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How to Write a Social Media Policy

Community & Social Media

As I discussed in my previous post on social media policy, I think there is a lot of value in taking the time to put some thought into how you want your organization to approach social media and formalize it in a document that everyone can share and understand. In this post I’m going to share some examples of nonprofit social media policies and discuss how you can create your own.

Happy woman who has just written a great social media policyThe good news is that you don’t have to start from scratch. 211 Ontario pointed me towards this template for a social media policy which is great because it uses clear language that everyone can understand. There are also other templates you can use as a starting point (see below).

211 Ontario adapted this template to meet their own unique needs for a social media policy - as you can see it’s quite similar to the template, yet specific to their organization.

I got to hear advice on social media policy straight from a lawyer about a month ago at My Charity Connects. In her presentation An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure: Key Elements for Social Media Policies, Lorraine Fleck lists key areas to cover in your policy (privacy, Intellectual Property, employees’ internal and external use, defamation, contests and spam) and goes into detail on what each one means, why it is important and best practices.

Lorraine also tackles the question of whether it is possible to have a social media policy without being anti-social. After all, you could argue that there are so many things that could potentially go wrong on social media that you should just ban it altogether. However, this clearly ignores the many benefits that companies and nonprofits are finding through engaging on social media. She recommends taking the middle road - go ahead and use social media, but do make sure to have a policy in place (and in particular, organizations running their own online community should have legal Terms of Use) and always be monitoring the conversation so you know what is going on and can respond if needed.

Beth Kanter also wrote a fantastic post on this topic, Social Media Policy Best Practices: Trust Is Cheaper Than Control, which I recommend looking at for further ideas, templates and resources.

My last reminder is to think about who is going to be a part of this process (because the process itself is important) and how you can train your staff and volunteers. Your social media policy is no good if it sits collecting dust in the corner, unread and ignored. This is why I love this video made by the Victoria (Australia) Department of Justice for their employees - it’s easy to watch and understand.

Video about social media policy

Does your organization have a social media policy? What process did you use for creating it, and training your staff?

Image: Ambro /


More social media policy resources

Building Opportunities with Business shared this list of social media policy resources and examples with me on Twitter - also a great resource to have a look at to see a variety of policies: -Tierney