Build a Social Media Policy

Do you need to build a social media policy for your business?

Recently, I prepared a presentation for an organization on creating a social media policy. What I found was that most of the relevant information was from 2009-2011. That is how long it has been since social media policies have been important to have for your business.

So let’s take a look at the key components and a few resources to help you create a social media policy for your company.

Why do you need a policy?social media policy

A social media policy outlines what is or isn’t allowed for your employees. You have other policies and procedures that provide corporate guidelines. The social media policy provides the guidelines for how your employees will communicate with the world. A policy will set boundaries and provide a baseline for now. It can be changed as issues emerge.

Because your social media will portray your company culture and your brand, you want to ensure that whatever is presented on social media platforms is going to represent your company and carry your message out to the customers AND competitors in your industry. You also want to ensure that social media will fulfill your company objectives about how you will secure leads and generate sales.

How to develop your social media policy

  1. Decide who will help you create it – will you create by committee? Will HR create it? Will IT or Operations create it? Ultimately, whatever you create should be approved by your corporate attorney to ensure that you are not violating any rules.
  2. Select the aspects that need to be represented in your policy – what channels, who can have access, and possibly perform a SWOT analysis of your company’s use of social media.
  3. Be specific about the Can’s, Can’ts and Should’s. If they are not allowed to talk about new products until a specific department releases the news, spell it out.
  4. Consider the following points:
    1. Who can use social media in company on behalf of the company
    2. When can they use social media – on company time or on personal time.
    3. Who approves what is posted on social media – specific departments, the IT department, HR department, the CIO, the marketing department
    4. How will the employee represent themselves – is the employee “on” 24/7, when they are representing the company does their “handle” include a portion of your company name, like @deetime2mrkt. It is always best to maintain a professional representation of yourself on any social or on-line communication outlet.The Internet Remembers
    5. What ethical standards will be followed by the employee – are they already in place for the company? If so, the social media policy should remain consistent with your ethics policy.
    6. Who/how will you manage brand consistency – will you provide training? will each department ensure compliance? Is someone monitoring on a daily, weekly, monthly basis?
    7. Will you use disclaimers? If an employee is required, if someone posts a comment that is not congruent with the company stance, you may not be held liable for those comments.

Consider these items for inclusion in your policy, as long as you define what they mean:

  • Resist the urge to lash out in public. Take it off-line.
  • Respect proprietary information.
  • Know internal policies before posting.
  • Be timely, but pause and re-read before replying.
  • Use common sense.
  • Play nice

Can you fire someone for complaining about the job on social media?

The answer depends upon what they are doing. This USAToday article explains some of the rulings from the National Labor Relations Board. Here are a few of the highlights from the article.

  • It is illegal for an employee to be fired for a post about working conditions, whether it’s pay, hours, assignments, difficult supervisors, dress code, or any other issue. 
  • Posts that damage a company, disparage its products or services or reveal trade secrets or financial information are actionable. But if they include criticism of related working conditions, they might not be.
  • Posts cannot encourage others to be insubordinate i.e. work slow downs.
  • Griping or insults by one person with no connection to working conditions are NOT protected. You cannot “dis” your boss’ appearance or speech.

The Answer

  • Create a social media policy, including examples, spelling out what employees can and cannot post.
  • Review your policy with an HR specialist or attorney to ensure it is not violating any laws.
  • If you are not sure whether a post is actionable, check before you act!

Would you like to review some examples of policies before you write yours? Here is a link that has about 240 company policies that you can read. http://socialmediagovernance.com/policies/

Would you like a great starting point? This tool provides a social media policy creating wizard http://socialmedia.policytool.net/welcome/wizard

As always, if I can be of assistance to you in your social media needs, please contact me!

Here are other resources and links to social media policies that I used as research for this article:

Please follow and like us:

Is your Heart into Social Media?

Your brain may be, but is your Heart into Social Media?put your heart into social media

With Valentines Day fast approaching, I thought I would ask the question. So many of us understand the value of social media, but as we run our businesses, we may forget the importance of it.

So often, myself included, will put off writing that blog post, scheduling some posts, or sharing the image of an event where I am.

In our heads we know the facts and figures about using social media. We may know which platforms our customers use the most. We may focus on one platform over the other. But, are you doing it because you were told you should, or have you felt the benefit with your heart? Every once in awhile, I will run into someone that says, I read your post on…It makes me feel like everything that I have been doing is paying off. It makes my heart go pitter-pat.

How can you put your brain and your heart into social media?

Try the old stand-by habit building trick of posting something for 21 days. Make the effort to actually go to one of the platforms that you use for your business, find some content or create content to share. Do that for 21 days. Remember to ask questions and try to engage your audience. Do you need to boost a post on Facebook to gain some reaction? Maybe! Try it for a day or three to see if you earn better engagement.

You don’t need to spend hours each day, but try spending 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes at lunch, and then 10 minutes in the early evening. Those tend to be the times when most people are taking a look at their social channels.

Remember, it doesn’t take much to build a habit. Engage your brain into social media and I bet your heart will follow!

Please follow and like us:

B2B vs B2C – Pinterest

B2B vs B2C – Pinterest

Next in our conversation about what are the best platforms for B2B vs B2C – Pinterest.B2BvsB2Cpinterest

Now many of you may think that this is just an image site like the ones that we discussed in the last article on images, but I feel like Pinterest requires and /or deserves it’s own article.

When I was young, I had a cork board in my bedroom that was painted an obnoxious loud blue color that I would never use today! I pinned up buttons that I gathered and pictures of things that I wanted or liked. This today is called Pinterest.

Pinterest is classified as a visual bookmarking site. Early in it’s infancy (2010) users had to be invited to participate. Over time they allowed brands to develop a brand identity instead of having to create a “personal” profile for your business. Many equate Pinterest to women as fantasy football is to men. 21% of Pinterest users purchased a product after seeing a picture on Pinterest. So how can this be used for your business?

B2B

This will depend upon the product that you sell whether or not it product placement is beneficial for you on Pinterest. What does work phenomenally well on Pinterest are infographics. Create one that represents your industry statistics, processes that you have developed, or other industry related information. The visual aspect will help readers more easily digest the content. Link images from your product webpages. This will take viewers back to your website to get all of the details. Pin images that you have included in blog articles to drive viewers back to your thought leadership articles.

B2C

Pinterest is especially useful for companies who sell products to women, but can be just as useful for products geared towards men, since most women do the “shopping”. Include a price in the description and pin the image to your board from your website or sales site and they can click your image to be able to buy the item on your website. The platform is great for crafters, builders, designers, vendors in the wedding industry, food establishments and clothing outlets. Because of the “board” concept your pins can reflect your company’s work as well as ideas you are gathering.

In my humble opinion, there is a slight edge here for the B2C business.

Why | Blogs | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Video
Google | Image | Pinterest | Location Sites | E-news

Please follow and like us: