In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of companies operating official SNS accounts and working on branding and sales promotion activities. On the other hand, social media carries with it various risks, such as leaks of confidential information and troubles with users. To prevent such problems from occurring, it is important to formulate social media guidelines and policies in advance and clarify the rules for operating SNS and owned media.
Therefore, this time, we will explain the definition and importance of social media guidelines and policies in an easy-to-understand manner. We will also introduce the elements that should be included in the guidelines, so please refer to them when you actually formulate them.
Table of contents
What are social media guidelines and policies?
The operational rules of companies regarding social media are broadly classified into three types. Specifically, there are three: “Social Media Guidelines,” “Social Media Policy,” and “Community Guidelines.” Here, we will explain the meaning and role of each, and the difference between each type.
social media guidelines
Social media guidelines are the rules that govern the use of social media by employees of the company. Decide what should and should not be done when dealing with social media, and show it to the company as a guideline. It is a rule to make employees aware to protect the brand image and send articles and posts.
social media policy
A social media policy is a statement to the outside world of your company’s attitude and purpose when using social media. Explain how your company operates social media and what actions are prohibited. It also plays an important role in showing disclaimers and cautions and explaining what to do against malicious users.
Community guidelines comprehensively indicate prohibited matters, disclaimers, deletion policies, etc. when companies operate social media. Some companies use it synonymously with their social media policy. A feature of community guidelines is that they are basically formulated by companies for each social media medium. In addition, it is written more specifically and strictly than the contents of the social media guidelines and social media policies.
Why social media guidelines and policies are important
Why are social media guidelines and policies becoming more important in recent years? This section explains why social media guidelines and policies should be formulated.
to reduce the risk of fire
Social media is an effective means of communicating with consumers and customers. However, casual posts can make users feel uncomfortable and cause a fire. Once a fire breaks out, the brand value of the company may be significantly damaged. On that point, if rules for remarks are determined in advance in social media guidelines and policies, employees will try to post moderately and it will be easier to prevent flaming troubles.
To avoid personalization of social media operations
If you leave the operation of social media to a few people in charge, the content of your posts may become dependent on the person. If the person in charge changes at the time of transfer or reassignment, the wording of the post, the use of pictograms, and the frequency of posting will change significantly, and there may be cases where the user feels distrustful. By setting rules and guidelines for posting in advance based on social media guidelines and policies, it becomes easier to prevent personalization and maintain the quality of posts.
10 things to include in your social media guidelines
What specific content should be included in social media guidelines and policies? Here, we will introduce the contents that should be included in the “Social Media Guidelines”, which are operational guidelines for internal use.
 Purpose and basic policy of the guidelines
At the beginning, be sure to describe the background and purpose of establishing the guidelines. For example, write things like “The use of social media is at its peak and its influence is increasing,” and “I want to use social media appropriately to deepen relationships with customers.” It is also important to clearly state that the contents of this guideline will be thoroughly followed.
 Definition and scope of social media
Different companies define social media differently. Therefore, in your guidelines, define which media specifically social media refers to, such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc. It is also important to clearly indicate to whom the guidelines apply (your own employees, all employees within the group, etc.).
 Understanding the characteristics of social media
It is also important for the guidelines to encourage employees to understand the characteristics of social media and to speak carefully. Specifically, the content should include something like, “Since information once sent cannot be withdrawn, we will operate with a sensible attitude.”
 Thorough confidentiality
On social media, there is also the risk of unintentionally posting trade secrets, resulting in disadvantages. The guidelines should discourage the blind disclosure of confidential information, such as trade secrets and information on intellectual property rights, on the Internet.
 Prohibition of rights infringement
In the unlikely event that you infringe on the rights of another company when operating social media, it may lead to a lawsuit. Even in the guidelines, it is important to call attention not to infringe on the rights of others, such as copyrights, portrait rights, and trademark rights.
 Prohibition of stealth marketing
Stealth marketing, such as receiving money to manipulate word-of-mouth, or promoting a product under the guise of a third party without specifying that it is an advertisement, is prohibited by the Act against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations. In your social media guidelines, state that stealth marketing is strictly prohibited, and if you receive any money or goods, encourage them to clearly state that in their posts.
 Prohibition of slander
Posts that make users feel uncomfortable can cause fire. In the social media guidelines, please refrain from insulting specific individuals and groups, as well as discriminatory remarks and attacks related to thoughts, beliefs, religions, politics, etc.
 Ensuring accuracy of information
Recently, there have been cases of posting information that is not true or false, causing a firestorm. The social media guidelines also remind users to be as accurate as possible and not to use information that is not true or of unknown origin.
 Troubleshooting flow
In the unlikely event that a fire or rights infringement occurs, the person in charge will be confused if the response flow is not decided. Therefore, it is important that the social media guidelines include measures to be taken in the event of trouble. As an example, include a statement such as “In the event of a problem, promptly consult with the person in charge of the department and provide accurate information to the company.”
 Clear distinction between public and private
In recent years, there have been cases where employees have mistakenly posted on personal and company accounts. Personal posts by employees should be distinguished from public statements by the company. The guidelines should also state that employees are personally responsible for what they say on social media and not the company.
In the age of SNS, social media guidelines and policies play a very important role. In order to prevent the risk of flaming and to maintain your brand image as a company, be sure to work on formulating social media guidelines and policies.