When did you last review and refresh your organisation’s social media policy? Here's a free download if you're in need of a new one.
by Darren Caveney
If you have reviewed and refreshed your social media policy within the past 12 months then a gold star for you.
If it was a little longer ago, an age ago or, worse still there is no organisational policy, then help is at hand.
During the 16 organisational social media reviews I have delivered I’ve been fortunate to see plenty of social media policies and guidelines. Many have been great and absolutely right for their particular organisation. The tone and content in a policy really can shape the performance and outcomes of social media across an organisation so it’s an important document.
A social media policy is something which you need to have and it should be promoted far and wide to all staff and partners. Better still put it on the social media directory of your external website and include it in staff inductions so that all new staff are clear on your policy.
I have written a few policies of my own over the years and so with a head rammed full of ideas and knowledge on this I thought it might be useful to create and share with the comms2point0.co.uk community a free download. Totally free, no catches.
What are the key characteristics of a great social media policy?
This is vital. It should absolutely challenge the rationale and business case for new accounts, for example, but the general approach should be one which embraces and encourages social media as an important set of engagement channels.
Yes you can mix strong governance with an encouraging approach. If fact I would argue that it's an essential mix. And one without the other means you'll never get the most from your policy.
Monitoring and evaluation are compulsory
Yes. Whether you have a paid for management platform or not it’s vital that all social accounts are monitored daily and evaluated weekly or monthly.
Passwords - hand them over
It’s a concern that central comms teams don’t hold all of the passwords for every organisational account. If that’s you, refreshing and promoting your social media policy internally to your staff is a good opportunity to rectify this. It’s a risk not to. The biggest lesson I learned on risk management training applies perfectly here:
“the best way of managing the risk is to remove the risk’.
So put passwords at the top of your ‘to do’ list.
Don't reinvent the wheel
Your org will almost certainly have good, clear HR policies for when staff stray and do daft things. Your social media policy should point to these existing HR guidelines and not try to rewrite them. Social is just the same as email, telephone, face to face - if you act inappropriately you could face disciplinary action. The only difference on social is the greater danger of your action being magnified and shared far and wide.
New accounts- Yes you can/no you can't
When asked if a service can set up a new social media account it’s important to start out with asking for them for the business case: why isn't an existing and established account the best way to share this content, spark engagement and encourage a tangible return?
There should be an open door mind set to new accounts IF the case stacks up.
Who has the final say on new accounts?
Simple – the head of comms/comms lead. There is no one better placed in the organisation to make the call.
Feel free to tailor it or top and tail of for your own internal use.
I hope it helps - let me know how you get on.
And shout if you need any more help with social media strategy, reviews and policies at firstname.lastname@example.org
Darren Caveney is creator of comms2point0 and owner of creative communicators ltd