Many organizations are starting to get involved in social media. But do your employees know how to act in new media on behalf of your business? Do you have any guidelines to make them acquainted with a social media presence? If the answer is no, maybe it’s time to start looking at some rules of social media engagement.
Make a plan and guidelines for your employees
Social media can create an important link between business and customers and the people who influence their decisions and perceptions. Social media can be a part of reaching important segments, but everything begins with a plan.
This plan should be defining the rules of engagement and then providing the necessary training to prepare qualified employees for the predictable and also unforeseen circumstances that might await them within the world of social media. Thus, one of the first points to tick off the check list is a training day for employees. Without training and preparation, even the best might fail.
And training is only the beginning of the process. When the social media team has become acquainted with the policies and guidelines for fostering performance and governance, the next step is ready to be taken.
Think before posting
It’s crucial that every company, no matter which size, industry or location, immediately drafts and circulates the before mentioned guidelines and policies – whether or not social media is practiced officially or unofficially within the organization. The larger the company, the greater the risk – and drafting policies and providing training to employees can prevent unfortunate details from spreading. Accordingly, it will encourage the spread of desirable information. Within a company, it’s our responsibility to contribute to rise of significant and strategic signal over noise, which in the end can make you earn a position among the best in new media.
Solis’ best practices for developing policies and guidelines
According to Brian Solis, one of the most universal rules he has encountered in his research is “not to be stupid” or to “use common sense.” To assume that common sense is common isn’t applying common sense at all. It leaves actions open to interpretation and not everyone will approach the same instance equally. We all think in different ways.
In addition, one of the biggest mistakes is to jump into social networks without a plan of action, Solis says. Therefore, he has developed a list of the top 25 best practices for guidelines based on published policies that he has reviewed. Here, I have chosen 10 tips which I consider to be particularly important:
1. Define a voice and persona representative of the brand’s purpose, mission, and characteristic.
2. Respect those whom you’re engaging and also respect the forum in which you participate.
3. Protect confidential and proprietary information.
4. Be transparent and be human, but also do so based on true value propositions and solutions.
5. Represent what you should represent – and do not overstep your bounds without prior approval.
6. Apologize where applicable and according to the established code of conduct. Seek approval by legal or management where such action is not pre-defined.
7. Empower qualified spokespersons to offer solutions and resolutions.
8. Take the time to interpret the context of a situation before jumping in with a response.
9. What you share can and will be used against you. The internet as a long memory.
10. When in doubt, ask for guidance.