup's social media pages.
  • Your brand voice description and posting guidelines with regard to text, images, videos, and hashtags. 

How to write a social media policy

Once it's time to write your policy, consider some of these factors:

  • Spell out who can speak on behalf of your startup online. For example, decide who will post and who will respond to comments and reviews.
  • Create a conflict management plan. It's easy for things to get out of hand on social media. For example, if someone makes a negative comment on one of your posts, and it gets out of control, how will you handle it? What's your brand messaging?
  • What is your voice? Is it funny, empathetic, serious, or something else? How will you frame your content, your photos, and your videos? Do you have a list of acceptable hashtags?
  • Create a plan for your employees' personal social media accounts. While you can't control or manage what they post, you can offer suggestions on how they can remain above board on their own pages. Let them know their posts reflect on you as a company. People will see them as a reflection of your startup and associate their tone with your business.
  • Discuss legal risks. For example, make a plan for handling sensitive topics, politics, regulations, and laws. Spell out how to credit sources – you don't want to use someone's copyrighted image.
  • Have a privacy policy. Post it on your website.

Final thoughts

A social media policy benefits your startup, your employees, and your customers.

It provides guidelines for your employees and boundaries for posting and sharing, but it also gives them the parameters under which they can talk about your brand and share it across the digital universe.

Your clear guidelines help your employees know the acceptable usage of social media. It also keeps your company safe from lawsuits and negative reviews.

Ultimately your social media policy helps keep your startup's employees from taking any unnecessary risks that might cause problems for you.

Finally, a social media policy ensures that your brand image is cohesive and effective. You get to decide how the world sees you, and your social media policy should spell that out using your brand standards.

 Are you a new startup ready to succeed? Are you looking to get your new business off the ground and watch it rise to success? We are here for you. We can help answer your questions and guide you through the process. Outsource your HR duties, finances, payroll and more to us. Contact Escalon today to get started.

Image: Hans Vivek on Unsplash

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