How to Create Social Media Guidelines for Your Business - Rainmaker Media Solutions
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How to Create Social Media Guidelines for Your Business

How to Create Social Media Guidelines for Your Business

By Dara Fontein

Can you remember the first time you got into trouble with your parents? Perhaps you were standing on the kitchen table with muddy shoes on. Maybe you had just given the family dog an impromptu mohawk. You might have been fighting with your sibling and broken a family heirloom. Before you could mumble “wasn’t me” your parents had scolded you and if you had a middle name, it was being used. However, with this reprimand probably came some advice and encouragement for the behavior that was expected of you. This was your earliest introduction to social media guidelines.

Like parental guidance, a good set of social media guidelines can help you not only understand what was done wrong, but hopefully help your brand avoid mishaps in the first place. Of course mistakes happen, but social media guidelines work to prevent avoidable online catastrophes. Continue reading to see how you can create a set of comprehensive social media guidelines to establish organization-wide expectations without ever uttering the phrase “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.”

The difference between a social media policy and social media guidelines

Social media policy and social media guidelines are the kinds of terms that commonly get used interchangeably. When you get started with your social media guidelines, you may feel inclined to call them a policy, but you need to know some key differences.

While similar, creating and providing social media guidelines for your business will offer you a more flexible experience and room for edits along the way. Social media guidelines act more as principles to guide employee and company behavior on social media. Guidelines are also positioned more as best practices and suggestions.

On the other hand, policies are concrete and usually mandatory for employees to follow. You don’t mess around with a policy without facing consequences. For more on this, check out our previous post How to Write A Social Media Policy for Your Company.

Why your business needs social media guidelines

You may be thinking that a social media policy is enough, but guidelines can provide much more in-depth information and context for your brand’s strategy. Your employees hold a lot of power, and you want to make sure this power is being used for good. By creating comprehensive social media guidelines, you can:

  • Encourage compliance across your organization so that employees and executives know what is expected of them on social media
  • Equip your employees with the confidence to effectively engage on social media
  • Give context to your overall social media strategy
  • Make it easier to measure where things fall short when they don’t adhere to these guidelines
  • Educate those in your organization on social media best practices—skills that they will be able to take with them throughout their career
  • Help to protect your brand’s reputation on social media

Now that you know a few benefits of having social media guidelines, it’s time to start thinking about how you are going to establish some of your own.

Social media guidelines your business needs to have

If you started thinking about all of the different areas of social media that you could create guidelines for, you’d quickly find yourself overwhelmed. Think about the information your employees need to know the most, and what you would like to convey to them. Consider:

  • What are your brand’s priorities?
  • What kinds of social media activities would disrupt your brand’s social media strategy?
  • Are there any sensitive areas you need your employees to know about?
  • What kind of image and brand voice do you want to convey?

Getting into the nitty gritty of social media guidelines could be an endless task, but there are definitely some specific areas you should focus on. View Full Article >>

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