Social Media Policy Guidelines for Social Media Management
A formal written social media policy is a roadmap, or guide, to an organization’s social media channels. Written policies can be many pages long, however, within these pages, you’ll convey a sense of ground rules to controlling your social brand image outside of your organization.
Clearly communicated, a well written social media policy is an effective tool and gives a solid foundation for well-run social media management. Whatever process you choose to create a social media policy, keep in mind that you will identify key processes and brand positioning unique to your organization, and streamline the traditional methods of managing your social profile profiles & page posting by starting with a well developed policy. A generic plan just won’t do.
Organizations that have not considered a consolidated social media policy may have editing, posting, and customer engagement dispersed over numerous departments and/or individuals both inside and outside the organization. The consequences may be that the organization may lose brand positioning, lose control over reputation, have incongruent communication and relaxed enforcement of the social media policy, as well as a lack of documentation or reporting.
What’s inside a Social Media Policy?
The underlying foundation of every social media management plan is a formal, well written official social media policy. This is a guideline that will give your employees a roadmap for the effective management of page posting and profile creations. The contents of a policy must be clear, concise, and specific. Usually, a policy will include these categories:
- Social Media Channel Compliance
- Page Post Engagement Compliance
- Messaging Compliance
- Customer Service Guidelines
- Posting Methods for Public Relations
- Brand Positioning
Vital topics also include creative content such as video compliance, article link guidelines, posting procedure, communication, and documentation.
Setting up Social Media Channels
There are many challenges when setting up social media channels through a number of different resources. Consolidating social media management becomes difficult. Content must be collected from several sources, and consolidated in order to obtain a clear overall picture of an organization’s brand messaging in conjunction with and in compliance to a Social Media Policy. We recommend utilizing one strong source for most of your social media needs, with an alternative sources available at any given time.
Companies that spend more on digital media are more likely to have a dedicated person within the company perform these duties. A social media manager will manage the budget, lead posting efforts with content providers, and monitor brand messaging compliance. A written social media policy will help the social media manager enforce compliance to the written social media policy.
Components of a Social Media Policy
Maintaining a social media policy is an on-going effort. This is a living document open to change as the company grows and digital platforms evolve. Developing policy, directing effective sales communication, and specific customer relations requires a company to ask themselves many questions:
What is your Company Philosophy?
How does your company balance employee productivity with effective public relations, in regards to social media?
How comprehensive is your Policy?
Does your policy cover and provide guidelines for every component of your current social media needs?
How will you communicate your Policy?
Once you have a written policy, how will you communicate that to employees, as well as the outside representatives, such as advertising agencies or public relations firms you use for social media management?
Monitoring your Company Social Media Policy
How will your company keep track of the brand messaging and quantify the digital content efforts that effect your costs?
Enforcing your Company Social Media Policy
Are there tools in place to effectively manage to compliance of the social media policy once it’s in place? A social media manager should constantly be looking for new content and technology to enhance the digital media management process.
Creating a Social Media Company Policy Guide
The management of Social Media channels is now accepted as an organization’s “cost of doing business.” However, in most growing companies, social media expenses were considered “hidden costs” merely because it was an “free advertising & promotions” category that often escaped senior management’s attention. These days, every data point counts. Social Media is one of the largest controllable efforts for most companies.
Communicating your Social Media Policy
Owners, Employees, and advertising agencies that are involved in the social media management process should be informed of the company social policy and it’s governing guidelines. With technology advances today, some companies are posting their social media policies on the company website, or internal employee intranet, as a way to keep updates in view. Sending hardcopy or digital copies of a written policy with confirmation insures employee and agency communication.
In order to remain effective, a social media policy must be monitored for compliance and budget demands. The meticulous tracking of of content publishing practices, posting methods, and the requirement of thorough brand management give the social media manager the right tools for auditing compliance.
Enforcing your Social Media Policy
As social media becomes increasingly recognized as a cost center, linking your marketing department to sales or customer service becomes a best practice. Best practices, such as hiring a professional social media management service, empower the company to focus on managing their own business at hand without the risk of damaged reputations and faulty customer engagement.
At Taxi Digital Marketing, we offer complete Social Media Policy guidelines from the most basic to complex written documents for corporate social media management.