HR policies

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What is a social media policy? + free social media policy template

What is a social media policy? + free social media policy template

Whether you’re still in love with it or completely over it, social media looks like it’s not going anywhere for a while yet. And despite the ever-evolving trends and platforms, it remains some of the most cost effective advertising available for small businesses. 

Of course, the sky's the limit in terms of what you could spend, but you don't have to throw a heap of money at it just to have a presence. And a local following can be both loyal and lucrative, so it’s a useful marketing tool regardless of budget.

But to make the best use of social media, you and your team need to understand how to use it — and that's where a social media policy comes in.

To most, the idea of a social media policy probably sounds quite abstract. After all, how can you summarise something that vast in a single document? But like all company policies, social media policies evolve with time, and yours is likely to shift and change as your social strategy takes shape.

What matters is that you set out a clear approach to your social media from the get-go, as this will give you and your team both remit and confidence. Plus, it will give you a solid foundation for your social media strategy to grow.

You might want to review other social media policy examples by talking to fellow small business founders, or do your own research into social media templates to find out what they contain… But all of that takes time, so I've made sure that everything you need to know is right here. 

So if you want to know what a social media policy should include and understand how to write one, you’ve come to the right place. 

Download our social media policy-01.webp

What is a social media policy?

A social media policy is a document that sets out a company’s approach to the use of social media

Most social media policies cover:

  • How businesses and brands represent themselves on social media
  • How employees conduct themselves on social media.

Effectively, a social media policy is a set of guidelines that all employees need to follow whenever they interact on social media — either as part of their job or as an individual

A good social media policy for employees will define how everyone in a business should:

  • Use and engage with the official brand channels
  • Talk about the business, or their role within it, via their own personal accounts. 

Social media policies advise on the correct use of social media platforms both inside and outside of work

Why do you need a social media policy? 

There are two main reasons you need a social media policy for your startup or small business:

  • To guide and protect your employees
  • To guide and protect your brand.

To guide and protect your brand

Social media plays a huge part in brand building and is influential in terms of business growth and popularity. Plus, it can impact everything from customer satisfaction to recruitment. 

In short, social media matters. So it’s vital that your team knows and understands how to use and interact with it from a brand perspective.

A social media policy sets out what you can and cannot post from your business’ social media accounts, and may also include things like tone or preferred words and phrases. 

A social media policy also helps to protect your brand security, and mitigate against anything that could be libellous or result in a PR disaster. 

To guide and protect your employees

A social media policy also acts as a code of conduct for your employees, providing guidance on how they should communicate via their own social media profiles. 

A social media policy is basically a guide to ‘social media best practices’ and applies to anyone who represents your business

So as well as advising against behaviour that could damage your reputation online (swearing, offensive language and comments, or sharing confidential information), it also helps your team to confidently promote and talk about you

Some might worry that a social media policy could be regarded as restrictive, but the opposite is also true, as it also helps to empower and encourage your employees. And the way you word your social media policy will make all the difference in terms of their perception. 

Why do your employees need a social media policy?

A social media policy is for your employees first and foremost, and there’s probably never been a time more important than now to have one.

In the last few years, we’ve witnessed the rise of the personal brand, and this really blurs the lines around work and social media — especially on networking sites like LinkedIn. 

And practically, with so many people working from home or hybrid working, guidance around the use of social media during work hours is pretty much essential. 

So a social media policy gives your employees clear guidelines on:

  • What they can and cannot say about your business
  • How and when they can use social media in a work context.

A social media policy for employees will help to prevent miscommunication and misunderstanding because it clarifies what’s okay and what’s not, and sets it out in writing so it’s available for (and applicable to) every member of the team. 

What to include in a social media policy 

Your social media policy can be as prescriptive as you need or want it to be, and often this will depend on the nature of your business

As an HR company that’s not very media exposed, our stance on social media is fairly relaxed at Charlie and our policy reflects that. We believe our employees have a right to their opinion, and will only condemn things that violate privacy or are inappropriate or reflect badly on the company. 

But some things are fairly universal, so you’ll want to consider a lot of these for your own social media policy:

  • Sharing of confidential company information
  • Swearing
  • Hate speech
  • Use of personal social media during work hours
  • Use of company social media during work hours
  • Use of company social media outside of work hours
  • Which departments or individuals are responsible for the company social media
  • Reposting (original source and associated connotations) 
  • Accuracy and fact checking
  • Spelling and grammar
  • Emojis
  • Slang
  • Image crediting 
  • Use of photographs of colleagues and/or their family 
  • Passwords and cyber security
  • Responding to comments and customer enquiries
  • Dealing with complaints or abuse
  • Emergency/out-of-hours contacts

Social media policy template

As a fellow small business, we understand how time-consuming it is to draft up policies from scratch. So we’ve included a sample social media policy for you here.

The social media policy template below is free to download and can be adapted as much or as little as you like. The template gives you a basic framework to work from, so that you can put something in place at your business asap.

Social media policy template

Policy purpose

This social media policy provides a framework for using social media at [Insert company name]. It provides practical advice to help you use and enjoy social media safely in the workplace.


All employees, regardless of role, must follow this social media policy.

The term “social media” includes all online communities like blogs, social networks and forums – not just platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and TikTok. 

This policy is focused on:

  • using personal social media at work 
  • representing our company through social media.

If you have any questions or require clarification on anything in this policy then please get in touch with the [PR/Marketing team].

Policy elements

Using personal social media accounts

Employees are allowed to access their personal social media accounts at work, but we expect you to act responsibly and ensure your productivity isn’t affected. Please restrict your use to a few minutes per work day.

Please always be careful when posting on social media and adhere to our confidentiality and anti-harassment policies. Never post something that might make your collaboration with your colleagues difficult (e.g. hate speech). 

We advise our employees to:

Ensure others know that your personal profiles, comments or statements don’t represent [Insert company name]. Please do not state or imply that your personal opinions or content are authorised or endorsed by us. It’s recommended that you use a disclaimer such as “my opinions are my own” wherever possible to avoid misunderstandings.

Avoid sharing intellectual property on personal profiles without approval. Regardless of where something is posted, our confidentiality policies always apply.

Avoid posting defamatory, offensive or derogatory content. It may be considered as a violation of our anti-harassment policy if directed towards colleagues, clients or partners.

Representing our company:

As part of their roles, some employees represent our company by managing our corporate social media accounts or speaking publicly on our behalf. We expect you to act carefully and responsibly to protect our company’s image and reputation at all times. You should:

  • Be respectful and polite.
  • Avoid commenting outside of your field of expertise.
  • Comply with confidentiality and data protection policies and observe laws on copyright, trademarks and fair use.
  • Inform the [PR /Marketing team] when you’re about to share anything that could cause a spike in engagement or increase web traffic
  • Avoid deleting or ignoring comments for no reason.
  • Never post discriminatory, offensive or libellous content or comments. 
  • Correct or remove anything misleading or inaccurate as quickly as possible, and issue an apology if necessary.

Disciplinary consequences

We monitor all content on our corporate social media accounts.

We may take disciplinary action (including termination) if employees do not follow this policy’s guidelines. Examples of non-conformity include but are not limited to:

  • Using social media at work to the detriment of productivity, responsibilities and deadlines
  • Disclosing confidential information through personal or corporate social media
  • Posting or sharing offensive content.

Inadvertently violating this policy could result in a reprimand, with further disciplinary action if the violations continue.

Disclaimer: This template provides general guidelines and should only be used as a reference.

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