In the 21st century, virtually everyone uses social media: individuals and businesses alike. Individuals use social media as a way to connect with their friends and family, voice their opinions and create new connections with people and brands that they find interesting or inspiring. And businesses use social media as a way to connect with their audiences, build brand awareness in the market and establish their presence in an increasingly digital world.
With the sheer number of people using social media, it’s clearly important for you and your business. Social media is often times the first (and perhaps only) exposure that potential clients will get into your brand.
If you’re the only person managing your social media, it’s pretty straightforward – since you’re the one developing the strategy and actually posting on social media, it’s easy to control your messaging and make sure that what’s being delivered to your audience is exactly what you want.
But what if you’re not the person in charge of social media? What if you’ve delegated it to one or more team members – how do you control what’s being put out into the digital-sphere then?
One way to keep things in control is to write a social media guide. A social media guide lays out the policies, procedures and do’s and dont’s of your brand’s social media for your team.
But how do you write a social media guide – what should you include?
Professional and Personal Posting Guidelines
When writing your social media guide, you’ll want to include two sets of posting guidelines: one for professional social media use and one for personal social media use.
For the professional guidelines, you’ll want to include what is and isn’t allowed when posting on behalf of the company. This will vary depending on your brand, but it could include guidelines such as “When responding to comments on Facebook, always end with the line Thanks, Team XYZ” or “Never use swear words for any reason across any company social media channels”.
Things get a bit trickier when it comes to personal social media guidelines: on one hand, your employees personal social media is and should be for personal use. However, as employees, they’re also an extension of your company and what they put out on their personal social media profiles can reflect back on your brand. Again, your guidelines for employees personal social media use is going to depend on your business, but as a rule of thumb you’ll want to prohibited anything that could reflect negatively on your brand and it’s mission and/or upset your customers.
For example, if you run a non-profit that is focused on raising awareness around addiction, you would likely want to include in your personal social media guidelines that employees shouldn’t post pictures of themselves using illegal substances or “partying” to excess.
You can also simply require that all employees turn their social media preferences to “private”; that way, if a potential client or customer stumbles across one of their social media profiles, they’ll be unable to access the content.
Voice and Tone
Another category you’ll want to include in your social media guide is suggestions for voice and tone. It’s important to establish a strong and consistent brand voice across social media channels, and this becomes even more important when you have multiple people posting on behalf of your company.
You’ll want to include a clear explanation of who you are as a brand on social media and how your team should post. Should they inject humor into posts or keep things more serious? Should their language be casual or more corporate? Should they give thorough, detailed answers to questions or keep things brief and concise?
Setting an overall voice and tone for your brand – and making sure that your entire team has a grasp on it – will establish a consistent social media experience for your audience, regardless of which team member is doing the posting.
Profiles and Passwords
You’re also going to want to include a listing of all your social media profiles and the login information for each; that way, your team doesn’t have to go searching for passwords when they need them.
How To Deal With Customers
This is a major component of a successful social media guide: you need to include clear instructions for your team on how to deal with clients and customers, including how to deal with negative comments or feedback.
Include everything from how to answer frequently asked customer questions (you can even include the exact copy you want them to use), how to handle a question that they don’t know the answer to and how quickly every customer comment needs to be responded to.
But the most important thing to break down is how to deal with negative comments or feedback from customers. There will definitely come a time when a customer posts negative feedback about your company or you get an “internet troll” who posts something destructive on one of your social media sites, and it’s imperative that you have a system in place so your team knows what to do when they find themselves having to deal with that situation.
Every company is different, but you’ll want to avoid deleting negative comments; it’s much better to deal with the situation directly and in a non-confrontational way.
If you need more ideas for writing your own social media guide, you can check out this database of corporate social media guides for inspiration.
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I sincerely hope that you found this information valuable. For advice on effective branding, design and cross media marketing, please don’t hesitate to call me on 1300 65 85 00 or email me at email@example.com to arrange an obligation free 10 minute discussion with a member of our expert team.