This is a shortened guide to our Social Media Policy template, which can be used by any business. It provides rules as to how staff, etc should deal with social media in relation to the business. (The full guide comes with the template when you buy it.)
Considering the high level of use of social media, it is best to be proactive in spelling out to employees what is expected of them in a work context, to avoid naïve or avoidable mistakes, and be prepared to deal with issues that arise.
You should plan in advance how you will deal with offensive comments, complaints about your business or allegations of poor customer service in social media, and be ready to respond swiftly to them in a calm and reasonable manner. Remember that what gets onto the Internet may remain there forever, so take great care how you handle such problems.
Treat misuse of social media just as you would abuse or breaches of the rules in other contexts, e.g. staff bullying each other via social media is the same as other forms of bullying and must be addressed.
Clauses in this Social Media Policy
Changes to this policy – clause 1.3 provides that you can amend the social media policy at any time. At the start, fill in the date (or month and year) when you adopt this policy. If you update it again in the future, update this date.
Fill in your company name, country of registration, company number and registered office where indicated.
1. Policy – This social media policy covers all types of social media. It applies to employees and contractors, etc. As this is not part of an employee’s contract (although it is still binding on them), the employer can amend it as necessary from time to time without needing the employees’ consent.
2. Implementation – In clause 2.1, insert the name of the person or his/her/their position who is responsible for the policy, e.g. the head of marketing or the board of directors. All staff should be required to read this policy and in addition you may find it helpful to provide training to reinforce the message. As with clause 2.1, fill in the name(s)/position(s) of the responsible person/people in clause 2.3 in two places.
3. Compliance and prohibitions – Clause 3.1 serves as a reminder that if staff are breaching this policy, they may also be breaching other policies, and vice versa. If you do not have any of the policies listed, you may want to consider implementing them. Building on clause 3.1, clauses 3.2 to 3.4 list more specific examples of things to avoid when using social media.
4. Personal use – Many businesses permit or tolerate some use of their computer systems for social media outside of work time. Adapt this clause to suit your own social media policy. If there are specific sites you wish to ban employees from accessing through your network, then have your IT team implement this.
5. Business use – In clauses 5.1 and 5.2, fill in the name or position of the person whose approval is needed to use social media for the benefit of the business. Staff using social media to promote the business may need additional training on how to handle it.
6. Monitoring – Rename the social media policy or delete reference to it as necessary. This clause warns staff that their use of work computers will be monitored. However I carrying out any such monitoring, you should keep it proportionate and, in doing so, observe the rules of the Data Protection Act 1998, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and the Human Rights Act 1998, balancing the needs of the business and the rights of the employees to privacy.
7. Breach – This clause explains the consequences of breach of this policy – irresponsible and thoughtless use of social media that harms the business will result in disciplinary action.