Having a company wide social media policy is always a smart investment. At one end of the spectrum it’ll inform new hires on how you approach social media and on the other (albeit more extreme end) it may circumvent long and short term legal disasters. A well-crafted social media policy gives employees a guide map on how to best communicate directly and indirectly with customers, clients, and or partners.
Sooner is better than later, but here are 5 indications that it’s time to draft up a social media policy right away:
1. The company has multiple departments using social.
If PR, marketing, and customer service all own a part of social, than who determines what the rules and guidelines are? By crafting a social media policy, it’ll tell employee in department A how to communicate just like employee in department B. Consider it an investment in giving the organization a consistent voice.
2. A multitude of employees can speak (Tweet) on your behalf.
It’s inspiring when a lot of hands and personalities are at the helm, but when more people are handed over the responsibility in representing a brand the odds of one of them making a huge mistake exponentially increases. Avoid the risk by creating a social media policy that goes over expectations and sets up restraints.
3. Internal feedback is becoming difficult to grasp.
One down side of a growing business is that internal conversations can become more difficult. A small startup of three people can grab lunch and discuss communication concerns, but when the company is larger (say 30+ people) some issues can’t be resolved in thirty minutes. A social media policy can help alleviate this problem.
4. Your company is communicating on a global scale.
When your product is built in Japan, sold to customers in Europe, and your office is in Los Angeles, it’s probably time to bring some clarity to your communication efforts. Not only will you sleep better at night, but it’ll also reduce the stress of your lawyer/legal team.
5. An outside agency or partner is lending a hand.
The recent Chrysler social media fiasco is living proof that even a trusted agency can make a monumental mistake. Don’t let your brand’s built up positive image go to waste by letting an agency relationship continue to go unchecked. If the agency and your team are working together, what better way to lay down some ground rules than a documented social media policy? If you’re agency has anything less than a stellar line of communication at all times take it as an indicator that it may be time to find a new agency.