More and more businesses are adding social media into their marketing mix. Big brands were early adopters because it was easy to see the advantages of direct customer engagement, and now there is an increase in the numbers of SME’s now taking advantage of the low cost and the potential of increased exposure for their businesses. But with that exposure come risks, we frequently see examples in the media of people and organisations who have got into trouble through using social media. So how can a business protect itself from the potential pitfalls of social media? The answer is simple – you need a social media policy designed for your business. If you’re already using social media it’s not too late to put a policy in place, but how do you know if you need a policy or guidelines?
Policy v Guidelines – 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 the business’ attitude to risk and identifying potential risks. The policy will set out how the 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 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 business from misuse of social media, deliberate or accidental, put in place appropriate mitigating actions if things go wrong and to inform, 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 develop a social media policy for your business then talk to us at Jelliboo and we’ll be happy to help and advise you.
Jelliboo work with individual clients and businesses of all sizes from SMEs to Corporates across the whole of the UK. With an office in Epsom, Surrey and another one in Cheshire we are well placed to meet with clients wherever they are based. So if you’re in Lincoln and looking to educate your sales team on how to increase turnover through using LinkedIn, or in Tonbridge and want to understand Twitter then do give us a call, we’ll be delighted to help.