One of the essential tools in every business’ marketing toolbox these days is social media. It’s proving more and more popular because of the low costs and potential increased exposure for businesses. But with that exposure comes risks, so how can a business protect itself from the potential pitfalls of social media?
A business should have a social media policy that sets out its attitudes to social media, even if you’re already using social media it’s not too late to put a policy in place. If you search the internet you’ll find references to social media policies and social media guidelines, but what’s the difference?
Guidelines and social media policy are quite often confused with one another and seen as being the same thing. In fact they should be two different documents with different purposes.
A social media policy should be a comprehensive document. Its development will begin by assessing an organisation’s or business’ attitude to risk and identifying potential risks. The social media policy will set out how the organisation/business views the use of social media, how it fits with the current marketing strategy and its overall approach to the use of social media by the organisation/business and its staff. It will define exactly who the policy applies to, what social media is, what is acceptable use, what isn’t and expected behaviour.
Its purpose should be to protect the organisation/business from misuse of social media, deliberate or accidental, put in place appropriate mitigating actions if things go wrong and to inform and educate and protect employees by providing a framework for them to operate within when using social media.
Guidelines on the other hand should be much briefer. It can be just a one page document that sets out basic instructions on how to use social media within the organisation and how to behave on there. It’s designed to be a quick aide memoire to the social media policy for employees if they have questions or are concerned about how to behave when online. It should complement the social media policy but never be seen as a standalone alternative.
If you would like help to put develop a social media policy for your business then talk to us, we’ll be happy to help and advise you.
Lyn French is one of our Two Lizards Associates and a partner at Jelliboo Social Media http://jelliboo.co.uk/