Any business actively engaging with social media platforms will quickly realise that these channels offer more than just sharing news and interacting with followers. Social media is a powerful tool for shaping brand image and fostering a dedicated customer community.

However, as we navigate the fast-paced and ever-evolving online landscape, it is essential to understand the importance of social media guidelines. Businesses operating without guidelines could risk damage to your brand, hacking and potentially be exposed to legal issues, we all remember the Aldi vs Marks and Spencer caterpillar cake gate, right?   

In light of this, our social media experts at MMS have explained the importance of having social media guidelines and outlined the key areas your guidelines should address.

Why are social media guidelines important?

Simply put, social media guidelines are a set of rules that an organisation creates to control and monitor the use of social media platforms. It acts as a roadmap for your social media team, outlining what’s acceptable and what’s not when representing a business online. Think of it as a digital code of conduct, helping you navigate the potential minefield of online interactions.

Social media guidelines are important as they can help to establish clear instructions for behaviour, ensuring that online actions align with values and maintain a positive brand image. They help to protect personal and professional reputations, foster trust with audiences and empower organisations to be confident when using social media.

Social media guidelines are important as they act as a safety net, educating employees about the risk of privacy breaches, defamation and copyright infringement. It can help to safeguard employees against potential legal consequences by highlighting laws and regulations to ensure that they remain compliant at all times.

Another benefit of social media guidelines is that they can help your business build a strong brand presence online. By providing guidelines for representing the organisation online, businesses can ensure the consistency of content across different social media platforms, strengthening the recognition of your brand.

What should social media guidelines cover?

Whilst the individual requirements of social media guidelines may be varied based on your business's individual needs, there are a number of key areas that the guidelines should address.

Perhaps the most important feature of your social media guidelines is to address privacy and security. The best social media guidelines should emphasise the importance of protecting personal and confidential information when online and comply with relevant data protection regulations.

It should also provide instructions on the type of content that employees should use, considering how it will impact your target audience and benefit your brand identity. Clear social media guidelines will establish the tone of voice and consider instructions for the style of content that is acceptable.

It should also encourage responsible and respectful engagement with your audience. Social media guidelines should include guidance on how to respond to comments, feedback and enquiries promptly. This includes the handling of customer complaints and directions on how to address negative reviews or situations online. 

Particularly when looking at social media guidelines for business, the document should provide instructions on responsible engagement to protect your reputation and mitigate potential risks. This will empower employees to navigate the social media landscape with confidence.

If you have any questions or if you require support to create social media guidelines for your business, get in touch with our social media team.