How can I stop people from posting inappropriate comments on my business’s Facebook Page?
How can I make sure that my staff represent my business in an appropriate manner at all times on social media?
Unless you want to lock down your Facebook Page so that you are the only one that can post to the page, the unfortunate answer to the above two questions is, “you can’t”!
However, you can reduce the likelihood of unacceptable behaviour by your staff and community by developing social media guidelines for your business.

Social Media Guidelines For Businesses

Whilst you should have systems in place that enable you to monitor, evaluate, respond and remove comments (if necessary), more importantly, you need to set boundaries and manage expectations of what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour through social media guidelines – prevention is better than cure!

You need to develop social media guidelines for both your staff and your community that will support the implementation of your social media strategy, allow for engagement and create a safe environment for all involved.

These guidelines should then be communicated to all relevant parties and remain readily available and shared regularly as you develop your social media platforms and your community grows.

Social Media Guidelines For Staff

Your staff need to know what you are using social media to achieve. In other words, what are your overall objectives. They also need to understand what the voice and tone you wish to project is, along with what type of content is appropriate to for them to share when they are posting as your business.
They need clear guidelines around when they have authority to represent your business, both on and off-line, and where they need to draw the line in regards to personal and business use of social media. Social media usage guidelines may also be required to ensure your staff are not involved in excessive use of social media for personal purposes during business time.
You also need to provide your social media management team with regular training and support so that they can effectively represent your business on-line.
Here are some examples of social media guidelines for businesses:

Social Media Community Guidelines

Your community also needs to be aware of what is acceptable and unacceptable when communicating with your business via your social media platforms of choice, particularly if you have a potentially volatile community or often share stories that are likely to polarize your community.
This is best achieved by creating Social Media Community Guidelines and sharing those on your website and regularly across your social media platforms to ensure everyone is aware of what is acceptable content to share and what the repercussions are for falling outside your guidelines. Should someone’s behaviour not comply with what is spelt out as acceptable within your guidelines, then you can take the appropriate action and point them back to your guidelines to back up why you took the action that you did.
Here are some examples:

As well as housing their guidelines within a “House Rules” app on their Facebook Page, Masters Swimming NSW regularly shares these guidelines as posts on the Page, particularly when there has been a breech of those guidelines.
According to Roger Dietrich of Masters Swimming NSW, since publishing and regularly sharing their social media guidelines on their Facebook Page, they have only had to delete a few unacceptable posts and comments. Only one person has been banned in the past two years.

People Are Responsible For Their Own Actions

Regardless of whether it’s guidelines for your team or your community, you need to make sure that people are aware that they are ultimately responsibility for their own actions. A good rule of thumb for this is to get people to THINK before they post!

  • Social Media Guidelines For Businesses - Think Before You PostIs it True?
  • Is it Helpful?
  • Is it Inspiring?
  • Is it Necessary?
  • Is it Kind?

If you can tick all those boxes, then you are on the right track to creating positive engagement on-line.
Do you have any social media guidelines for your business or know of any other good examples? If so, share a link to them in the comments below.