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Tips for Administrators: Drafting a Social Media Policy

Social media is a free way to tap into your staff’s network and leverage their reputation in order to promote your institution

Institutions should encourage their staff to become their brand ambassadors through Social Media (Why Encourage Your Staff To Have A Personal Brand). It is a free way to tap into their network and leverage their reputation in order to promote your institution. According to the latest figures, having your staff involved in social media should be the priority of your marketing department (from

  • When brand messages are shared by employees on social media, they get 561 percent more reach than the same messages shared by the brand’s social media channels.
  • Brand messages are re-shared 24 times more frequently when posted by an employee versus the brand’s social media channels.
  • On average, employees have 10 times more followers than their company’s social media accounts.
  • Content shared by employees receives 8 times more engagement than content shared by brand channels.

However, one of the downside of having your staff being active on social media is that they could potentially damage your institution’s reputation through problematic posts. Although this cannot be minimized, institutions should not micromanage how staff brand themselves and put barriers on their social media activities.

A social media policy outlines how employees should conduct themselves online. It safeguards your institution’s reputation while also encouraging employees to responsibly share the company’s message.

Your social media policy should be a usable document that staff can quickly consult when they have a question. As a result, when drafting your social media policy, we recommend keeping it simple and flexible. Creating prescriptive rules will require regular updates as social networks add new features and can also lead to confusion. Instead, establish guiding principles to make it easier for them to understand their responsibilities.

Finally, remember that having a policy is just one part of the equation. You will need to provide continued guidance and training to minimize risks to your institution.

Social Media policy at a minimum includes:

  • Rules on when and how staff can use social media;
  • Reminders to respect intellectual property rights;
  • An expectation of politeness, respect and patience;
  • Steps to take to retract problematic posts;
  • Approved and disapproved social media activities;
  • Proper use of media to retain a consistent brand voice;
  • Prohibition to disclose confidential information;
  • An expectation to inform the marketing department before sharing major impact content;
  • Wording for a disclaimer stating that the opinions expressed are not those of the institution; and
  • How the institution enforces its social media policy.

Here are examples of clauses from existing Social Media Policy:



  • Common sense is a huge factor here. If you are about to publish something that makes you even the slightest bit uncomfortable, review. If you are still unsure and it is related to the adidas Group and its brands, talk to your manager or Corporate Communications (please find contacts below).
  • Have you posted something that just wasn’t true? Be the first to respond to your own mistake. In a blog, if you choose to modify an earlier post, make it clear that you have done so.
  • And finally. With all the blogging and interacting, don’t forget your daily job…

Associated Press

  • All AP journalists are encouraged to have accounts on social networks. They have become an essential tool for AP reporters to gather news and share links to our published work. We recommend having one account per network that you use both personally and professionally.
  • AP staff are encouraged to link to AP content in all formats. They can also link to content from other media organizations, except if the material spreads rumors or is otherwise inappropriate.
  • Trash-talking about anyone (including a team, company or celebrity) reflects badly on staffers and the AP. Assume your tweet will be seen by the target of your comment.



Best Buy

  • State That It’s YOUR Opinion: When commenting on the business. Unless authorized to speak on behalf of Best Buy, you must state that the views expressed are your own. Hourly employees should not speak on behalf of Best Buy when they are off the clock.
  • The Numbers: Non-public financial or operational information. This includes strategies, forecasts and most anything with a dollar-figure attached to it. If it’s not already public information, it’s not your job to make it so.
  • Honor Our Differences: Live the values. Best Buy will not tolerate discrimination (including age, sex, race, color, creed, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship, disability, or marital status or any other legally recognized protected basis under federal, state, or local laws, regulations or ordinances).



California State University at East Bay

  • Do not disclose student information. Abide by Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). This is especially important in dealing with students who post questions online about their educational circumstances (e.g. “Did my credits transfer?”). Ask the student for a private conversation.
  • Respect proprietary information and content. Do not use copyrighted photos or written content without properly crediting the source or gaining permission from the source prior to use.
  • Discuss any social media engagement issues, questions, and concerns not covered by these guidelines with the CSUEB Social Media Director. Don’t publish if you can’t publish with confidence.

Coca Cola (best one)

  • Every day, people discuss, debate and embrace The Coca‐Cola Company and our brands in thousands of online conversations. We recognize the vital importance of participating in these online conversations and are committed to ensuring that we participate in online social media the right way. These Online Social Media Principles have been developed to help empower our associates to participate in this new frontier of marketing and communications, represent our Company, and share the optimistic and positive spirits of our brands.
  • You are responsible for your actions. Anything you post that can potentially tarnish the Company’s image will ultimately be your responsibility. We do encourage you to participate in the online social media space, but urge you to do so properly, exercising sound judgment and common sense
  • Be a “scout” for compliments and criticism. Even if you are not an official online spokesperson for the Company, you are one of our most vital assets for monitoring the social media landscape.

Mayo Clinic

  • Write in the first person. Where your connection to Mayo Clinic is apparent, make it clear that you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of Mayo Clinic. In those circumstances, you should include this disclaimer: “The views expressed on this [blog; website] are my own and do not reflect the views of my employer.” Consider adding this language in an “About me” section of your blog or social media profile.
  • If you communicate in the public internet about Mayo Clinic or Mayo Clinic-related matters, you must disclose your connection with Mayo Clinic and your role at Mayo.
  • Unless approved by the Center for Social Media, your social media name, handle and URL should not include Mayo Clinic’s name or logo.




  • We recognize that many of our employees use social media tools as another way to connect with customers and share information about Nordstrom.
  • Don’t post comments about a coworker, customer or vendor that could be perceived as harassing, threatening, retaliatory or discriminatory.
  • Comply with our Guidelines for Endorsers (see “Guidelines for Endorsers” on by disclosing your Nordstrom affiliation and noting that the views expressed are your own.