This is a question that comes up quite a bit. Here’s how I answer the question…with more questions:
Social media policies can take different forms and the 2 major pieces to consider are:
In terms of policies that speak to social media usage by those who represent the brand, there are many considerations; I have worked on policies for large companies that designate specifics like how an About statement should be set up on each social network, who is responsible for responding to comments and within what timeframe. There are also triage charts complete with if/then flowcharts for both positive and negative comments. Typically, these policies need to be reviewed by the Legal team, as well as Human Resources, and involve various stakeholders.
What about policies for smaller organizations that don’t necessarily want to apply so many constraints? There are many examples of these – most of them publicly available - and here are some questions that will help you determine what will work best for your organization. Think about these questions as the start of a needs assessment and really consider all of the potential situations that could arise – or already have:
While it may seem limiting to have a formal policy, I would argue that it brings legitimacy to your efforts, as well as a sense of commitment to doing things correctly and consistently. It’s also a way to show your key stakeholders that you are prepared – for the good and the bad. A good social media policy is also constantly evolving; what may work today will probably need some adjustments next year. If that happens, it means that you’ve made progress and that your company is embracing social media.
Do you have a great social media policy that you want to share or have you seen a good example of one? Please share it!
Renay M. Picard
The Take Root Marketing Blog is intended as a vehicle to assist and engage with marketers and social media addicts like myself - please share your thoughts, good, bad or otherwise. I'd love to hear from you!