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by Louise Winters
August 22nd 2012 by Louise Winters

Are you setting up your employees to win in social business?

In the last post on governance we looked at creating a social business crisis management plan. Of course, we need to have the plan in place but we never want to have to use it. In our work with various clients we’ve identified three elements to preventing a social business crisis.

So how does having a social business policy help?

Let’s focus on the first step for a minute. Social business cannot work without having a number of members of the company active on social media to represent your brand. We have worked with a number of large organisations where there is, understandably, some hesitancy about giving employees a free rein with social media.

Having a good social business policy will remove the barriers that spring from the anxiety about the risks posed by trusting employees with social media access. It allows you to manage people and processes around social business.

Quick guide to creating a social business governance policy 

A social business policy is a dos and don’ts document to make it clear what is and is not acceptable behaviour on social channels for your employees. In order to create one you will need to:

  • Research– check social media policies created by other companies and follow the lead of the good ones.
  • Authenticate – use your company code of conduct as a basis or to feed into the document.
  • Identify roles – there is a difference between an employee acting as “the voice of the company” and sharing their personal views. Cover both in your policy.
  • Set branding & tone – For employees that speak as the voice of the company, give guidelines on the tone of voice and expectation of how they will uphold the brand values.
  • Identify liability – make it clear that employees are individually liable for inappropriate behaviour on social channels just as they would be for inappropriate behaviour via email, for example.
  • Be brief – make the policy as short and sweet as possible or no one will ever read it, let alone use it! Ford’s social media policy is an excellent example of this.


There are some really good examples of clear, concise and fit for purpose social media policies available on the web to kick start your research. Here are a few examples: