Monday, February 29, 2016

How to Create a Smart Social Media Policy

A while ago, I chided a PR and social media communications agency for the so-so quality of their promotional videos on YouTube.

But, it wasn't all bad. In the video below, Steve, one of their social media gurus, talks about how to create a social media policy. He mentions getting counsel from attorneys, minding government regulations, and taking into account the organization's HR needs. All fine, up to a point.

However, he leaves out a few essentials that most organizations need to consider when crafting a social media policy -- and the strategy that goes with it:
  • What's the goal of the organization's social media effort? Do all employees understand that the company's Twitter feed isn't a place to complain about internal policies, or a poor outing by the New York Rangers?
  • What about looking at social media policies other organizations have adopted? What's worked, and what hasn't? (Applebee's fumble with the storefront pastor in 2013 leaps to mind.) 
  •  What about listening?
Of these, listening is the single-most valuable benefit of social media. What are your customers saying?

Most effective communication strategies require two-way engagement: sharing your messages, and listening for consumers' responses. A smart organization will consider what it's heard, and adjust its outbound messaging to reflect the insights collected via the listening process. 

Or it may feed those learnings up to the marketing decision-makers, who'll determine if changes in paid or online ads -- or other practices -- need to take place. 

Either way, the two-way communications gained via a social media initiative can be instrumental in guiding the company's public persona. And that's why listening should be baked into the social media policy.