So Social! How to Craft Your Social Media Policy
Can you hear them?
They talk about us
Well, that's no surprise
Can you see them?
See right through them?
They have no shield
No secrets to reveal
It doesn't matter what they say
In the jealous games people play
Our lips are sealed
When I started Auntie Loo’s in the early 2000s, there was no real social media. I had a listing on Punkottawa.com, the legendary go to source at the time for local show listings, community goings on and delicious scene gossip. A few years after that, Auntie Loo had its own MySpace. By the time Facebook rolled in full force, I had employees who also helped admin and monitor the page. I never dreamed of asking them to sign a legal document for this, much less have a strategy. I trusted them with my business and image. I now realize how lucky I am that I was never burned.
Here are a few situations that could have been avoided with a social media policy- all real stories:
-The restaurant employee who took it upon himself to go to his employers Facebook page, and personally reply to each negative review, mocking the clientele and using harsh language.
-The Cafe employee who had a co worker take a photo of her in the kitchen and posted it online, inadvertently releasing next months exclusive menu before it's time, which was written on a wipe board behind her.
-The bakery employee who was learning cake decor and made an absolute bomb of a cake and decided it would be funny to post it to the business’s Facebook page.
-The retail employee who was intoxicated and posted a series of inappropriate photos to his employers Instagram, not realizing it wasn't his personal one.
Much like trusting your employee with a key, handing them access to social media is a huge indication of trust. It is vital they are provided with a clear set of rules and expectations for online behaviours. I'm not saying to quash the individual- each employee's personality adds to the uniqueness and personality of the business.
However, a clear set of guidelines and goals for the businesses social media personality will create a clear unified message online. Vital for the operations well being and growth.
So let's get started. There's lots of great online templates you can google search and base yours off of. Adidas has the easiest to read most relatable and detailed one I've seen. Click here to see it. Elements of this plan I love are not commenting on a company related matter online unless you have been assigned to do so, considering the consequences of what you post, and lastly, using basic common sense.
From there, craft your online personality and outline it in a social media strategy plan. The strategy plan should contain:
-Use of language and ban of curse words. Will you use slang? Allow misspelling and casual language? (for example, ain’t and l8r)
-Will you share posts for other businesses in your community? Which ones? Or will you only post things about your business?
-Will you post photos of your employees? If so, ensure they have all signed a release.
-How many posts per day for your business? Do you have certain dates and times you will post? Outline in detail.
-Hashtags- how many? On the main post or in the first comment? What are your top 10 hashtags?
Will you post personal photos? (Example: staff BBQ, owner at dinner or on travelling). If so, with what frequency?
You now have the beginnings of your policy. Mix this with elements you like from templates online and you've created your own social media policy. Having a clear unified message for your staff to follow ensures you will always have your best foot forward online, and a consistent message- half the battle for your marketing.