Avoiding Social Media Fallouts with Well-Crafted Guidelines

Angry Mean Face

Image by chexed via Flickr

How many times have you logged on to Facebook or Twitter and found some friend complaining about his work, client or employer?

Now imagine if you find out that this gripe was about your company and the friend who let out the offending status message or tweet was your employee?

Even if the gripe was not directed at you or your company, it could damage a client of yours.  And because it is fairly easy for people to share that particular post, take a screenshot and upload it to third party sites, and even for search engines to have a copy of the offending content, that gripe could easily become a reputation nightmare for your company.

Social media guidelines help you and your employees know the boundaries of what they could say about the company and your clients online.  It can also help your employees know how to behave.

Some reminders on how to formulate your social media guidelines:

1. Know your goals. Social media, it seems, is a part of every progressive company.  It helps disseminate information to people within and outside your organization, it helps with customer service, it helps to have people’s questions answered quickly.  Before you create guidelines for your social media usage, you should have these goals in mind.

2. Empower everyone to contribute. When formulating your policies, form a team that involves a cross section of employees, from the rank and file to the top executives, to those who man your official social media accounts.  Everyone in your company should be represented.  This would ensure that everyone is updated and involved in formulating policy.  Plus, it would make training others easier.

3. Allow for changes. While making sure that your social media guidelines fully outline the responsibilities and expectations you have for everyone involved, the policy itself should have room for growth and change.  This is because social media is a very dynamic area and the only way to keep on top of it is to be ready to embrace changes.

4. Put respect at the center of every action. This goes whether the employee posting is using the company’s social media sites or their own personal social media accounts.

5. Some typical provisions that others have included in their own guidelines:

• Check twice before pressing that submit button.  Check for profanity, discriminatory remarks, insults and anything you would not want your own mother to read.  When in doubt about a message, don’t post it.

• Politely disagree with somebody and politely respond when necessary.

• When posting something about the competitor, make sure that you have your facts checked and that you have obtained prior approval from your superiors to post it.

• When posting for yourself, include a disclaimer to that effect. When posting in behalf of the company, identify yourself and state your position in the company.

• Admit to your mistakes and humbly apologize.

• Avoid posting anything about the company that should not be made known.  Secret files, private business matters, legal matters or anything that has to do with an ongoing litigation, do not have a place on social media sites.

• Do not plagiarize.  If you want to reprint an article, then get permission from the original author before doing so.

 

SEO Inc., a southern California based Search Engine Optimization Company, ensures they follow best practice guidelines whenever they undertake any Social Media Marketing campaign.

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About Nikki

Author of many 30 Day Blogging Challenges, Nikki spends her time helping small businesses with Internet Marketing and Social Media Marketing. With 17 years of experience, she hasn't yet found someone she couldn't help to get more business from their website.

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  1. Interesting post. Thanks for it.

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