social media guidelines

[tweetmeme source=”barrydewar” alias=”” only_single=false style=”compact”]For many large organisations the thought of dipping their toes in the sea of social media fills them with terror. These companies have spent years managing their communications output with an iron fist. They have developed long-winded yet robust processes for getting content out to the world. There are layers of beaurocracy and approvals to be navigated before even a single leaflet hits the public domain.

The thought of opening themselves up to their customers on social media is, frankly, terrifying. How can they safely respond to their network in a timely manner when all of their processes are designed for safety rather than speed?

It’s not easy. And it can’t happen overnight.

Sure, they can bite the bullet and hire themselves a community manager to cover their bases on Facebook and Twitter, but that staff member will still be unable to say a single thing due to all the red tape.

What is required is an organisational change.

A move towards a set of guidelines surrounding communication rather than a set of rules and processes. Give communications staff plenty of guidance around what they can and can’t say, make sure they know the safe-zones and the no-go areas, then tell them to go away and do what they do best.

This will allow those involved in the social media side of things to respond immediately to questions and step into networks where their brand is being discussed. With a simple set of rules there is very little that requires to be escalated. What’s important is that your network is not left hanging. If things get sticky, the guidelines will feature a procedure for escalating things and the stock responses which can be used.

It doesn’t have to be an epic. Just a few pages of easy to follow steps should be enough, and then you can set sail.

If you think that your organisation might need some guidelines, let me know. I’m sure I can help.

Image credit Lars Sundstrom


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