How To Write A Social Media Policy

Hey, what’s in your organization’s social media policy?

If your initial response is “We don’t have a policy. Wait, is that a thing we need to do?” then you’re in the right place. Crafting a social media policy is an effective way to keep your organization’s social media team on the same page. The policy provides a clear and consistent approach to dealing with negative comments, as well as a guide regarding how often to check social media pages, the type of content that will typically be shared via each social media channel, when passwords should be changed, and other aspects of social media that can be pushed aside.

There’s so much more to maintaining your organization’s social media pages than simply sharing links or fun pages, and a social media policy will provide a focus for your endeavors. The policy is also an essential how-to guide that can reap rewards for everyone. You can create your organization’s policy using these tips as a launching pad.

How To Write A Social Media Policy

Don’t put off on writing a social media policy for your organization.

Define The Social Media Team For Your Organization

Your organization’s social media policy should include a list of who is considered part of the social media team. This actually isn’t as cut-and-dry as you might initially think, as the social media duties could be shared with the social media coordinator as well as members of the public relations, communications, or marketing departments (or even all three!). Your organization’s social media team could also include mid- or upper-level management. Defining who is part of the team, as well as their specific roles and duties as they pertain to social media, can be part of your policy. While you’re at it, make sure all members of the team have access to the relevant passwords.

Outline Expectations For Social Media Responses

How often will someone from your social media team check comments on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and so on? Writing out the expectations can make it clear to all who are involved regarding the frequency of posting comments. In addition, you should define what fits under the scope of social media. Does your company’s blog fit here, too? This part of the policy can also expand to include steps on checking social media during off hours, including after work on weekdays, weekends, and major holidays. Keep in mind that your idea of how often to check social media may not be aligned at all with your teammate’s idea.

Create A Chain Of Command

Does anyone need to approve a social media post before it goes live? A chain of command can outline who needs to approve a post, paving the way for smoother sailing for everyone. The chain of command can also include a list of people in your organization who can best answer readers’ questions regarding specific products or services.

Know How To Respond To Criticism

Oh, no! Someone just wrote a scathing response to your company’s newest product offering. What do you do? With a social media policy in place, everyone on your team can write a response that is consistent and in keeping with your company’s overall image. It doesn’t help things at all if Sally writes a lengthy and thoughtful comment that addresses the reader’s concerns, while Pat responds to readers in a way that could almost be considered scathing. Writing a social media response doesn’t have to be time-consuming, but having a few draft responses that can be personalized with ease is an essential component of your social media policy.

Write A Content Guide For Social Media Platforms

The type of content you will share via Facebook won’t be quite the same type of content that you share via Twitter, which won’t be the type of content you might share via LinkedIn, and so on and so forth. Your policy doesn’t have to go into exhaustive detail regarding what you should share via each platform, but it can be helpful to include posting frequency, successful hashtags, and type of content that wins readers over every time.

Don’t forget to include a part on tone and language! Is your organization super playful and uses plenty of emojis, or is it a bit more reserved? No matter where your organization falls, creating a list of words that should (and shouldn’t) be used, as well as examples of the overall tone, can vastly improve your organization’s presence on social media. If you do nothing else regarding a policy, at least complete this step.

Changing Passwords, Expanding Scope, And More

Now it’s time for the nitty-gritty details of creating a policy. You should plan to update the social media policy at least once per year, and should also revisit the policy every time you add a new platform to the mix. The policy can also include passwords (or at least where to access the passwords) for each platform, as well as a quick step-by-step guide on how to expand your social media horizons.

This section of the policy can also include ideas on who can be tagged within a post, the types of pictures that can be shared, and even the types of organizations that can be followed via each account. For example, the social media accounts for a single-location pizza restaurant in Denver may want to follow local areas of interest and perhaps the chamber of commerce; following the social media accounts of a random city in California might appear a bit strange.

Seek Approval Of The Social Media Policy

Whew! Now it’s the moment you’ve been waiting for: seeking approval of the social media policy. A government organization may need to approve the policy at an upcoming open meeting, while a smaller private company can likely discuss it via email or chat. The point is, you’ll want everyone to agree to the policy and to amend it where it is necessary. Getting the policy approved will also make it clear to all stakeholders of the expectations going forward, and that everyone will need to modify their approach to writing responses and so on.

The point of the policy is to encourage you and your team to consider how and why social media is utilized on a daily basis. After your policy is approved, it’s ready to put it in motion with the rest of your team. Your policy is a dynamic guide that can help your team respond to reader inquiries in a timely manner while maintaining a consistent tone.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s