Friday, November 16, 2012

Do You Have a Social Media Policy for Your Business?



There are two types of social media policies: one that dictates employees’ behavior and one that provides guidelines for the social media person or team that is posting on behalf of or as the company. This post is about the latter.
First, why is it important to have a social media policy? A social media policy should not be created to restrict your social media team from certain activities, but rather to provide guidance in situations that cannot be foreseen. If you don’t trust your social media person or team, then why are they handling your social media?
Every good social media marketer should be aware of the company’s voice and strive to cultivate an online personality for it using the company’s brand guidelines. A great example of this is the interaction between @Oreo and @AMCTheatres on Twitter, two powerhouse brands that obviously have great social media policies. The witty and fun repertoire that recently occurred between the accounts played out in a humorous discourse that was retweeted hundreds of times. AdWeek even called it “one of the best Twitter replies ever.” The digital marketing manager for AMC Theatres, Shane Adams, wrote about this exchange on his blog and gave some important reasons why social media policies should be flexible enough to allow the team not just to post, but to respond:

  1. Trust – Yes, the point was made above that if you don’t trust the person(s) in charge of social media, don’t give them the keys to your kingdom. However, it is also important to note that giving trust also empowers your employees: “That ownership in what we do better equips myself and my colleagues to do amazing things,” says Adams.
  2. Brand Voice – while you may not work for a brand that’s as “fun” as movies or cookies, understand your brand’s voice and knowing what is and is not acceptable goes a long way toward cultivating that trust.
  3. Autonomy – Shane and his team at AMC Theatres and the social media team at Oreo would not have been able to respond as quickly and cleverly as they did if they did not have at least some autonomy to make decisions and embrace opportunities.

As Shane puts it, GAME ON.
Does your company have a social media policy in place? What else do you think is important to help guide your team?

3 comments:

Shiful Alam said...

This article will surely create a new space for thinking. I think most of us have no social media policy. Actually, We are not aware of it.

The social media person or team must have a authority to take spontaneous decision. Also they must be trustworthy.

Thanks for great stuff!

Runaway Fox said...

Social media can be a positive force for your business. You can use different social media sites for your marketing, thereby utilizing free avenues to let the public know what you want it to know about your products or services. You can make special offers for your products through sites like Groupon or Yelp or your website or Facebook page. You can monitor tweets about your business made by happy or angry customers and quickly respond, turning an angry customer into a satisfied one and a happy customer into a raving fan.

However, you don't want your employees to tweet about how unhappy they are with their supervisor. Or post information on Facebook about products that are in a testing stage. And you don't want employees spending hours looking at YouTube and then sending emails about a great video they saw to everyone they know. To avoid all of these issues, you should have some policies in place that your employees must follow about their use of social media. You want to make sure that they are not saying anything slanderous about your company on any social media site. You want to ensure that no one violates a copyright or trademark by publishing an image that they have no right to use. You want to make sure that your employees do not post any confidential information. And you want no one to follow all FTC guidelines that require disclosure of relationships when your company endorses another company's service or product.


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Jamie Maloney said...

Great comments! You almost need two social media policies - one for your company's social media accounts and one for your employees so you don't lose productivity. Thanks for your insights.