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4 Tips for Creating a Great Social Media Policy

Most policies and procedures document what staff should do in certain situations. They essentially boil down to a list of “If this happens, do that.” Social media policies must be  different because social media is evolving and changing, almost daily, so there is no way to know exactly what situations may arise.

A well written social media policy will support, protect and empower high-quality engagement. It recognizes that each social media network and each relationship is unique. It focuses on the big picture, addressing roles and responsibilities, legal compliance and branding, and why we do it. It empowers staff and communicates trust in them to act in a way that brings value to the customer and to the company.

The importance of crafting a great social media policy for your company cannot be over stated. Poorly written social media policies create an environment of distrust that restricts and deadens engagement.

To help you craft a great social media policy for your organization, here are a few tips to guide your journey:

#1 Look at other policies to get ideas about what to include. You can find samples of policies on these two sites:

#2 Gather your team together to discuss ideas and issues. Members of this team would include your senior management, customer service personnel, and any staff that will be involved in social media interactions.

#3 Address legal ramifications including labor laws, liability issues, protecting intellectual property, and external regulations. Address issues that effect employees who use social media as part of their job, and separately, specifically address issues related to what all employees can and cannot share about the company online (i.e., they cannot disclose trade secrets). Be sure to have an attorney review your policy.

#4 Review your policy frequently. Do not allow it to gather dust. Social media is evolving rapidly so it is wise to review the policy at least every six months and address areas that are not working.

A well written social media policy can empower your employees to act as brand ambassadors while avoiding the pitfalls of doing something that causes harm to the company. It will help your company build engagement by empowering your staff to communicate on this powerful and evolving medium.

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