We have ALL seen them—small businesses that aren’t quite sure how to best use social media. Often times these small business owners either try to update their own sites (knowing they have limited time) or they ask someone who has limited knowledge and expertise to handle their social media, which is a recipe for disaster. Much like other digital advancements, social media is an burgeoning field of professionals. Knowing how to avoid a social media “hot mess” is essential in maintaining your authority in your industy and a trusted source for your audience. This is Part 1 of a 4 part series that will examine how to best avoid a social media catasphroe.
Have a SMCM:
Social Media/Community Management Plan and Policy
Every business owner should have a clear policy for managing their community and social platforms in one document. This should be in a secure place and should be thought out at the creation of the document. Of course you can update this policy later but it’s important to be clear about goals, expectations, and policies such as
- What content is off limits. Make sure your policy includes language surrounding profanity, deragorty comments about other brands or individuals, or other “touchy issues.” Pending on your industry this can range from politics to religion. You need to be extremely clear when developing your plan and that each of your platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube etc.) have their own set of standards.
- Hire a community manager (CM) or strategist. Many business owners may have a difficult time hiring an outside party to handle their brands image. If you are one of them, please let this go. Not only will it free up time for you to focus on other important matters of your business it also provides a non-objective lens which can be extremely important in how content is presented.
- Create a Relationship with the CM. I think you should have a working relatiosnhip with your community manager to ensure content is being shared in a way that is in alignment with your company’s vision and values. This relationship also helps develop clear lines of communication so if “hot-button” or “popular” issues arise your community management team can be equipped to address these issues in the best way possible. The community manager will also be equipped with knowing the ins-and-outs of which social platforms and communities can best serve the needs of your company and audience.