Who is in charge of your businesses social media channels? Not a social media agency or in-house social media team? If that’s the case, your business needs to produce a social media policy for its employees.
Not only do your staff need to be aware of what they can post and say when logged into your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts etc but also what they can post about on their own personal profiles when not at work.
To help you out, we’ve put together a quick guide on what your policy should include to avoid any unnecessary problems…
First and foremost, your social media policy needs to explain who can and can’t interact on behalf of your company. If you have a few members of staff who have some training in social media, make sure it’s clear to everyone in your company, that they’re the only ones who should be posting content and engaging with customers on your Facebook and Twitter profiles etc.
Despite that, don’t feel like you have to provide a strict social media policy. It all depends on your business and its brand image, as well as how well you know your staff and if they can be trusted representing your organisation.
For example, if your estate agents has a member of staff who has been with you for years and understands the business inside out, it can be beneficial for you if they take over your Facebook page because you are not only empowering that employee, but also, that member of staff is likely to have valuable knowledge of the situation which will help resolve it.
On the flip side, you need to be very careful with who you trust. You don’t want a new over-passionate employee replying to a customer complaint defending your business and getting involved in a massive argument.
Once you’ve decided who you want to have access to your profiles, you need to set some ground rules…
– Provide detailed content guidelines including what tone of voice you want to put across, what imagery you want to use, how many posts a day and how all content needs to be on brand.
– Create standard responses so that your employees can reply to messages in all different types of situations. An idea is to get together and brainstorm all the common questions you receive and write answers for them i.e. what time do you open and close or on a Sunday or what time does your big event start on Friday etc. By doing so, it means not having to contact a senior member of staff and also, it means the customer gets an almost immediate response.
– Conflicts on the other hand should be dealt with by a senior member of staff. You don’t want a simple complaint to get out of hand because conflicts really can escalate quickly on social media. Make it clear in your social media policy that all problems should be sent to the member of staff in charge immediately. Of course, if your business has a specific social media team, they will be able to respond to the issues as they will have the correct training.
– Legal issues. Staff in charge of your social media should be made informed about legal issues involved. That could be anything from crediting original sources if borrowing content from elsewhere, to confidential information about the business.
– Safety and security. Those in charge of your social media channels need to be informed about potential hacking and phishing scams. That can include setting a secure password and avoiding any suspicious spam which could be malware.
– Most importantly of all, ensure that your staff are well aware that they are representing the organisation at all times. They need to keep on brand and know the business inside out to be able to provide the best possible social media coverage.
As well as setting guidelines for your business profiles, you need to outline basic expectations for your staff and their personal social media accounts.
They need to be made well aware what is sensitive information and what isn’t. For example, if your business has a product which includes a certain component that nobody else knows about, make sure they are not posting about it on their Facebook or Twitter profiles as it will almost certainly get picked up by a competitor and in one click, your unique selling point is lost.
Likewise, you don’t want them posting anything which could put your business or staff at risk. E.g. If they post an image on Twitter saying they’re working late and the image reveals that there is only one or two members of staff in the office, then it could lead to a potential theft.
Additionally, your business may be about to open a new branch in Wales. Your social media policy needs to make it clear that in no uncertain terms can your employees post about new product releases or announcements on their social media profiles. If they do, months and maybe even years of preparation could be destroyed.
So there you have it. Implement these guidelines into your social media policy and not only will your business continue to have a fantastic social media presence but it will help your business stay ahead of the competition.