A social media policy for board members outlines the acceptable and unacceptable use of social media platforms. Learn how to write one.
Have you been tasked with creating a social media policy for your board of directors? This crucial document serves as a training resource and guide for board members to help their organizations maintain professional reputations online and avoid social media scandals.
For help creating a board of directors social media policy, consult this step-by-step guide, which includes tips to enact the policy and store it as a living document accessible to your board members at any time through a board portal.
What Is a Social Media Policy?
A social media policy is a code of conduct for your board’s social media use. It outlines the use of the brand’s social channels and how board members portray the company on their personal social media pages.
A well-crafted social media policy protects your brand by ensuring the organization’s social channels remain consistent and board members maintain professional images online that won’t tarnish your company’s reputation. The guidelines in a social media policy tell each board member what not to post on public accounts to prevent embarrassing the organization or exposing the company to legal issues.
Without a social media policy, an organization subjects itself to a potential public relations disaster. For example, a well-known board member who posts social content that the public finds offensive or inappropriate can damage the brand’s reputation or result in a financial loss (through loss of customers). There can also be regulatory backlash if the organization’s officials make false claims on social media or post content that is viewed as misleading.
Step-by-Step Guide for Writing a Social Media Policy
Protect your organization with these 5 steps for writing an effective social media policy for board members.
1. Appoint a Social Media Committee
The social media committee will oversee all social activities of members and collaborate with the board to adopt strategic social media techniques. Members of this committee should have relevant skills, qualifications, and experience to accomplish their responsibilities efficiently. For example, marketers, legal experts, analysts, and strategists can be valuable members of a social media committee. The aim is to have people on the committee with a basic knowledge of social media dynamics and state regulations.
Social media committee members should also be excellent communicators and creative. After all, you want a team that can think of compelling and interesting social media ideas that drive tangible results. Appoint a committee chairperson to ensure everything works seamlessly among nominated members.
2. Outline Social Media Do’s and Don’ts
As experts in their respective fields, board members are social media influencers. They can help increase awareness of the organization’s products, activities, or services. As public figures, they need to be careful online to avoid attracting negative attention to their organizations. For this reason, it’s essential to outline social media do’s and don’ts in the policy. Here are some examples to get you started.
- Allow board members to post relevant and non-confidential organization details on their personal social media channels—for example, thought leadership information.
- Have rules for members posting to their personal social media channels. Unless your organization is political, board members should avoid posting polarizing political opinions online.
- Create brand voice guidelines for the organization’s official accounts.
- Ask the social media committee to provide content ideas for board members to post on their personal accounts.
- Allow board members to post controversial or political content on their social channels.
- Post product endorsements on board member accounts.
- Share social media passwords with the entire board of directors.
3. Assign a Committee Member to Enforce the Policy
For accountability purposes, you should assign a committee member to enforce the social media policies. This person will provide social media training sessions and ensure board members comply with the policies. This includes regular monitoring of accounts to spot policy violations.
4. Reward Good Board Members
Recognizing and rewarding board members who consistently abide by the social media policy encourages them to keep up the excellent work.
The most appropriate reward of all is a simple thank-you—whether through an email or a letter from the organization. Acknowledgement in the annual report or an invitation to special events also motivates and inspires board members.
5. Store the Document in a Central Location
After writing a social media policy, you need to store it in a secure place where all board members can easily access it when necessary. Since social media changes so rapidly, consider a living document you can update when needed.
Use Board Management Software to Store Board Documents
OnBoard’s board portal platform provides unlimited digital storage backed by enterprise security to house your social media policy and other important board documents. With offline access, board members can review board documents even when Wi-Fi is spotty. The universal search function allows board members to search for documents by keyword. In addition to document storage, the purpose-built platform fosters collaboration, powers smarter meetings, and protects organizations from risk.
About The Author
- Josh Palmer serves as OnBoard's Head of Content. An experienced content creator, his previous roles have spanned numerous industries including B2C and B2B home improvement, healthcare, and software-as-a-service (SaaS). An Indianapolis native and graduate of Indiana University, Palmer currently resides in Fishers, Ind.
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