If your business or agency or doesn’t yet have a social media policy, it’s time to build one. Here are tips to make your policy ironclad.
Creating an official social media policy is always a good idea. If there is more than one person on your team involved in your social media accounts, such a policy is essential.
Discussions about creating a social media policy often focus on preventing major social media fails. Granted, failures like this can hurt a company image in drastic (and sometimes irreparable) ways. But a good social media policy will go beyond simply preventing disaster.
Reasons to invest the time in creating one include:
Consistent social media that employs an excellent social media policy leads to measurable results in your company’s revenue. Even if you are a solopreneur, putting thought into a social media policy will help you to think through your brand in an intentional way and to be ready to hire when the time comes.
Let’s talk about some important considerations here.
Related Post: Social Media Marketing 101
Before you can create a social media policy, think about who should be involved in the conversation. Who should have a seat at the table? Who is the final decision maker?
Often, a policy is created in boardrooms and executive meetings. Or even behind closed doors with a legal team. Though doing so may help in a lawsuit or look good on paper, it will do nothing to create a space where amazing social media can happen.
If you want all the benefits of a social media policy, it needs to connect directly with the people implementing it.
Before you write a solid social media policy, you need to first take the time to understand the perspectives and needs of its stakeholders.
As you can see, even if social media is its own department, it connects with virtually every part of a business.
Anyone who has ever planned a large meeting knows that it can sometimes stop work from getting done when too many voices are talking at once. So, you might want to consider other methods of collecting information.
Once you know who is involved (or should be involved) in social media policy, you can choose from a lot of ways to gather their input, such as:
Now that you have input from all your internal stakeholders, how do you create a policy that works?
Some key components that every social media policy should have include:
You may find that you need to add additional sections for your own unique organization and goals.
Taking the time now to create a policy will avoid hours of lost time later when employees struggle to find guidelines, make decisions, and take action.
Just because someone has a saved seat in the car for your road trip does not mean the person should be given the keys to drive. The same is true on social media.
Though you do want the input of all parts of your business in your social media policy planning, you don’t want every person in the company to have the Twitter password.
On each platform know what your options are for administrative access. Use your social media policy to clearly delineate what permissions are appropriate for each person on your social media team.
For example, on Facebook, permissions range from an “Analyst” who can only view statistics, to an “Admin” who has full access and can add other administrators. An “Admin” can even delete the whole page.
You can also use a tool like Agorapulse to add additional team members who can add a post and assign it to part of the social media team for approval.
This can be especially helpful if you have several locations or remote team members. They may be able to snap a picture of something that would make a great social media post. Rather than this getting lost in endless emails, it can go directly into the social media queue while leaving final creative control with the team managing the social media directly.
On the other hand, a social media platform like Twitter only has a single username and password access point. It is no wonder so many problems happen on this platform when a social media policy is not put in place.
Important as social media training for new employees is ongoing training for your staff to keep them up to date.
Make sure your training includes information about new aspects of social media itself. Employees need to understand the nuances and best practices of each individual platform (like correct use of hashtags) but also think outside the social media box.
For example, when your company does sensitivity training or sexual harassment training, ask if it has a social media component. If not, add it.
Do you have expectations for employees about how they manage their personal social media accounts? That may seem like it is outside the bounds of what is appropriate because employees may list their job on their personal social media … But this can still result in unwanted attention to you and your business if they post something inappropriate.
Definitely involve Human Resources in this part of the conversation!
Building your own unique brand and voice on social media is a constant effort. And it can be undermined by the careless use of social media.
Don’t make your team guess about what they should do. Cover this in-depth in your social media policy. Some questions that you should provide answers to are:
Providing clear guidelines in this area will help provide continuity to your social media even as individual staff members move around or change.
One of the most important ways to turn social media fans into customers is to respond quickly and with the information they need.
With multiple social media accounts and several people managing all the activity, too often things can get missed. An important part of any successful social media strategy should be to determine the process for making sure the right person sees the right messages. This can be the difference between gaining a loyal customer and losing a sale.
Don’t leave this piece to chance.
Take advantage of technology to help improve communication inside the team. For example, Agorapulse allows you to assign any message in your account (whether that be a direct message, or simply a mention or search result) to any manager on your team. You can even include a comment, giving you the chance to pass on an idea, question, or reminder.
Finally, build into your social media policy a system of review and updates. You don’t want to discover that an employee fired three months ago still has the rights to delete your Facebook page after the fact.
The key parts of a review are:
Again, using tools will help with this considerably. A good place to start is the reports section in Agorapulse that will allow you to do a deep dive into your social media results. Make sure one person is assigned to reviewing and distributing the reports on a regular basis, along with checking users and permissions.
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