Social media investigator is a new kind of investigator role. However, what does it mean to be a professional social media investigator? As a lot of workplaces now have social media policies and a lot of employees interact with one another outside of work hours, social media investigators have become important in any team. They are very similar to other investigators in the sense that they must be objective, pay attention to detail and undergo regular training to keep up with the latest developments. 

Where they slightly differ from a regular investigator is that they specialise in social media, know them inside out and are aware of which tools will produce the best results. What else?

Skills of a social media investigator

Being a social media investigator is still a ‘fresh’ job. In a 2022 survey, it was revealed that 77% of employees use social media at work and 98% use social media in their personal time. Social media has many risks as people may assume the opinions of the employees are also the opinions of the company as a whole. That is why more and more companies are introducing strong policies to combat this problem. 

Considering that, social media investigators must be:

  • Great at analysing information
  • Aware of the latest tools
  • Prioritising confidentiality at every stage
  • Knowledgeable of the latest legal and ethical requirements
  • Objective
  • Experienced in succinct, accurate and easy-to-understand writing
  • Able to communicate effectively 

Great at analysing information

One of the main issues with social media platforms is that they keep changing, there are always new features added, and there is always new information that can be shared. This means that during a social media investigation, the investigator may run into a lot of data that could be considered as evidence. But not all of it is evidence. Many posts, images, and metadata may appear as relevant to a case. After analysing them, an experienced social media investigator will be able to determine which ones can count as evidence, can help reach an outcome in a case or be admissible to court. 

social media investigator

Aware of the latest tools

Social media investigation tools are very helpful in any investigation. Social media investigators will need to be aware of which ones can assist them in a case and whether there are any relevant developments in new software introduced to the market. By knowing how to use these tools, social media investigators will be able to analyse metadata, check whether evidence has been tampered with and determine the location, time and device used to make a post. Moreover, these tools can help them discover whether conversations have been deleted or whether an employee is using fake accounts to harass another employee. 

Prioritising confidentiality at every stage

Just like any other investigator, social media investigators must keep every piece of evidence and every stage of the investigation confidential. Speaking to others about details of the case can threaten the reputation of the parties involved. 

To maintain confidentiality, social media investigators must be excellent in the way they handle and store evidence. At Polonious, we help many social media investigators around the world store their evidence in a secure system that no one can access unless they are permitted to. They are able to save notes, automate tasks and reminders and free up time for other core tasks. 

Knowledgeable of the latest legal and ethical requirements

One of the most important tasks for a social media investigator is to keep up with legal and ethical requirements. There are privacy and data laws that can affect daily tasks as well as ethical standards that they must comply with. Social media investigators will be dealing with sensitive information constantly, so they need to share the methods they used to acquire the data they have as well as how they came to their findings.

These laws and ethical standards also apply to how they save the information they find. They need to be careful so that the evidence isn’t easily found by another person and can’t be modified. Any evidence that they collect cannot be shared with other individuals.

Social media investigators need to undergo regular training on cybersecurity and stay updated on any privacy, digital safety, data collection laws and more in order to stay compliant. Failure to do so could jeopardise the future of their job. 


In an investigation, no matter what the allegation is, social media investigators cannot let emotions or biases get the better of them. When scrutinising evidence, it is necessary that they are doing so objectively, without building a scenario of what it is they are looking at. Being neutral at every stage of the investigation is essential for achieving an accurate result and ensuring that there is a fair process carried out. 

Being objective isn’t always going to be easy. Social media investigators may need training on how to block out unconscious bias to improve the quality of their work. This assists in understanding that there isn’t a ‘guilty’ party until all findings have been put together. 

Experienced in succinct, accurate and easy-to-understand writing

As part of their job, social media investigators will need to write investigation reports based on their research and what they discovered. This requires one to be excellent at writing accurately and succinctly. For example, when writing a report, there shouldn’t be any uncertainty in the methods used to carry out the process. The writing isn’t vague and easy to understand. It is succinct as there isn’t irrelevant information or extra storytelling included. 

High-quality writing makes the report a more pleasant experience for the reader. They don’t have to struggle to figure out what the allegations were, what were the stages of the process or what the final outcome is. 

This is very critical as social media investigators will also need to explain whether any evidence was modified, deleted or fake. 

Able to communicate effectively 

Great communication isn’t only limited to the writing of the report. Social media investigators will need to speak with parties involved in the investigation and other colleagues as part of their job. This requires them to explain what they want and need clearly and be an active listener so mistakes are prevented. 

Effective communication is also achieved through body language and eye contact. If the investigator is listening but showing disinterest through their body language this could be problematic as the speaker may see it negatively. This could be prevented by the investigator keeping the right amount of eye contact and angling the body towards the speaker. 

There are many scenarios where effective communication will be crucial. An experienced investigator will know how to phrase sentences and shape facial expressions so they don’t give off the wrong message. Another example that could be added here is how they obtain evidence. A very happy demeanour when talking to a potential victim may not be the best way to communicate the need for more evidence from them – while it’s important to be friendly, an overly happy demeanour might show a lack of concern or care with regard to a serious matter..

The best social media investigators focus on continuous improvement

Just like any job, social media investigators will need to focus on continuously improving and honing their skills. This will allow them to carry out better investigators, know how to approach sensitive matters and understand how new trends could affect their job. 

The social media investigators we worked with have recognised the need for a case management system to improve the efficiency of their work. Polonious has helped many investigators improve their workflow and reduce human errors as we automate manual tasks. We prevent the risk of information leaks as our system is highly secured. The best part? Our system can be accessed by anyone, anytime, even offline as long as they have access to the information they want to see. Everyone else is locked out, ensuring that confidentiality is maintained at every step of the way. 

If you want to know more about how our system works, reach out! We are happy to give you a demo!