As an entrepreneur, you know that one of your business' most valuable assets is its reputation. Creating an effective social media policy can help you and your employees interact with customers online while ensuring that your business' image is being protected.

Does every business need a social media policy?

Even if your business does not have a corporate social media presence, taking the time to draft a social media policy gives you an opportunity to identify and avoid potential problems before they occur. It can also help you communicate your expectations regarding the use of social media tools to your employees.

What should be included in a social media policy?

  • Guidelines for using different forms of social media (blogs, videos, forums, etc.)
  • Information to help your employees protect confidential business and customer information
  • Strategies for interacting with customers and resolving issues through social media channels
  • Information concerning employees' personal social media use (for example, are you comfortable with employees speaking on behalf of your business through their own personal accounts?)
  • Policy on personal social media use during work hours

Once you have written and shared your social media policy with your employees, don't just leave it sitting on a shelf! Since the landscape of social media is always changing, it will be important to review your policy on a regular basis. An annual or semi-annual review is also a good time to revisit the policy with your employees and ask them for their feedback, questions, and recommendations.

Our section on E-business security, privacy and legal requirements has information that can help you with the online security portion of your social media policy. This section also has useful information on creating a privacy policy to protect your customers' private information.

You may also want to visit our Pros and cons of social media, where you can find information that can help you manage the benefits and challenges of using social networks to build your business and connect with clients.