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Do You Have a Social Media Policy for Your Business?

November 16, 2012
Jay


There are two types of social media policies: one that dictates employees’ behavior and one that provides guidelines for the social media person or team that is posting on behalf of or as the company. This post is about the latter.
First, why is it important to have a social media policy? A social media policy should not be created to restrict your social media team from certain activities, but rather to provide guidance in situations that cannot be foreseen. If you don’t trust your social media person or team, then why are they handling your social media?
Every good social media marketer should be aware of the company’s voice and strive to cultivate an online personality for it using the company’s brand guidelines. A great example of this is the interaction between @Oreoand @AMCTheatres on Twitter, two powerhouse brands that obviously have great social media policies. The witty and fun repertoire that recently occurred between the accounts played out in a humorous discourse that was retweeted hundreds of times. AdWeekeven called it “one of the best Twitter replies ever.” The digital marketing manager for AMC Theatres, Shane Adams, wrote about this exchange on his blog and gave some important reasons why social media policies should be flexible enough to allow the team not just to post, but to respond:

  1. Trust – Yes, the point was made above that if you don’t trust the person(s) in charge of social media, don’t give them the keys to your kingdom. However, it is also important to note that giving trust also empowers your employees: “That ownership in what we do better equips myself and my colleagues to do amazing things,” says Adams.
  2. Brand Voice – while you may not work for a brand that’s as “fun” as movies or cookies, understand your brand’s voice and knowing what is and is not acceptable goes a long way toward cultivating that trust.
  3. Autonomy – Shane and his team at AMC Theatres and the social media team at Oreo would not have been able to respond as quickly and cleverly as they did if they did not have at least some autonomy to make decisions and embrace opportunities.

As Shane puts it, GAME ON.
Does your company have a social media policy in place? What else do you think is important to help guide your team?