Social media provides powerful communication tools that can have a significant impact on organizations and professional reputations. Thus, creating a Social Media Policy is one of the best ways to protect and enhance personal and professional reputations in the online arena. If you’re a one-person shop, you probably don’t have to spend too much time worrying about Social Media Policy, but if you intend to later employ workers, or outsource your company’s social media to a qualified professional, then here are seven (7) things to consider when crafting your social media policy:
- Define the Purpose of Social Media Use in Your Company: Reiterate the goals of your social media marketing effort and what you hope to achieve through your use of new media.
- Have a Plan: Consider your message, intended audiences, and the overall goals to be reached through social media, and design a strategy that works to meet those goals.
- Introduce the Social Media Policy with Employee-centric Language: Apply the “What’s In It For Me?” Rule when introducing employees to their new Social Media Policy. Focus on the things they can do, rather than what they can’t do, thus shifting the paradigm of compliance.
- Outline Responsibilities: Specifically state who provides final approval for the content and who is in charge of managing your social media outlets.
- Encourage Employees/Contractors to Exercise Good Judgment and Use Common Sense: Search engines can archive posts and comments for years after they’ve been created, and words can be easily forwarded, mass-produced, and re-broadcast several times over in the realm of new media, thus employees and contractors should be encouraged to be prudent in their actions on social media and exercise good judgment.
- Distinguish the “Personal Voice” from the “Institutional Voice”: Specifically state the perimeters upon which employees are allowed to use company-branded social media outlets, and how they may utilize their affiliation with your company in their personal social media space (if at all).
- Update Your Policy (as needed): The ever-changing nature of the technology-based mediums of social media means that the tools can and do change frequently. While any Social Media Policy constructed should focus on the principles behind the policy and not one specific platform, periodic review of the policy, along with an annual employee affirmation of your company’s policy, is a good way to ensure that it is relevant and effect in the social networking space.
Do you have any questions about social media policy?