Should Your Business Have A Social Media Policy?
A devil may care attitude might make you a free spirit, but being too free on the internet will inevitably return to haunt you. Finding a balance between sharing information, marketing yourself and over-sharing is essential. Everyone should have guidelines to follow, whether it is in their business or personal life. Since it is impossible to keep either completely separate, striking a balance and maintaining a happy medium is something everyone using the internet should strive for.
You social media policy should be a part of your overall online reputation management strategy. Discovering whatinternet reputation management tools are available to your business is the first step in getting set up. Internet reputation management refers to the process of taking control of search results, and making sure that your business is represented in the most positive light through the information available online.
The use of social media makes internet reputation management even more important. The more time you are online interacting and sharing, the more there is to manage and maintain. To help in this process you can use the services of companies, which can shift the sole responsibility of managing your reputation off of your shoulders and in to their capable hands.
You can find plenty of social media policy templates and examples by doing a simple search. These might help to get you started in finding a policy that provides the right balance and checks for the online activity of your business.
What Guidelines Should You Follow?
The kind of policy you want to implement can be as basic or as specific as you want (without breaking any laws). Your business should probably have some sort of written social media policy guidelines that you expect employees to follow. These do not have to be restrictive, but when you have employees who market your business, you need to make sure that everyone is on the same page with their expectations.
Some businesses forbid employees from engaging in social media use while on the clock. However, this can actually hinder your business rather than help it. You need to decide what is appropriate for your own business. Using social media as a vehicle to connect with clients, share information, and keep your business visible is a strategy you should consider. Your social media policy should acknowledge how you plan to:
- Protect your brand without being over-controlling
- Stay in line with core company values
- Specify what questions employees should ask of themselves before posting
- State guidelines regarding plagiarism or reposting of non-original content
- Support your business through social media
Corporate entities, small businesses and non profits for example should all have different types of social media policies; there is no one policy that will fit all business models. You will need to spend some time developing social media policies that will give provide stakeholders with guidelines, but not be overly restrictive. Social media policies are just one component of effective internet reputation management. All businesses should have a strategy in place that will help manage social media, minimize negative mentions online and in turn create new content in support of your business.
Take some time to hammer out the specifics of your plan; first begin by making use of tools for online reputation management and learning more about what you want your social media policy to look like.
Once you understand how reputation management can work in the context of your business, you can start developing a system that will streamline the way you manage your business online for the better.
Theresa Stanton is a freelance article writer and social media curator. She writes and comments on a variety of subjects, with a focus on social media internet reputation management tools in business and the impact that the internet can have on business performance.
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