Social Media Policy

  • HR Policies Documentation
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Peninsula Group, HR and Health & Safety Experts

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In this guide we'll discuss what a social media policy is, why it's important to have one, and what to include in yours.

Social media is a major player in the modern business world. Companies use it as an easy way of interacting with current and potential new customers. As well as a platform where they can promote their services or products.

However, using social media in your company does come with its own set of dangers. Such as major security breaches and the leaking of confidential information, which is why you must manage it correctly. One way of doing so is by creating a strong social media policy, which advises what employees can post on their own social media, and yours.

In this guide we'll discuss what a social media policy is, why it's important to have one, and what to include in yours.

What is a social media policy?

A social media policy is a great way for businesses to set out clear rules around social media use. It's a list of guidelines a company sets out, which advise the correct social media use both in and out of the workplace.

A good social media policy should cover the use of both your brand's social channels and employee personal accounts. Your policy should apply to everyone in your company regardless of their role or position. So you need to make sure that it is simple and easy for anyone to understand.

A social media policy can be part of your wider social media strategy and should be introduced to all employees when they join your company. Early introduction can help make sure that all of your employees comply with the guidelines in place.

Why is it important to have a corporate social media policy?

Social media policies play an important part in the running of a business for several reasons, such as helping employees know what's appropriate to post.

Let's discuss some of the benefits in more detail:

Ensures confidentiality

Having a clear social media policy will discourage employees from sharing any confidential information with the outside world. This includes personnel changes, financial data, company plans, and client information.

This sort of information being leaked could seriously compromise your business and harm your best interests. For example, you could be fined by the Information Commissioner’s Office for breaching GDPR.

Increases brand reputation

One of the most important functions of a social media policy is to encourage employees to behave reasonably whilst using social media. Sometimes, the way your employees post in regards to working for your company can have adverse effects.

For example, if they post negatively about your business - it may prevent applicants from working for you. This makes a social media policy key to maintaining your brand identity.

Ensures legal compliance

As an employer, there are many regulations that you need to adhere to. So having a strong social media policy is a good way of assisting with regulatory challenges. Such as GDPR, The Data Protection Act 2010, personal data and copyright law.

Breaching these regulations is a serious matter, and can lead to you paying heavy financial compensation. But, a well-constructed social media policy can help direct your employees on what type of content they can post, to avoid breaching regulations.

Increases security

Having a social media policy is a great way of preventing a security breach from taking place in your company.

A strong policy with proper security protocols will help protect your own accounts from any phishing, hacking or imposter accounts. The severity of these attacks should never be ignored, and having strong social media guidelines is one of the best ways to prevent them occurring.

Sets clear expectations

Another reason why having a social media policy is important is that it sets clear expectations for all your employees about social media use. The policy is a great way of showing your staff how important it is that they represent your brand online correctly.

These expectations should be made clear to all your employees when they start working for you. Ensure any new starters sign to confirm they've read and understood the guidelines. This'll help protect you if rules are broken in the future.

How to create a company social media policy

It's important you create a strong social media policy for your company. There's a lot of social media policy examples you could follow, but below are steps to ensure you create the best one.

Let's take a look at what you should outline and include in yours.

Define social media

The first part of your social media policy should make it clear to your employees what social media is, as well as the applications that will be monitored.

In the modern world, there are many different social media applications that your employees may use. So you need to make it clear to your staff which ones will be monitored -  this will typically be all of them.

Company roles and responsibilities

You should make it clear within your social media policy which employees will handle which accounts and channels. This part of the policy should also explain which departments are responsible for certain platforms. For example, your customer service department might handle complaints.

As well as making clear which employees are allowed to handle social media, it should also state which departments shouldn't have access or be allowed to post. Any employees using social media should receive adequate training so they fully understand the rules and processes.

Security best practices

The next part of your new social media policy should explain security best practices. For example, what information is and isn't allowed to be shared. As well as what should be done if there's ever a security breach.

It should also make clear when the passwords to social media accounts should be changed, which devices can be used for your company's social media, and whether personal use is allowed on the company network.

Crisis management plan

This part of your social media policy is arguably the most important. It explains what you'll do and how you'll manage the situation if an employee posts something that could compromise your business.

For example, if you suffer a PR crisis in your business - you need to know how to manage the situation efficiently and correctly. This part should detail the process you'll follow after a breach, and how you'll conduct your response.

Rules for employees' use of personal social media accounts

Use this part of your policy to clearly explain the rules surrounding personal social media use. For example, not allowing employees access to social media sites using the company's internet system or network. Remind your staff that they're representing your company, even on their personal accounts.

You must make clear the standards you expect of all employees to adhere to whilst using their personal social media. Especially when posting their own opinions about their work and their colleagues, which should be avoided at all costs.

Consequences if the policy is broken

You should also include in your social media policy the potential consequences employees face if they break the rules. There is a range of disciplinary actions you can consider taking depending on the severity of the violation.

For example, you could choose to provide warnings, or even dismissal in more severe cases. Make it transparent to your employees what could happen if they choose to breach the policy. But ensure any disciplinary action you give is reasonable and fair. Not doing so can lead to claims of unfair dismissal being raised against you.

How to successfully implement a company social media policy

Once you've created a good social media policy for your company, it's important you know how to implement it successfully. Doing so means that all your employees are aware and on board with the rules surrounding social media.

Below are ways to implement your policy once it's made:

Assign roles

The first step in implementing your policy should be assigning roles. These roles will help employees understand who controls and deals with your company's social media accounts. Otherwise, unqualified employees could take control of your accounts, which could lead to issues further down the line.

For example, you should appoint someone to control and have social media account ownership, to help monitor and deal with customer complaints. It should also include information regarding the approval process for any company social media posts.

Only a certain amount of employees should handle and manage your social media accounts, such as your marketing team. All of them should have carried out specific training to handle and manage your accounts correctly.

Communicate the policy

Another way to successfully implement your social media policy is to communicate it to your employees. This can be done via emails and other forms of internal communications, or by including it within your employee handbook.

It's good practice to resend the policy annually to all your employees so they can refresh themselves with its contents.

Moreover, all your employees should read the policy and understand its severity, especially those in your social media team.

Regularly update the policy when required

You should ensure the policy is updated regularly. This is because the social media landscape is always changing, with new platforms and functions being introduced frequently.

When changes are made to the policy, ensure your employees are kept up to date. It's vitally important as they need to be made aware of any changes that you make.

Not doing so could mean your social media is mismanaged. For example, an employee could fail to respond to customer enquiries.

Enforce the policy

Another way to successfully implement your social media policy is to make sure it's enforced properly. You should appoint specific managers and senior staff to do so.

Following the policy being communicated, reminders should be sent to all staff, as well as ad-hoc social media audits. This'll help to spot if employees are taking alarming actions whilst on your accounts that may put your company or brand reputation at risk.

If after the audits, patterns can be spotted - ensure you provide sufficient training to all employees to reinforce expectations.

Example of a generic social media policy template

You may not know where to start when creating social media policies for your company, so it's important you follow a correct and strong template. Below is a social media policy example to follow when creating yours.

Creating a strong one for your business can ensure you hopefully never encounter a social media emergency.


The introduction is part of the policy that defines social media, its benefits and the risks that can come with an employee's actions. It should also address which employees it applies to, as well as the company values that the policy upholds.

It should outline the aims of the policy, and what it's in place to protect - for example, both your company and your employees.


This part is carried on from the introduction, further detailing the aim and expectations of the policy. Your social media guidelines should include advisory comments on the following:

  • Social media use whilst at work.
  • What language employees can use and what's acceptable.
  • Using common sense when posting on social media.
  • Who has access to passwords and when they should be changed.

Clear guidelines should be set out so all your employees know exactly what's expected of them.

Personal account guidelines

This next part of your policy should make clear to your employees the rules on personal social media accounts. Such as advisory comments about:

  • Not directing offensive comments or hate speech towards other members of an online community.
  • Whether staff posting personal opinions about their job is the right thing to do.
  • Separating personal and professional use of social media.
  • Staff posting anything on their personal accounts in their company uniform.

Make sure you also outline if staff are allowed to use social media whilst at work.

Policy enforcement

This section of your social media policy must make clear how it’ll be enforced, as well as possible disciplinary action that can occur if necessary.

Remember, any action you give to your employees must be fair. Failure to do so can lead to employment tribunal claims being raised against you in the future.

Emergency information

The last part of your social media policy should include information on how to report improper social media use, who to report the misuse to, and the steps you'll take to respond to it.

The contacts listed in this section should include the senior management that'll deal with the misuse, who’ll handle the breach, and who’ll carry out the disciplinary investigation if required.

Get expert advice on social media policies from Peninsula

Social media is now a big part of business. Companies across all industries are using it to reach new customers and demographics. When done right, it can bring in new revenue streams and help grow your business.

But if you don't have the right policy in place, employees can make mistakes. That's why your policy needs to be fit for purpose and not a copy of another company's social media policy template.

Get your social media policy wrong and you could end up facing serious legal problems and reputational damage.

Peninsula offers expert advice on managing and creating a social media policy. Our HR team offers unlimited 24/7 HR employment services which are available 365 days a year.

Want to find out more? Contact us on 0800 028 2420 and book a free consultation with an HR consultant today.


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