Each business is responsible for what is posted online through any Social Media platforms. Since online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Blogs are forms of engaging with a worldwide audience, many businesses have had the misfortune of having to deal with some cases of bad engagement so to speak because they were not prepared.
When policies are set up, you have ensured that all measures are in place to protect your business in the event of discrepancies. The same way an owner has policies in place to run his/her business, Social Media policies should be taken seriously especially when someone else is tasked to handle the Social Media platforms.
In order to set up effective policies for your business, it is a good idea to start with answering five key questions about your business. These questions can only be answered by you to fit your business’ needs; you can use the guide below to get you started.
Before you write down your Social Media policies, make sure you define Social Media clearly so that you will avoid confusion about what exactly the policy is referring to. Make sure you don’t confuse guidelines with policies. Policies are more concrete and precise in detail.
Goals and strategies are to be clearly documented to ensure that everyone is on the same page with why the company is using Social Media. Make sure you identify each Social Media platform when creating the policies for your business. If you create a new account, make sure the information about the new account is added to the policies. Another important factor is the disclosure of the persons using Social Media accounts. They need to be identified in the policy document and it is recommended that they add their initials after each entry they have posted online. This process to initial entries is a personal preference in what you decide works for your business. However, as a general rule, the more people using the Social Media platforms, the better it is to have everyone identified to ensure that accurate information is posted. It is imperative to hold for responsibility and accountability in the event inappropriate information is posted online.
Log in information is to be disclosed to the people that are using Social Media only. Consider confidentiality when creating the policies for your business and don’t forget to address the consequences should the policies not be followed.
Make sure that Social Media policies are included in your employee handbook to be accessible existing employees and any new employees. Additionally, if you are guided by a board or you have a lawyer, make sure you send your final draft to them to ensure that you are not liable in any way.
You can use this guide to help you set up your policies for Social Media in your company.
- Who? This area describes who will be the person/s in charge of Social Media. Is there going to be one person in charge or many? Are they required to add their initials after each post? Should they have their own Social Media accounts, is it ethical to add information pertaining to your business on their accounts?
- What? This area describes what will be posted on each Social Media platform. Each business has its own message to communicate to the people who connect with it online. As a suggestion, it will probably be best to post/share information pertaining to the business’s niche and the information you are most familiar with. As an example, if your interests are business, sports and politics make sure you add information that is relevant to those topics. Make sure you have a Blog to add a link to your followers explaining your interests. Also, keep in mind to share other people’s links as it shows endorsement and support, in return, they will do the same for you. As a general rule, think of the 20/80 formula: 20% your links/ information and 80% other people’s links/information.
- When? This area describes when posts will be added to each Social Media platform. Find the time that works best for you, however as a Social Media rule the best time to post online will be morning, lunch time and after working hours. Generally, that’s when most traffic is present, therefore giving you the opportunity to create a larger following online.
- Where? This area describes where posts will be added from, the location, to each Social Media platform. Are the posts going to be done in the office, from an employee’s home office, coffee shops? If you are a business having to consider the safety of your clients, like a shelter for example, clearly specify in the policy if you want to disclose the location of where the postings are done from. Every business varies. It is a good idea to consider what works best for your business.
- Why? This area describes why (what is the reason behind) we post to each Social Media platform. This is a good question to answer while thinking of the goals behind using Social Media for your business. Are you going to spread the word about a promotional offer? Is there a fundraising initiative you are implementing? Whatever your goals are, make sure you include them in the Social Media policies. Make things clear so that employees know what they can and cannot do without having to ask you questions about what to post and why.
Please make sure to include information pertaining to your business in your Social Media policies. The information here is only a guideline to help you get started. If you require further help with setting up your Social Media Policies for your business please contact us today.