Implement Social Media Guidelines First

Businesses that jump into social media without formulating a plan are setting themselves up to fail. There’s a lot to think about, and it shouldn’t be a “figure it out as we go” approach. Businesses need to decide what their social media strategy is going to look like. They need to decide which networks to be active on and what kind of content they are going to share. The right strategy is obviously different for every business, but what’s most important is that it be set up from the beginning to avoid misunderstanding among employees. A strategy needs to be in place that outlines the following:

Who Handles the Strategy
This mostly depends on the size of the business. For a small business, it may be the owner or the marketing person. However, for a larger corporation it may make sense for each department manager to have a hand in it. While it’s important for each department to be reflected in a social media strategy, things can get confusing with too many “cooks in the kitchen”. Outline specifically who will have control and what their individual responsibilities are.

Content Needed
What kind of social content do you plan on sharing and what will be shared where? What is the Twitter strategy vs. the LinkedIn strategy? If more than one department is involved, how often are they expected to contribute content? It’s important to develop an editorial calendar for each month that will keep things moving and on track. If employees aren’t held accountable for social media activity, it’s easy to let it fall to the side. This absolutely can’t happen because the key to social media success is being an active contributor.

Expectations
What do you plan on getting out of a social media strategy? If you don’t know, then it’s time to figure it out. All activity in social media should be aimed at improving brand visibility, increasing traffic to the website, etc. Social media goals are different for every business, but if there aren’t any goals it’s difficult to figure out if you are doing it correctly.

How Employees Should Use Social Media
In social media, the personal and the professional blend together. Employees need to understand what their role is in social media. Will they be allowed to use social media at work? Are they encouraged to? A social media policy should outline what is accepted and what isn’t. Employees are representatives of the business that they work for and poor behavior in social media makes the company as a whole look bad.

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