We all have those projects that are difficult to tackle– maybe because we are not sure where to start or it just seems too complicated. This could be true for some of us when it comes to developing a social media policy. It may seem like a social media policy is just creating more rules or bringing up hard-to-talk-about topics, and it could be. But most of the time, it is better to be clear on the social media guidelines and goals for your company.
So today, I challenge you to start thinking about your company’s social media policy. Then, take a look at Vivid Image’s Social Media Guidelines too.
Social Media Policy Considerations
- What is the purpose of your social media policy? To identify the roles for your marketing staff in managing social media? To layout guidelines so your staff knows if social media is allowed during work for non-work purposes? Often it is only part of an employee’s job to engage with customers on social media. It can be a fine art to balance social media with other work duties.
- How should employees respond to criticism on your company’s social media sites? It is a good idea to have a plan of action ahead of time to avoid hasty decisions that could jeopardize your reputation or customer relationships.
- Outline who owns the social media accounts. For instance, if an employee is tweeting on behalf of your company, ensure that it is clear who owns that account if that employee was to sever employment. If accounts are employer-owned, make sure that the usernames and passwords are accessible.
- Understand and practice transparency in social media. Employees should avoid anonymous or misleading posts or comments. People buy from those they trust so encourage employees to be transparent and be upfront about who their employer is.
- Know how to properly use images and content in social media. Employees managing company social media accounts should respect copyrights and always give others credit or attribution if the idea originated somewhere else. The beauty of social media is in supporting and helping each other, so a “hat tip” is always appreciated. Whenever there is doubt about posting something, ask for permission first.
- Don’t give away company secrets. It is great to be able to share breaking news with your Facebook community first, but ensure that the news is yours to share. Employees need to protect proprietary company information. In many cases, this applies to confidential information about customers and clients too.
- Just like in real life – be respectful with posts and comments. Comments that are rude, spammy, or bully-like will turn people off. When needed, it is acceptable to politely remove yourself from a conversation or ask to take the conversation offline.
- Remember that personal accounts are not necessarily private. Even with adjusted privacy settings and friends lists, there are risks when people post something that they wouldn’t want their Mom, boss, or #1 customer to see.
Overall, remember that the Internet doesn’t forget. Make sure that your employees are all on the same page with what is expected of them on social media, in order to protect themselves, the company, and the customers.