How to Introduce & Support Your Social Media Policy

Now that you’ve written your organization’s social media policy…you’re only halfway there. I recently finished working on a social media policy for a hospital.  The employee guidelines turned out to be over 15 pages, with information that touched up the following areas:

  • Employee Access
  • Employee Conduct (the Rules of Engagement)
  • Account Management of Social Platforms
  • IT and Security Issues
  • Legal Concerns: specifically HIPAA & privacy as well as Public Record
  • Employee Use of Content

We also developed a separate public policy instructing the hospital’s online web communities on how to interact with them on Facebook, Twitter and any of their other social media sites.  However, the other critical part of the social media policy exercise is getting employees to read, understand and then embrace the guidelines that are created.  Writing the policy is only the first part of the equation.  Delivering and supporting the policy the right way, to motivate and create action, is the other.

Here are a few ways to get your employees to embrace the policies that you put in place to guide them.

  • By all means create the longer more detailed policy, but also develop a two or three page summary that is a quick and easy way for them to understand the contents of the longer document.
  • Build a presentation template so that the policy is in an interactive format rather than a long Word document.  For example it could be a PowerPoint or better yet, a Flip Book for them to review.
  • Develop a quiz or quick way to evaluate if employees have read the guidelines and if they understand the contents.  This quiz should be taken within a certain period of time, so that the policy is read and understood before they engage in social communities (or continue with their previous social networking interactions).
  • Develop a survey to ask employees about their knowledge of social media (from social networks like Facebook and micromedia including Twitter to photo and video sharing networks).  Try to assess the areas of social media where they may need tutorials and/or more instruction and training.
  • Create training classes (webinars or in-person training) to get your employees better acquainted with social media and make them feel for comfortable about their participation.
  • Create a social newsletter and distribute it internally so that all employees know what social outreach programs are currently in place, planned for the future and also how employees can become more involved.
  • Launch an internal social platform that not only promotes your social media participation externally but allows employees to test social media, collaborate with peers, meet other members of the company and allow them to be privy to ideas and innovation that they normally would not access, without an internal social media platform.
  • Consider rewarding social media participation as a part of an employee recognition and/or reward program, so that employees realize that social media is accepted by the brand (there’s buy in from leadership) and is a part of the culture of the company.

These are just a few of the ways that organizations can introduce social media to employees and have them not only reading the policy but also wanting to engage and participate in new ways to benefit the brand.  Remember, writing the policy is only the first part.  You need your internal brand evangelists to be willing participants and to be that unified voice or army of champions that supports and adds value to the brand’s social presence.

7 Responses to " How to Introduce & Support Your Social Media Policy "

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Deirdre Breakenridge, Matthew Ray, Diane Gomez, Alltop PR, CIPR Scotland and others. CIPR Scotland said: RT @dbreakenridge: How to Introduce & Support Your Social Media Policy […]

  2. Mic Adam says:


    Greta article. As a social media policy creator, I insist (and thus part of my solution offering)that a presentation is given to ALL employees so they fully understand both what social media is and what its benefits/dangers are. But more importantly, I try and explain the what and why of the social media policy. In this matter there is room room for discussion afterwards since everyone was presented the same materials and given the opportunity to ask questions. I do agree with you that providing training is another key element in the success of the implementation of social media and the policy to support it.

    Keep the good work up

    Mic Adam

  3. […] How to Introduce & Support Your Social Media Policy“Consider rewarding social media participation as a part of an employee recognition and/or reward program, so that employees realize that social media is accepted by the brand (there’s buy in from leadership) and is a part of the culture of the company.” […]

  4. Deirdre says:

    Hello Mic! I’m really glad you like the article and it’s always great to hear that other professionals are offering social media presentations and training with respect to introducing the policy, as a part of their overall solutions. It’s so important to give the what and why of social media, otherwise the policy, is just another policy and does not become a part of a culture of engagement (which is what most organizations strive for). Thanks so much for commenting and sharing your thoughts.

  5. Deirdre –

    I second Mic’s “well done.” It’s particularly gratifying to see other pro’s who aren’t saying “all you need is a simple set of guidelines.” The implications of social media are too complex, and the potential risks too great, to promote organizations being underinsured.

    To extend the training argument, I think it’s also important to add a separate training program for anyone in a managerial position to highlight the specific issues that they may have to deal with, such as

    1. What to do when someone shares a complaint with them involving social media.
    2. How to handle postings made “privately.”
    3. Whether and how they should engage in social screening.
    4. Whether they can provide recommendations on sites like LinkedIn.

    I am sharing this post with the Social Media in Organizations (SMinOrgs) Community.

    Courtney Hunt
    Founder, SMinOrgs Community

  6. Deirdre says:

    Hi Courtney! Thank you so much. I agree, a simple set of guidelines will not protect the organization. I think you point about the separate training is excellent because managers often deal with very specific issues as you mentioned and are on the front line when situations occur. I’m thrilled that you are sharing my post with your community 🙂 Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

  7. […] How to introduce and support your social media policy Deirdre geeft tips voor het delen van je online gedragsregels met je […]

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