Recent reports have shown that few companies have a social media marketing plan. And of course many businesses haven't integrated social media in their marketing mix yet. But, it's a good idea to have a social media policy, even if you don't really use social media yet. The reason: your employees do.
Among the businesses that do use social media marketing, many have no policy, a set of "rules" about the usage of social media within the business and for business purposes.
Rules and policies. It sounds quite restrictive. But it shouldn't be. Here are some tips to draft a social media marketing policy for your organization.
It's better to look at the social media policy as a number of guidelines for your company regarding the strategy and the use of social media. Why would you do this? Partially because you can use it as a public message towards your customers, associates, and the media. You show how you actively engage in online conversations, that you listen to your partners, etc.
Publishing your social media policy shows that you are an open and participative company.
However, it's of course way more than just that. A social media policy is essential for your employees as well. It gives everybody within the company an idea on what you want to achieve with your social media activities. Furthermore, it offers them advice on how to deal with social media.
You can also look at the policy as some sort of 'instructions', but as just explained, don't put the emphasis on that; it will appear negative and restrictive. It's better to invite your employees to participate in social media marketing activities.
Don't put a leash on your employees; invite them to participate instead
Of course, the level of participation depends on the employee's job function. Is it someone who can and may speak for the company? You'll have different guidelines for, let's say, PR-people, the management, and people who don't act publicly as spokesmen for the company.
On the other hand, you should realize that nowadays almost everyone uses at least one form of social media, and that your employees just might discuss your company on it.
So you better hand out some tips regarding the subject, and even motivate them by drawing up positive guidelines. It's advised to call these "suggestions".
Why would you only involve certain groups of employees in your social media activities? Why not stimulate everyone to participate? Especially those employees who already have some experience in the field of social media.
You will have to arrange a social media 'training' to explain your social media policy anyway.
Why wouldn't you have your motivated employees participate in a more advanced training, expanding your social media team? Your employees will definitely appreciate it.
The more social media voices and advocates you have internally (and externally of course), the better!
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