I’m no guru. But I do know a thing or two about protecting an organization’s reputation. I also know sometimes that means protecting the organization from itself. One wayward tweet or reply to a consumer comment can quickly spin out of control. Your social media staff can be bullied by trolls online, soaking up resources and burning out your team. Even staff with the best intentions can inadvertently cause harm by disclosing sensitive information. These are some of the many reasons you need both a social media strategy and social media policy.
What are they and why does your organization need both?
The strategy relates to how your organization can make use of social media to further its business goals. At a minimum the strategy will include guiding principles, user personas, channels, content plan, key performance indicators (including how to track them) and an execution plan.
The policy governs both how social media is used within your organization and also sets the ground rules for how you will (and won’t engage) with other social media users. Social media has created grey areas about where your professional life ends and your personal life begins. The policy sets out the expectations for employees use of social media. It also provides your social media staff with guidelines for dealing with difficult situations along with service standards for everyday interactions.
Not every organization needs to engage a consultant to help them put this together. If your environment is straight forward you might just need to give it some thought and formalize your policies . We also advise our clients to always listen to the conversation before they try to participate. See what’s being said about your brand or industry, then decide how you can be part of the conversation. Here’s a few resources to help get you started.
Social Media Best Practices – Hootsuite
How to write a strong social media policy – Globe & Mail
How to develop a social media strategy – SalesForce (Email download)
And if you decide you do need external support – call us. We’ve completed both strategies and policies for organizations big and small, public and private.
Jon Duke, Senior Director