Are your social media guidelines clear?

It is essential that your charity, community group, or organisation has a social media policy that all trustees, staff, and volunteers are familiar with. In addition to protecting your staff, volunteers, and your organisation, your policy will empower them to utilise social media effectively and build confidence that they understand the restrictions in place.

The incident with Gary Lineker, who clashed with the BBC’s strict media guidelines, highlights what a difficult business it can be to govern the personal use of social media when it’s associated with an organisation. Having your people on social media can be a really effective, but it comes with its own risks. Many charities encourage staff to use accounts specifically designed to help build partnerships and grow the digital reach of their organisation. But what if someone wants to post about an issue which represents their values, not those of your organisation?

Think about your social media strategy and how you use it. Consider one main account for each channel that everyone feeds into, or weigh the benefits and risks of adding additional accounts that allow more content to be shared.

When you draft social media guidance for your team try to involve them in the process, discuss various scenarios and work together to find what works for your organisation.

Whether you are creating a policy from scratch, or it’s time for an update, decide what your goals are and what limitations you want to set. Keep your guidance short, simple, and easy for everyone to understand. There’s lots of templates and examples available online but if using one, make sure to tailor it to suit the specific needs of your organisation – and keep it updated.

Here’s some basics to help you get started:

  • Who’s responsible: Outline what accounts you hold and who manages them so everyone is aware. Volunteers and staff can share content such as stories and pictures to the main account holders so they can manage and post on behalf of the organisation. If you want your staff to set up ‘work’ accounts, you should make sure they know exactly what’s expected of them. But bear in mind that setting up new profiles takes time and skill to grow an audience, so it may not be worthwhile.
  • Proofing: Ensure that information shared on public channels is accurate and professional by setting up a proofing process. Having a second set of eyes to proof content and be responsible will help prevent embarrassing mistakes.
  • Tone of voice: Your policy should highlight your brand’s tone of voice which anyone posting should use consistently. Describe your brand personality, whether your tone should be formal or informal, whether you use emojis, etc. Examples of typical posts should be included, as well as examples written in the wrong tone.
  • Topics to encourage or avoid: A good policy should specify what kind of content your organisation should reshare or comment on, as well as what it should not. Restrictions should include confidential information, offensive content, and anything that might be in conflict with your brand values.
  • Handling negativity: Outline how you would like to deal with negative comments and when to escalate an issue, mapping out clearly when action is needed. In some cases, it is best to respond positively to negative comments online so others can see your response, but in other cases you may prefer to respond privately or ignore completely. It may be helpful to create a crisis comms plan for your team with draft responses to possible scenarios.
  • Make a list of partners: Provide guidance on when to engage with partners, as well as who and when to tag others in your content to increase engagement. You may want to include advice on what should be reshared – for instance, it might not always be possible (or relevant) to reshare all the posts you’ve been tagged in. Outline some guidance on what is feasible and important to your organisation.


Once you have a policy in place, make sure its kept up to date and shared with new staff and volunteers coming on board.

Outside of your organisation’s social media, your staff and volunteers will also be using various personal accounts. Talk to your team about how you would like them to post about your organisation and encourage them, where appropriate, to share content that helps you reach new audiences. Ensure that your team understands that their personal social media accounts can be viewed as extensions of the organisation, and ask them to post appropriately.

Find more guidance here:


Look out for training events coming soon on the topic of social media and marketing. Subscribe to our bulletin or visit us on Eventbrite

Back to News
Website by AgencyForGood

Copyright 2024. All Rights Reserved

    Your Basket
    Your basket is emptyBack to Home Page
    Skip to content