As a Blogger or Content Creator, there should be no doubt that you 100% NEED a Social Media Policy. Why you might ask? Well, let me ask you this: Do you have band-aids in your house? Most of you are going to say yes either because you’ve needed them before or you’re prepared for a future need.
The exact same logic applies to having a Social Media Policy. Traditionally, we think that only brands or companies should have a Policy but I’d argue that a Personal Social Media Policy is one of the greatest documents a Content Creator can have for themselves. Let’s explore the idea.
What is a Social Media Policy?
To be clear, I’m not talking about some long legal mumbo-jumbo that outlines cookie policies and website liability. No, no, no. We want to keep this personal.
A Social Media Policy is your rules to your playground. It clearly tells people who interact with your content what you are and are not okay with. Is telling them enough to make them listen? No, probably not. But it is enough to let you take action and that’s the key. A Social Media Policy will help people understand how you work and what they can expect from you.
For example, I’m NOT okay with other brands soliciting either on my blog or on my Instagram. If someone leaves a comment along the lines of, “Hey! We love your vibe! Check out account @xx and become an ambassador!!”, I will delete it. Every. Time. My Social Media Policy makes that very clear.
Why Do You Need a Social Media Policy?
As with bandaids, you don’t want to be scrambling to put this together or hoping you had one once an issue has already cropped up. Think of it as insurance. A Social Media Policy lets you consider allllllll the things that are important to you and helps you put an action plan in place, should you need it.
- A Social Media Policy will help you make decisions before you need to make them. Go through all the possible different scenarios that perhaps you’ve already dealt with or those items that keep you up at night. Solve for them. Make a plan on how you’ll handle them.
- Create an understanding with your readers and set expectations. Do you let visitors to your house walk around with their shoes on? Why or why not? Be clear but be specific. If you don’t like something and don’t want them doing it with your content or in your content area, spell it out.
- Protect yourself and those you write about. We have locks on our doors for a reason and this is no different. You should not leave yourself – or others who engage or contribute to your content – vulnerable to the actions of other.
- Don’t hide your Social Media Policy and don’t be shy that you have one. Let people know that you have rules for your playground and tell them where to find them. As a Content Creator, you have a right to stand up for yourself.
- Don’t second guess yourself. The only real time you’ll need your Policy is when someone breaks your Policy or an emergency happens. That’s not when you want to think about it, so don’t. Do what you say you’ll do… You’ve already done the hard part of creating it!
What Should a Social Media Policy Include?
Your Social Media Policy does not need to be overly complicated. The simpler the language, the easier it will be for everyone to understand. At the very minimum, it should include:
- Image and content copyright information – How will you handle photographs? Are they your own? Can people share your content?
- Collaborations, sponsorships, events, freebies, etc… – Are you open to them? How do they get in touch with you? How will you disclose these?
- Comment Policy – What language are you okay with? What will you allow or what might you remove? Be very clear that you will delete language, comments or links that you consider inappropriate.
- Responses – How often will you respond to comments?
Other elements to consider:
- Affiliations – Do you receive a commission for any links on your site? How can readers tell?
- Solicitations – How do you feel about people leaving ad-like comments? What will you do about it?
- Personal Information – What will you do if someone leaves sensitive information on one of your accounts?
- Disclaimers – If you are not a professional or licensed to provide certain types of advice, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk about it but, you should make sure your readers understand your position. Do you blog about alcohol? You may want to add a note about age restrictions. Giving advice about health or workouts? Adding a reminder to seek a doctor’s advice is a good idea. Don’t be something you’re not and keep your readers safe above all else.
Where Should I Put My Social Media Policy?
I really don’t think you need to put your Social Media Policy on a billboard but you should make it easy for people to find.
On my blog, I keep my policy under my About page. Some people like having a dedicated menu item for their policy. Others, include a link at the bottom of their page. My point is… don’t hide it.
For other social media properties like Instagram, I have my policy on a blog page called “Links” that I add to my social bios. Some people use Linktree but I prefer this method so I can track my data. I’ve also seen people add them to their Stories or even make Reels or TikTok. Use your imagination but keep it simple.
I’m going to leave you with this and just be blunt and honest. No, you don’t need a Personal Social Media Policy. Unfortunately, it’s not a guarantee that nothing bad or unexpected will happen to you. And by no means does it release you from risk. But, it WILL help you be prepared and it WILL get you thinking about all the things you should be thinking about. And it WILL help you to be less susceptible to trolls because you’ve already decided how to handle their behaviour. At the end of the day, why wouldn’t you want that kind of insurance?
Any questions? Feel free to leave a comment below and I’d be more than happy to help out.