Social Media Guidelines Eight Simple Steps to Implement For Small and Medium Businesses Amber Peterson
When your company wants to start practicing social media, guidelines need to be established in order to have a successful online experience. Social media is about interacting and exchanging ideas with all previous, current and potential employees and customers. You better believe your competitor will be looking too. Guidelines are aimed to provide helpful and practical advice while protecting the contributors and the company. All contributors have to abide by the guidelines in order share in company social networking. Guidelines should constantly be evolving as new technology emerges and additionally social networks are added.
You Are Here To: LISTEN: Your company needs to listen to customers-find out what people are really saying about your company. Discover who the influencers are, once you do that, you can encourage them to get involved with your network. CONTRIBUTE: Once you have listened to the conversation it is time to contribute to the conversation. This is a scary process to most, but a rewarding one if done right. “ If you learn to talk, listen, and respond, you’ll master the middle of the funnel.” -Groundswell
If You Choose to Participate Keep these in mind:
Provide unique insight and personal perspective on what is said
Reply quickly if suitable
Remember, everyone has an opinion, if you do not agree with someone’s, be polite
It is highly encouraged to use your real name, identify your company, and state your role or position. Your honesty-or dishonesty-will be immediately noticed in the social media environment. With that said, transparency does not mean you need to spell out everything about the company you work for.
“ Once they seem to be getting it, how difficult is it to let them know that it is okay to be human, without giving away the store, another way of saying that would be that you don’t need to divulge company secrets to let people know what is going on within the company.” -Michael Bailey, President, Mobasoft LLC
What you add to the company’s network is ultimately your responsibility
Know and follow your company’s code of conduct
It is your responsibility to be accurate, current and complete with all information submitted
If you make a mistake, always be the first to admit it
If you update or modify anything, let people know
Conversational You are engaging in an online conversation, talk to people as you would in a professional setting. With that said, do use jargon and business talk, speak in human terms so everything can participate in the conversation. Do not use street slang; use accurate grammar and complete sentences. Be consistent with your writing. Do show your personality by writing in the first person. Keep the post open-ended so it encourages people to respond.
Give Credit, Take Credit Respect all trademark, brand, copyright, fair use, financial disclosure and confidentiality, if you use material owned by other people properly give reference. If you publish a blog or any other form of social media, use a disclaimer. Make it clear that those are your views and opinions. You could say something along the lines: "The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent (Your company) positions, strategies or opinions."
Respect Do not be afraid to be yourself, but be respectful in doing so. This not only includes the obvious: racial, gender, age, obscenity, status, etc., but also privacy: religion and politics. When it comes to competitors, do not defame them in any matter, if you have a disagreement, say it without insulting. If a competitor has said something to defame your company, do not lash back, stick to the facts and be honest and polite. Try to avoid unnecessary arguments, be the bigger person and ignore comments that affect you.
Value, Interests and Excitement Your company is a brand, and everything you published reflects that brand. With that said, there are so many blogs in the social media environment, how are you going to contribute to make your “brand” stick out? Make it innovative and thought provoking, share the exciting things that your company is doing and learning. This social communication should help co-workers, customers, stockholders, and the general public. The communication should about the company at best and what can be done to improve and satisfy.
If You Pause There are always consequences to anything you publish. If you hesitate before you hit the submit button, review what you have said and make sure it abides by the guidelines. If you are still unsure, share it with your manager or co-workers they are willing to help. Just make sure that what you submit is something you want your name attached to. Remember, transparency.
Just Say No to Spam Stay clear of any sort of spam in your postings, especially spam that might correlate with the company. If you promote the company in any matter, do not make it into spam. No one likes it, not even you. Spam could ruin your social media presence and put a bad name on your company. Be transparent always.
RECAP: If You Follow These Eight Steps, You Will Succeed -Transparency but Judicious -Responsibility -Conversational -Give Credit, Take Credit -Respect -Value, Interests and Excitement -If You Pause -Just Say No to Spam