How to write effective social media guidelines for your business

Does your business have social media guidelines tailored to protect your brand reputation? Are you wondering how to write useful social media guidelines that’ll protect your company? You came to the right place! 

But should your business have a presence on social media platforms to create SM guidelines? Not necessarily. So whether your brand is on social or not, you need to main directions and policies to govern your business to success.

Also, your partners in business and employees are using different social media sites to connect with other brands and create relationships. So developing social media guidelines will serve as protection for your business. So let us identify some pointers.

Why social media guidelines are important to your business

You should create social media guidelines because it helps to protect your brand reputation across social channels. In fact, using social media to market your business is the primary reason you have a presence there. 

Therefore, an excellent SM guideline will inform stakeholders and employees what to post and what not to post about their business on social media sites. Put differently; the instructions will outline what is proper and what’s not suitable to share on social networking platforms concerning your company. 

Also, it enables employees to reflect the values of your brand when using social media.

This reputation management strategy, as I call it, will stimulate employee adherence and safeguard your business reputation. Here are a few pointers to why you need social media guidelines:

Social media guidelines will:

  • Help you secure your brand reputation across social media sites
  • Define who you created the SM document for
  • Train your employees on social media marketing best practices
  • Encourage employee advocacy through positive sharing
  • Establish expectations for behavior on social media to adhere to your company guidelines 
  • Protect your business from legal risks
  • Motivate all parties, including stakeholders and employees, to follow your company on social media, and so much more.

So, having viable SM guidelines can underline how positive social media activities, including remarks or references, can significantly assist your enterprise in reaching its long-term objectives. 

However, please note that some marketers are using social media guidelines and social media policy interchangeably. These two, although similar, are different documents with distinct targets. So let us understand these materials accordingly.

Social media policy vs. social media guidelines

What are the differences between these two essential documents? Let us find out!

Social media policy

A social media policy is a comprehensive document that outlines extensively, the confidential information of your business. It offers employees and other users in-dept data on how they should approach and use social media.

Put differently; a social media policy is a written document that informs employees how to use social media in and around the workplace. It helps to protect your business from the risk of any involuntary misappropriation of social media. 

Social media guidelines

Considering the description of social media policy, you can see that it is not a one-page document. However, social media guidelines are typically one-page documentation of your companies main directions of how they expect you and other employees to behave when using social media. 

The goal is to create a positive, engaging, and result-driven atmosphere for your brand, employees, and consumers. For this, the management teams tailor their SM guidelines to meet the needs of all parties involved.

The document will include:

  • Guidelines on the language used on social media
  • How to respond to users remarks and complaints
  • Social media etiquette and best practices (how to conduct yourself on social media).

The principal objective of a social media guideline is to direct you along with the techniques of establishing a stable social media strategy that will help you build brand trust and generate more leads. 

effective social media guidelines
Photo: Jopwell, Pexels.

Four practical ways to create social media guidelines for your business

Now that you understand what a social media guideline, its importance, and the difference with social media policy is, it is time to learn how to create long-term guidelines for your business. Social media is one of the best digital marketing assets for promoting your brand, products, or services and connect with your target buyer. So whether you’re working with in-house staff or an influencer or influencer marketing agency, you should create guidelines that will govern your brands’ social media activities.

There are different guidelines you can create for your business. However, we will discuss only a few of the most important ones.

1. Guidelines for your company social media team

As a business protecting your online image, you should create guidelines for employees who’re responsible for producing and posting content on social media sites. And the instructions must accommodate your business needs. 

In that way, consumers engaging with your brand on social media will benefit because you tailored the guidelines to your business’ customer needs. For this, ensure that your guidelines will educate employees and not retrain them on the use of social media.

Therefore, consider the following pointers:

  • Your SMGs should help employees to be aware of the consequence of defamation
  • Any wrongful disclosure of intellectual property
  • Unlawful endorsements
  • The global implication of improper online communication
  • The negative impact of inappropriate comments about your competitors on social media
  • It should also educate employees on the different legal terms and the effect they can have on your business if misused.

Moreover, your guidelines should encourage a positive mindset among employees, including those who cater to your companies social media marketing activities and those using their private social media profiles.

So write your guidelines in explanatory material formats that are easy to understand. It should help your team work together to establish robust relationships with your target audience, existing customers, and potential buyers on social sites. 

2. Social media guidelines for employees using personal profiles

Since you developed guidelines for your social media management team, it is also a good business practice to write SM guidelines for employees who use social platforms privately or for professional purposes. It helps to strengthen your social media marketing campaign.

The guideline should be a reminder of what your company believes or views as classified data—information you should not share on social media under any circumstance and in any format as sharing may result in legal implications.

3. Avoid creating site-specific guidelines

Why is this step so important? Because social media scenery is evolving. It means that if you wrote your instructions with a focus on a particular social media site, they could be outdated in a flash. 

So your guidelines should focus on the comprehensive overview of the various social media networking sites where your brand has its presence. It should outline the roles of each staff member on your social media team and those using these platforms on their accounts.

Employees must know what they can do and can’t do. However, do not create an atmosphere where they think you’re retraining them. Instead, use the guidelines to help them understand:

  • The purpose and values of the guidelines
  • Social media branding
  • Legal compliance and other vital pieces of information that will encourage them to become brand advocates.

These proceedings will provide personnel with an in-depth knowledge of what they should be doing on social media to enhance your brand reputation and growth.

How to write effective social media guidelines for your business
Photo: Jopwell, Pexels.

4. Be transparent with your social media team 

Transparency is a fantastic marketing ethic. Given this, research revealed that 90% of consumers would stop doing business with a brand that lacks transparency. It shows that there is an apparent correlation between business communication transparency on social media and customer spending.

It means that an increase in transparency in social media will result in more leads and sales. That is why over 50% of customers will consider doing business with brands that are transparent on social media platforms.

On the other hand, 86% of customers will leave stop buying from you for lack of transparency on social sites. Also, here are more statistics for your consideration:

  • 85% of consumers will give your business a second chance in the event of a bad experience because of having a history of being transparent on social media.
  • Because your business has a history of being transparent, 85% of customers are more likely to continue buying from you during a brand crisis.
  • 89% of respondents say a business can regain their trust if it acknowledges its oversight. And also if it is transparent about how to resolve the problem.

As you can see, transparency on social media can make or break your business. So before writing your guidelines, work with your entire staff to decide what to include in the instructions. Also, be transparent and make your guidelines helpful to both your business, staff members, existing consumers, and eventual customers.

Wrapping up how to write social media guidelines to protect and improve your overall business objectives.

If you’re wondering how to write practical social media guidelines, you’re not alone. Social media is one of the best marketing platforms to promote your business and to connect with your target audience. It is also the most challenging marketing channel to sail without stress and overwhelm.

So the pointers for writing social media guidelines as mentioned above will help you consider your employees and overall business goal when crafting your guidelines. It will also aid you in taking into account the values of your brand and how your guidelines can impact a positive work ethic on and off the workplace.

What other tips for creating a social media guideline can you add to this article that will benefit our readers? Please tell us in the comment below!

Moss Clement
Moss Clement
Moss Clement is the founder of Moss Media - a premium content writing service, and also the content manager at Writers Per Hour. He is a b2b freelance writer and blogger who’s working closely with B2B marketers - helping​ several startups grow their online presence in the digital marketing space. By delivering highly informative content pieces​, Moss has assisted small & medium-sized businesses in building their online reputation and connect them with their buyer persona.  Connect with him on Twitter, LinkedInFacebook, & Instagram.
Share this