Your complete guide to creating a social media policy for your agency

Social media is an integral part of our personal and professional lives. We use it to connect with friends and family members, meet new people who share our interests, and of course, interact with businesses that sell the goods and services we consume. It’s a powerful tool and for those who use it for marketing purposes, it requires a great level of responsibility. Enter the social media policy.

Social media is an important communication channel. Ensure you create content that connects with your audience by downloading our free “White-label social media checklist” now.

If you’re in the business of selling social media packages, you need a company social media policy in place that guides you and your marketing team, as well as any employees who are part of your team. This guide provides all the necessary information to create a social media policy and procedure for your agency or brand, including its benefits, a step-by-step guide, and policy examples to inspire your own.

What is a social media policy, exactly?

This policy should govern the ways your organization, your clients, and your employees access their own social media accounts at work as well as the company’s. It also addresses how those in charge of marketing for your business or its clients engage with followers, write and post content, and respond to social media comments or messages on behalf of the brand.

Despite its importance, just 51% of employees acknowledge having social media rules in place at their companies (Zippia). However, having a social media policy in place can help you mitigate serious risks with your clients and within your company, including information breaches.

Why you need a social media policy for your organization

Mitigating security risks, protecting confidential company information, and ensuring consistency for customers that interact with your brand are just a few of the reasons you need a policy in place for your organization.

The risks of operating without an official social media policy and procedure

A policy protects your business from the many risks that come with using social media platforms at work for business or personal use.

Data breaches

Every organization has trade secrets and confidential client information stored within its digital files. Losing that data or having it shared online in a public forum could devastate your brand. That’s particularly true if the leaked data includes confidential client data, such as addresses and financial information.

Damage to brand reputation

Without a social policy to steer your employees in the right direction when representing your brand on social media ,they could tarnish your company’s reputation. This can happen when an employee posts offensive or inappropriate content, inadvertently replies to comments or direct messages with inaccurate information, or misrepresents the brand on their own personal social media pages.

Depending on your brand’s industry, there could be legal ramifications for making claims on social media about your product or your service. The same can be said for businesses in any industry that post defamatory comments about competitors, customers, or employees. A company social media policy can provide your team with clear rules about what’s okay to post and what’s not from a legal standpoint.

Cybersecurity threats

Phishing attacks, password theft, malware attacks, and imposter accounts are all common cybersecurity threats faced by companies and individuals on social media networks. As of May 2023, phishing is considered the most common cyber crime and more than 3.4 billion emails are sent daily and overseas in the UK, 83% of businesses that suffered a cyberattack fell victim to phishing scams (AAG).

These cyber threats can quickly put your company or your clients’ companies at risk, potentially leaking private data to criminal organizations. With a social media policy and procedure that includes acceptable use cases, most cyberattacks, including phishing scams, can be avoided.

How does having a social media policy benefit a business?

Developing a social media policy can protect your company's ability to continue selling white-label social media packages and brand management services. In fact, the benefits that come with a strict company social media policy are vast, which includes:

  • Providing employees with clear guidelines for acceptable social media use: A social media policy for employees indicates how team members may access their own social media accounts while on company devices, as well as how they may access the company’s social media accounts. It also gives them clear guidelines on how they should behave on social media, particularly while representing your business or the businesses of your clients.
  • Consistent brand messaging: You, your employees, and when applicable, your clients, can ensure consistent messaging regardless of who’s behind the keyboard. Your social media policy and procedure should include detailed information about tone, company values, brand messaging, and ideal ways to respond to customer messages, comments, and complaints.
  • Safeguarding of confidential company data: A social media policy should outline what is and what isn’t allowed to be shared online with followers, customers, friends, family members, and other employees.
  • Legal compliance: Having guidelines for social media management in place for your team mitigates legal risks by providing detailed information about acceptable online behavior and what the consequences are for violating those guidelines.
  • Better management of brand reputation: The whole point of social media is to build a positive reputation for your brand and a social media policy for your employees can help you make sure that everyone in your organization is on the same page when it comes to the use of social media in reputation management.

How to create a social media policy for your clients

When you start working with a new client, ask if they have a social media policy and procedure in place. If they don’t, work with your new client to create a policy that their team and your team can follow to ensure cohesive messaging on their social media pages.

  • Conduct an audit of their social media profiles. Locate all profiles associated with your client’s business on all platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn, and Google Business Profile. Ensure that each profile is complete, and that the branding is cohesive across each. Lastly, determine which social networks are performing best for your client and whether each one should remain active.
  • Set social media goals with your client. Determine what your client’s primary focus is in having you manage their social channels. Is it to increase engagement on their pages, to increase their follower count, to improve their brand reputation, or to maximize their revenue? Once you’ve got an idea of the results they’d like to see, you can work together to establish reasonable goals.
  • Determine the objectives on their company social media policy. Depending on your client’s industry, they could have some strict legal guidelines to follow when it comes to making claims or sharing information on social media. Including these guidelines is a must when creating the policy.
  • Tailor the policy to your client’s unique situation. This means you’ll need to create rules that reflect the size of their organization, the individuals who might have access to their social media profiles, and the risks they’re most likely to face in their specific industry.
  • Create guidelines for social media usage. Build a guide with the information gathered in steps one through three that can be referred to by any employee who has access to technology or social media within your organization and your client’s.

Key components for creating a company social media policy for client brands

While every company’s social media policy is unique, there are several key elements you should include regardless of the brand you’re creating a policy for.

Brand voice

Every social media policy and procedure should explain the brand’s voice and personality. Specify whether the brand is humorous and a bit cheeky, like Skittles, Wendy’s, or Old Spice; straightforward and direct like Slack; strong like Harley-Davidson or Ford; or uplifting and inspirational like Nike and Dove.

Brand voice guidelines should address tone, language, and style. Include any words that are off-limits for the brand, as well as words that represent it well.

Acceptable content

Your client’s social media policy and procedure should outline the type of content that can be shared on their social media pages. If this varies from platform to platform, be sure to make a note of it.

The acceptable content part of the policy should cover:

  • Material that’s copyrighted, such as music and images.
  • Whether videos or images are preferred and how often to post each.
  • Rules about language that’s considered offensive or controversial.
  • Guidelines about the use of user-generated content.

Authorized users

The policy should outline who is authorized to post to social media on behalf of the client. It should cover users within their organization and yours, and provide details about whether the client or someone within your own agency needs to approve content prior to it being posted.

Comments and messaging

Include guidelines that detail how authorized users should respond to comments and private messages on your client’s social media pages. Re-address the brand voice and tone to be used in responses, as well as ideal response times and any procedures that should be followed when a follower posts a negative comment.

Monitoring follower activities

Your client’s social media policy for employees should include procedures for monitoring social media pages to ensure responses to comments or messages are provided promptly. This section can also include instructions for measuring social media activity, such as which key performance indicators should be monitored and the analytics tools used to measure them.

Example social media policies

Best Buy

Best Buy’s social media policy and procedure demonstrates clear, concise guidelines providing its employees with guidance in various situations. The guide includes a detailed list of what employees should and shouldn’t do when interacting on social media. It includes specific language, with directions on topics such as:

  • Sharing affiliation: All employees posting on behalf of Best Buy must state how they’re affiliated with the company.
  • When and how to share opinions: Demanding that employees state that all opinions are their own unless they’re authorized to speak on behalf of Best Buy.
  • Discrimination: The guidelines provide clear instructions with regard to discrimination. This rule outlines what the company considers discrimination and clearly states that it’s not tolerated.
  • Financial and operational information: Best Buy’s company social media policy states that employees are never authorized to share non-public financial or operational information.

The Best Buy policy sets a great example of how concise language can be used to provide all employees and outside agents with the information they need to post confidently on behalf of a brand.


Handling criticism online is a difficult thing for any marketing agency or brand representative. Including directions for responding to it in your social media guide takes stress off of employees and makes it easy to manage online criticism. Coca-Cola does a good job of this in its company social media policy. It’s guide states:

“You may come across negative or disparaging posts about the company or its brands, or see third parties trying to spark negative conversations. Unless you are a certified online spokesperson, avoid the temptation to react yourself. Pass the post(s) along to our official in-market spokespersons…”

Furthermore, the brand requires any person who does with to officially represent the brand online to undergo an internal social media training program.

Tips & best practices for implementing your social media policy

Create your social media policy cautiously. Search for social media policy templates and examples online before you get started and write as concisely as you can.

As with any new policy, employees and brand representatives may need to go through a period of adjustment after receiving a new social policy. Use the following tips to ensure your implementation goes smoothly:

  • Write with clarity in mind: Your policy needs to be simple and written with concise language so that it’s easy to remember and follow. Make sure to use specific language and examples to avoid misunderstandings or miscommunication.
  • Ensure all leaders have a say: Before implementing any new policy, stakeholders and other members of the leadership team have a role in its development. It can also be helpful to run it by key employees and legal experts to ensure it’s compliant and easy to follow.
  • Ensure it aligns with company values: Familiarize yourself with the brand’s mission, vision, and values and make sure these are reflected in its company social media policy.
  • Be thorough: Cover all topics that are related to social media within the organization its the policy is being created for. Include acceptable use, privacy, and security, in addition to social media interactions and brand representation.
  • Maintain and update the policy often: A social media policy is a living document and should be revised as such. As social media changes and new platforms gain traction, ensure the rules you create cover acceptable use and representation on those platforms.
  • Follow industry regulations and local laws: Make sure any policy you create is compliant with the organization’s regulating authority, if applicable, as well as all local data privacy and advertising laws.
  • Offer training: Before expecting employees to follow the new policy, take time to provide training and education to ensure every person understands what they’re responsible for.
  • Cover compliance and enforcement: Include clear information for employees about what will happen if they’re not compliant with the social media policy for employees.

Guidelines to include in your social media policy

What you include in your social policy depends on the organization but there are several guidelines to include that are typically universal for all brands. They include:

  • Employees should not discuss or disclose confidential information about the company, its employees, or its clients.
  • Employees shouldn’t engage in behavior that could harm the organization’s reputation or the reputations of its shareholders.
  • Employees may never post offensive or discriminatory content.
  • Employees should identify themselves and indicate what their role is in the organization.
  • Employees should be aware of, understand, and follow the social policy.
  • Employees should use professional language that represents the brand’s voice well.

Tips for training employees

A social media policy is a worthwhile investment for any company that uses social media—as long as its employees can and will follow it. Training is a crucial step in the implementation process. These tips can help you ensure that employee training is effective:

  • Role play and provide case studies: Give employees the opportunity to read about and work through real-life scenarios that incorporate the dos and don'ts of the policy.
  • Offer opportunities for discussion: Give employees the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the content within your policy.
  • Check knowledge with quizzes: Create short quizzes and exams to ensure employees understand their guidelines and obligations.
  • Conduct regular training reviews: Keep employees engaged and ensure they continually follow the social media policy for employees by conducting regular training sessions.
  • Solicit and incorporate feedback: Request feedback from employees and when it makes sense, incorporate it and schedule training to update the team on pertinent changes.
  • Follow-up regularly: Follow up with employees responsible for abiding by your social media policy often. Ensure they’re compliant, offer feedback, and take corrective action when they’re not compliant.

Legal considerations for social media policies

When crafting a social media policy, keep in mind that it needs to comply with laws and regulations for data privacy. From a risk management perspective, it’s also important to complete this policy with company liability in mind, which is why a legal review is important in nearly every case.

You can ensure liability is limited when it comes to your social media policy by:

  • Outlining a process for policy violations: Specify what happens when an employee violates the policy and ensure there’s a process in place for documenting it.
  • Take time to get familiar with relevant laws: Review any laws that are pertinent to the brand’s industry, as well as local privacy, advertising, and intellectual property laws.
  • Add disclaimers: Protect yourself and your client from legal issues by adding disclaimers stating that opinions expressed by employees aren’t always reflective of the organization’s and that the organization isn’t responsible for content posted by employees.
  • Address privacy: Add a statement discussing how confidential information is to be handled on social media.
  • Give examples of acceptable and unacceptable online behavior:Outline what employees are and aren’t allowed to say and specifically discuss ramifications for harassment, discrimination, and other undesirable behavior.

Make social marketing easier with Vendasta

Take the guesswork out of social media marketing for your clients and make it easier for employees to comply with the policies and procedures that govern social media actions. Trust Vendasta’s Social Marketing tools to keep you and your team on the same page and complaint with brand social media policies.

Frequently asked questions

How often should the social media policy be reviewed?

Anytime the social media landscape changes, it’s best to do a comprehensive review of your social policy to ensure the guidelines are relevant. The same can be said for any time the organization encounters a major structural or staffing change.

What are the consequences of not having a social media policy?

Without a policy, employees may feel wary of representing the brand online or they may feel overconfident and misrepresent the brand. Furthermore, not having a social policy can put a company at risk of having confidential data released, employees using social media inappropriately, or security breaches.

About the Author

Solange Messier is the Content Strategy Manager at Vendasta. Solange has spent the majority of her career in content marketing helping companies improve how they connect with their prospects and customers. Her diverse background includes magazine publishing, book publishing, marketing agencies, payment processing, and tech. When she's not working, Solange can be found spending time with her family, running, and volunteering.

Turn your digital agency into a scalable power house with Vendasta

Share This