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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My Social Media Policy

More and more companies are starting to utilize social media to help in marketing, public relations, and customer service.  How the companies choose to use these tools (social media) varies by each company and what they hope to achieve.  They need to have goals and a target in mind when they start so the company can plan a proper approach and strategy in the form of a social media policy.

Most companies now have a social media policy for their employees to follow
The policies allow for a company to maintain some control in order to keep their brand image strong and achieve the objectives it wants to achieve.  Understandable they do not want employees trashing the company or its consumers  For most companies what an employee does online can be seen as a representative of their employer, so what the employee tweets or says online some may view it as what the company tweets.  The social media policy doesn't need to be long or difficult to understand.  Just a way to educate the employees that even on their personal social media accounts they are representing the company and brand. That being said the employees should still be allowed to have an online social life without having to worry about what their employer will think or do.

For a corporate social media account the policy should be more complete with more restrictions and expectations.  Especially for an account that is managed by numerous employees it would be impossible for a manager to approve of each post if you want the account to be social and engaging.  Have basic ground rules and let employees be free as long as in line with those rules.

Be prepared for something to go wrong
Mistakes happen, whether it is a rogue post/tweet that was meant to be on a personal account accidentally on the company account or an account being hacked.  Have part of your policy be what to do when this happens and handle it appropriately. A great example of this is when someone from The American Red Cross twitter account tweeted about #gettingslizzered they handled it appropriately.  They did not fire the person responsible for that tweet, instead they acknowledged it addressing the concerns some people had with the tweet and came out better for doing so.

I use social media in a way that fits me
I do not currently have to follow any corporate social media policy but I still have a personal social media policy. Overtime my social media policy has evolved from what it was a year ago (How I Use Twitter) to now.  By now if I wanted to I could have over a thousand followers, but I am not on social media for the numbers (or a Klout score).  I have started following more people, and I admit it I am no longer reading every tweet.  But what I do use now is lists, I have numerous lists, some public some private.  It is a hierarchy much like my Google Plus circles some circles and lists I check once an hour others I check every few minutes when I am online and not doing something I feel is more important.  The lists allow me to manage my social media accounts better and achieve my own goals and get what I want out of each social media platform.

Part of my policy is how I represent myself
Unlike Shelby who chooses not to swear, I think it is okay to occasionally swear on your personal account, if you feel comfortable doing so.  What I want to be online on social media is the same as I am in real life.  I do swear on twitter like I do in real life, but when I do it is for a reason and I do not do it often.  But I won't swear on LinkedIn, just like I would not swear in a formal setting.  What I do a lot of is filtering I type out a tweet reread it and than delete it.  Even if the tweet would be well received by most with my sense of humor I would rather not have it out there and possibly offend someone. I have been debating whether I should continue to filter myself online but feel it is best to continue to do so.

Does your company have a plan to achieve its social media goals? 
Does your company have a social media policy for you to follow?
Do you have a personal social media policy?
Do you filter yourself online or in real life?

Photo Credit to Webtreats

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