Key Components of a Good Social Media Policy
Not all social media policies are the same, but there are components that should be addressed within any quality policy.
Social Media Objectives
A good social media policy will start off by defining what social media means to a company. It describes why it matters and what the key purpose is. Keep in mind, by defining what it is, that also designates what it is not. This is crucial to setting up the standards and rules outlined below.
Roles by Function or Department
Going one step deeper, this segments out the functions or departments that will use social media as part of their job. Again, omission of some groups will suggest that they are not authorized to participate on behalf of the brand.
Social Media User Architecture
Similar to a website architecture for SEO, this piece defines hierarchies. For larger companies, there may be many levels of hierarchy – the company brand, the business unit, the function, and then the individual. It is important to map out these links between individuals, groups, and the company HR structure.
This is where social media for business and for personal use will often overlap. “Joe smith at World Domination, Inc.” should not be posed as an alternate persona of the individual. This goes against the very spirit of transparency, which is a must in social networking.
Governance: Rules and Standards
A good social media policy will provide specific direction on the do’s and don’t’s. These rules and standards should be clearly mapped out against roles and user architecture. Some groups may not be able to talk about certain topics (e.g. financial performance or customer projects). Some topics may be limited to only users in the upper tiers of the architecture. These details must all be mapped out en masse, and in advance.
Social Media Mentoring and Training
It is not enough to compose a social media policy and tell everyone to read it. Pick someone to be the lead for composing the social media policy and internal education. Once the document is completed, that lead will evangelize the value of the policy, and then train all of the various groups on the details.
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