by Emily Mouyeos*
I think it’s safe to say that social media can no longer be ignored. B.L. Ochman of BusinessWeek even said, “Resistance to social media is futile.” Like with most trends, some individuals were quick to jump on board while others needed and still need coaxing. Last week, I attended PRSA-NY’s “How to Develop Your Social Media Policy” seminar and the attendees were all across the spectrum in developing their policies. It was quickly described as a “time of therapy” for those who have already been through the ringer. Alayna Francis from Swiss Re and Taylor Morris from the American Heart Association served as panelist to walk attendees through their experience in creating a policy.
Here are my takeaways as to why it’s important to have a social media policy:
Encourage consistent messaging and accountability: When creating your social media policy you should determine who is in charge. Who will serve as the gatekeeper? This is extremely important for companies or organizations that have several departments or chapters. Because it only takes seconds to start a Facebook page, the policy should validate whether or not starting that Facebook page will be worth the effort in the end. Without taking this necessary time to make sure the social media presence aligns with your overall objectives and strategy, your company can quickly find itself having a split personality. Here at BurrellesLuce our social media policy is created and enforced by the Marketing team. Input is gathered from appropriate company officials and updated as needed.
Evaluate effectiveness: As communication professionals, we can all agree that more is not always better. As if measuring traditional forms of media wasn’t hard enough, we now have to qualify our efforts with the monster we know as social media. Quality is key. Especially since social media is built around community and networks. Your social media policy should help determine if your efforts are helping meet and exceed your objectives and goals. Check out some company’s who have already reported ROI with their social media engagement.
Determine Personal vs. Professional: During the seminar, I wanted the moderator, Steve Hasley of Gibbs & Soell Public Relations, to distinguish between internal and external social media policies. I quickly realized that wasn’t going to happen. Unlike in the past, the line is blurred with social media. I would never use my personal email address book to send out my company’s press release or a media directories service to send out my wedding announcement. However, I have used my personal Twitter account to announce my professional blog posts. In return, my personal tweets have diminished tremendously because I recognize that I’m a brand ambassador for my company. I am, like many other PR and marketing professionals, having a hard time figuring out how to balance the personal and professional when it comes to social media. A social media policy can help your employees walk this fine line.
If you’d like to see some additional social media policies, this post from Mashable.com features several examples.
How has creating a social media policy benefited your communication and marketing efforts? Any hiccups? Is there something you wish you would have considered before creating your policy? How often do you update your policy? Who is involved in enforcing it? If you haven’t created a social media policy, what is your hesitation?
*Bio: Emily Mouyeos joined the BurrellesLuce account management team with a background in nonprofit communication and development. Her background and current experience with BurrellesLuce allows her to effectively address client needs and consolidate feedback for senior management. To Emily, nothing feels better than helping others achieve their goal, whether it’s professionally or personally. By focusing on client management through the Fresh Ideas blog, she hopes to evaluate new client management trends, as well as provide insight to the pros and cons of current practices. She looks forward to connecting with the readers of Fresh Ideas for new perspectives and dialogue on issues that affect overall success. LinkedIn: Emily Mouyeos Twitter: @BurrellesLuce Facebook: BurrellesLuce