What to include in Social Media Guidelines

what to include in social media guidelines
Developing a set of social media guidelines is a great way of managing your company’s social media activity, especially as your social media community grows, or  you have delegated the role of social media to another employee within the business.

A good set of guidelines will provide your business, and those responsible for managing social media, direction on how to publish and manage content, as well as how to respond to consumers. Not only that, guidelines will make sure your social media activity acts in a professional manner consistent with the objectives and aims of your business. Most importantly, guidelines can help minimise a crisis, mishaps or mistakes that may happen in social media.

Social media guidelines can be tailored to suit your business and audience, however there are a number of ‘rules’ that should be standard.

Here are 13 standard ‘rules’ to help your business nail posting and responding on social media:

  1. Think before you post or tweet. If you’re about to publish something that makes you or potentially your customer even the slightest bit uncomfortable, don’t shrug it off and hit ‘send.’
  2. If angered, upset or unsettled by a tweet or Facebook comment, do not follow with a knee-jerk reaction post. Walk away and consider the response.
  3. Never post or tweet whilst under the influence of alcohol, medication or illegal drugs. Ever.
  4. Always consider what an ‘extra pair of eyes’ on your tweet or post would think or say.
  5. Never abandon key principles of fact checking, objectivity, and exercising proper judgment. Your digital footprint can be deleted on its face, but may forever be accessible via other means (e.g. screen shot).
  6. Use appropriate language – obscene or highly derogatory language must not be used.
  7. Attribute where possible, including images, and correct posts if need be. If you make a mistake, admit it.
  8. Be upfront and be quick with your correction. If you’re posting to a blog, you may choose to modify an earlier post—just make it clear that you have done so.
  9. Do not write negative comments about our competitors, customers or business partners, or anyone who works for them, as this could result in legal action being taken against your business.
  10. There are antagonistic operators online whose prime objective is to create hostile discussion or argument. The best reaction to ‘trolling’ is no reaction.
  11. Thank your audience for any positive posts or feedback they put up onto social media.
  12. Deal with negativity quickly and professionally. Provide an opportunity for the person who posted or tweeted the negative comment to message you privately.  Check out our 3D approach to handling negativity on Facebook here.
  13. Think about how you’d feel if your post became a news story in itself.

Do you have any other ‘rules’ to add to these guidelines?

About Zena Churchill

Zena Churchill is a Director at Max & Buddy Consulting. She has worked in senior level business roles across national and multinational corporations, as well as being a small business owner. Zena is a strategic thinker and brings a practical, straight-forward approach to marketing and social media. She has a passion for training & development running practical business workshops for small business. Zena is a Certified Practising Marketer (AMI), sometimes tutors in Marketing at the University of Wollongong and is a Senior Consultant with Trinity P3.

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