Why Your Business Needs a Social Media Policy and How to Write One
When used appropriately and responsibly, there is immense potential to be drawn from using social media to spread business awareness mainly because of its popularity among the media users. However, it has become difficult to set apart personal tweets and posts made by a representative of an organization from those of the organisation made on an official capacity.
The conflict between personal opinions and the official position of the organisation has grown much controversy where many corporate organisations have come under public uproar. Additionally, social media companies are thought to take long before resolving or taking action on errant social media publicity made by an employee of an organisation.
This conflict in communication is one of the main instances why a business organisation requires a social media policy; to limit the nature and extent of communication and interaction between an organisation and its potential clients.
Definition of a Social Media Policy
This is an official document that outlines guidelines to be followed by an organisation when the organisation is using any social media platform.
A social media policy identifies all available social media platforms and the respective accounts used to access the social media platforms. The policy should also account for all other social media accounts held by employees in the organisation whether they are personal accounts or used otherwise for work.
For efficiency, a social media policy should be updated periodically to reflect the continuous changes that occur in the social media industry. A good policy should be dynamic enough to the capture new operational features as they are introduced on various social media platforms.
Additionally, all employees in the organisation need to be fully enlightened in as far as the currency of the policy is involved. That way, all employees are aware of the requirements for an organisation’s engagement with potential clients on social media.
Significance of a Social Media Policy
A policy to guide the use and engagement of the client on social media will benefit an organisation in the following ways:
Ensure there is consistent brand marketing on all of the organisation’s social media platforms. In this case, you want the message to be clear and avoid issuing conflicting messages on different platforms.
Improve security for data handling and dissemination. A social media policy brings a clear account of all users of the organisation’s media platforms and all personnel with authorised entry to use the account.
Maintain good public relations (PR) demeanour. The likelihood of a tainting the good public perception from bungled social media communication is less for an organisation with a clear and sound social media policy.
It is easy to take corrective action in case of a PR crisis or when the account security is compromised. A social media policy outlines the required course of action and assign the task to the appointed personnel.
A social media policy apportions corporate responsibility to individual employees, letting them know they can cause a significant impact on the organisation’s operations from irresponsible use of personal social media accounts.
Considerations When Preparing a Social Media Policy
The following are the important consideration to be made when one is preparing an effective social media policy for use.
It is important to determine the appropriate rank of importance of the policy in the administrative structure of the organisation so that it draws maximum respect and recognition from the employee.
In the preparation of the ideal policy that is effective and legally accepted, kindly consult with other departmental head such as human resource, the marketing department and as well as the legal team.
It is important to officially introduce, present and promote the social media policy to the employees and therefore create a strong impression and awareness. At the same time, it is important to set in advance timeline and duration when the policy will be ripe for review.
How to Launch a Social Media Policy
We begin by identifying and recording all users and operators of the social media accounts in the organisation.
This recording tells us the daily and weekly tasks as apportioned between the personnel who run social media communication. At this point, it is good to note that the names and contact information of the social media team will assist potential clients of the organisation to reach out to the business with ease. Looking at businesses who are essentially running to support your social media platform such as Leapfrog Internet Marketing , they will give you scope in to what your business needs are in the marketing world.
Creation of Security Procedures
This section outlines the process to change user password and also assigns the task of password maintenance to the organisation’s employees. Additionally, in this section, the social media policy states how often software updates should be run and passwords to social media accounts changed.
This section also provides a list of devices that are allowed to be used to access social media platforms.
Develop a Reaction Structure for Social Media / PR Crisis.
In as much as the main goal of the social media, the policy is to avert a PR or a media crisis, a sound policy should provide a recourse action to be pursued in the event such a crisis occurs. This recourse plan should provide the names of the emergency response team and clearly outline their roles in this agenda.
The team could include the marketing agencies, legal advisors and representatives of the top management.
The legal aspects to be considered by the social media policy seek to protect the privacy concerns and protection of copyrights of the organisation.
To support the effectiveness of the policy to guard organisational confidentiality, it is paramount all staff are given a clear outline of expectations on how to run communication on the social media platforms.
To avoid strained relationships now or in the future between the employer and the employee, the employer can request the employee to use disclaimers on their posts to differentiate their own opinions from those of the organisation.