Social Media Policy: How To Get Started, And Why Your Organization Should Get it In Writing

Has your organization developed a written social media policy? Do you know where to begin, or why it’s important in the first place?

A few months ago, when the Kenosha Area Business Alliance asked me to develop one, I at least knew where to start: Google, of course.

I typed “social media policy” into the search engine and within moments, came upon resource-rich sites like Social Media Governance.

There you’ll find a bevy of templates from which to draw inspiration and adapt–in your own voice, in your own words and tailored to your organization’s communications objectives.

Last week, after working through some drafts and gathering feedback along the way, I posted KABA’s Social Media Policy in a logical spot: its Facebook page.

There are many reasons why it makes sense to develop a social media policy. As I consider Inside Edge PR’s experience in providing social-media service to clients over the past few years, here are three benefits of creating a policy for navigating in this rapidly expanding terrain:

1. It compels you to think through the reasons why you are on social media in the first place–and thereby develop a focused approach to the process.

All too often, and admittedly in my own experience, social-media activities have been helter-skelter. More than a few times, I’ve posted something for the sake of making sure observers and prospects knew that the administrator (me) hadn’t been abducted by Martians.

With a social media policy, you will set parameters of what you wish to communicate and any ground rules relating to how or what administrators and visitors/fans ought to communicate.

2. It offers another platform to articulate your organization’s distinctive mission, employing your distinctive voice and creating an opportunity to forge a deeper connection with your audience.

Seize this kind of moment to express your organization’s culture, especially via humor.

One that I highly recommend you check out: Kodak’s 16-page `Social Media Tips: Sharing Lessons Learned to Help Your Business Grow.’

3. It explains, in clear terms, why you take certain steps to respond to, remove or otherwise regulate content that appears in your social media space.

In other words: beware and begone, spammers and saboteurs!

Having a social media policy in place last summer would’ve helped expedite some action I took for Tom & Eddie’s on its Facebook page.

Some individuals associated with at least one other area restaurant, obviously feeling threatened by the new rival, were making bogus attacks about Tom & Eddie’s service and food.

After internal discussions about how to respond, I removed the remarks within 24 hours. With a social media policy in place, it would’ve taken all of 24 seconds.

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