Why and How Your Company Should Develop a Social Media Policy
April 5, 2013 - 11:26am
To ensure that your business is reaping all the benefits and avoiding the problems that can arise from social media, create a set of guidelines so you're prepared for every situation.
Lamps Plus Facebook
Lamps Plus, which has almost 70,000 likers on Facebook, has a well defined social media strategy in place.

The social media landscape is littered with cautionary tales about mishaps occurring due to unclear guidelines. We tapped Leslie Carothers, CEO of The Kaleidoscope Partnership and its new business division, #SLOWDOWNSOCIAL: one-on-one social media strategy consulting and internal training + online and offline social media workshops for the furniture and interior design industry, and Angela Hsu, Vice President, Internet Marketing for Lamps Plus, for some tips on personalizing social media standards for your business.

1. Determine how much time you have to devote to social media and who will post.

Consistency is key: “Assess your company’s internal goals and resources with which social media channels would be the best fit,” Hsu says. “Being an active participant in social media does consume internal resources so it’s better to do a few channels very well versus having low interaction in multiple channels.

For a smaller company, one designated social media manager is practical, says Carothers.

2. Decide on frequency of posting.

According to Carothers, post to Facebook twice a day — once in early morning and once in evening. On the other hand, Twitter is much more conversational so you can post as much as you want. The only caveat: don’t make it so frequent that you will monopolize a user’s whole feed. Use your discretion.

3. Develop a list of guidelines and trust your social media manager.

Decide what your voice and tone are going to be and how this will vary from Facebook to Twitter to YouTube: “We tailor our content for each channel to appeal to what customers enjoy interacting with on each platform,” Hsu explains. “For example, Pinterest is extremely visual so we engage our followers with beautiful imagery, while YouTube is more educational so we produce videos on Interior Design Basics and Getting a Specific Look or Style.”

Once guidelines are in place, give the social media manager free reign: “This person needs the freedom to answer comments and customer concerns immediately,” Carothers says.

4. Figure out how to react.

Your voice is critically important when it comes to interacting with customer comments and concerns, says Carothers: A tip: “Younger customers and employees are accustomed to short, terse responses, but older customers are more likely to get offended by this. They need a certain kindness in a response and the social media manager needs to be aware of this.”

5. Create an “off-limits” list.

Is there anything that absolutely shouldn’t be in front of public eyes? “In terms of content, there is no tried and true rule and a lot will depend on the personality of your brand or company,” Hsu advises. “A good rule of thumb though is if you don’t want everyone to see it, you probably shouldn’t post it.”

In terms of employees’ personal social media accounts: “It should be stated that there is to be no public disclosure of company business on an employee’s own social channel,” Carothers suggests. “And also, there should be set expectations about whether or not the company will engage with employees’ personal accounts publicly.”

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