Why You Need a Social Media Policy

December 24th 2013       Sally Ormond       social media and business, social media policy, using social media

A social media policy is essential if you are a business that uses social media to reach out to its customers.

Through the social networks you use, your customers can reach you instantly and everything they and you say on that platform happens in real time – once you’ve sent a tweet or written a Facebook update, thousands of people will see it. So, sending the wrong type of message could land you and your company in a lot of hot water.

Putting a social media policy in place will:

  • Help you avoid PR nightmares
  • Make sure all your employees know exactly what is expected of them
  • Help keep you and your company out of any legal hot water
  • Help you protect any sensitive or confidential information about your company and/or clients

What your social media policy should cover

Your policy should cover things like, how your company should deal with complaints and compliments, who should monitor the channels you use, how they should engage with other followers and what they can or can’t talk about.

But on top of that, it should also look at:

Purpose

Rather than focusing solely on what employees can’t do, tell them (even encourage them) what they should be doing and what the customer should get out of the experience of interacting with the with your company.

Responsibility

Your staff must understand that they have to take full responsibility for everything they write on social media. Their online voice is representative of the company, so they must realise that what they write can’t be a personal reaction, it must be considered as it will be seen as they company line.

Authentic

Make sure your staff include their name in their posts and updates (if possible, also the company name and their job title). People like to know who they are interacting with and it adds to the accountability factor.

Think about who you’re writing to

Your tweets and updates will be seen by past clients, present clients, future clients, past employees, future employees as well as the current management and staff. So make sure what you write doesn’t alienate any of them.

Good judgement

Think carefully before typing. Your opinion about something might offend, so if you’re not sure it’s probably best not to write it. They should also be aware that their activities will be monitored because what they say reflects on the company as well as the employee.

Protect confidentiality

Make sure all employees understand that it is paramount that they protect confidential information.

Add value

The way complaints are responded to can add value to your company and customers. If you are seen by others to respond quickly and effectively, you will do a lot to enhance your company’s reputation.

In the same way, when you spot people looking for a solution you offer or a product you sell, go straight in with a ‘hi, how can I help’ rather than ‘you can buy it here’ attitude. The sale is important, but how you get it is priceless.

 

Tags: social media and business, social media policy, using social media
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