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Social Media Best Practices: Social Media Policy

Nov 5, 2012, 12:13:16 PM

There are so many different social media channels and while each one is different, there are best practices for businesses that apply to them all. And probably the most important best practice is having a social media policy.

Have you ever received one of those tasteless forwarded emails from a coworker? You know the type of email: it has a vulgar image or an inappropriate joke or statement. When you see it, you think, “How in the world could someone think this is appropriate to send at work (or anywhere for that matter)?” Oh wow, I just sounded like my mother there. But it might be a good idea to have mom here to tell people what’s right and what’s wrong—especially when it comes to your presence on social media, where the world can see you.

Okay, maybe it’s unrealistic to have mom watching out for inappropriate online behavior. But you need to watch out for your business’s reputation. So what’s the next best thing to mom? A social media policy, of course!

The social media policy will help keep your company’s voice and culture consistent across different channels and different contributors. It can keep your message to the world on a professional level. It can also help keep embarrassing or reputation-damaging postings from happening (and then going viral).

Your social media policy needs to spell out your company’s expectations of your employees’ social media participation. And this policy needs to be in place before you begin any social media campaign. If you need assistance for creating your policy, there is an open-source toolkit at http://www.socialmedia.org/disclosure/ that has step-by-step guidance.

So before you have a social media blunder that goes viral and damages your company’s good reputation, invest the time and energy in a solid social media policy—because mom says so!

Linda Harloff

Written by Linda Harloff

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