Don’t Wait to Create Social Media Guidelines

One misstep can spell disaster for your business

Back Web Only Jun 7, 2016 By Kelly Azevedo

Social media is like quicksand. From afar it looks innocent, but one misstep posting the wrong image or making an improper comment can sink your reputation faster than you thought possible. Additionally, while social media can be a powerful tool to reach clients, get media attention and share promotions with your audience, managing it all can be time consuming.

At the very least, take an hour this week to review your social media profiles to update your photo, bio, links and contact information to ensure they’re current. Creating systems for your social media doesn’t have to be complicated, and the necessary guidelines fall into a few areas:

1. Guidelines for Content

The most critical systems you can create for your social media are guidelines around what content you share. In the same way that you create an experience in your store or for your clients, you’ll want to extend that to your community at large.

Consider adding both positive and negative examples by sharing approved content in the form of videos, photos and text posts, as well as examples of posts to avoid. Your brand and values should inform what is appropriate for your business to share. Your limits may relate to the language used, tone of a post, which images you have permission to share or the hashtags you’ll include (especially if you’re a therapist, be careful using #therapist when posting for your business!).

A powerful way to produce more for social media is to repurpose existing content such as blog posts, press releases, product images, marketing campaigns, pictures and testimonials from clients and media coverage. Include examples from your own business and content when creating these guidelines.

2. Guidelines for Team Members

If the content guidelines detail what should be posted, your team guidelines will document the when, where and how. Start by listing all the social media platforms you currently use and their login details and then include any software you use to queue up your posts. The goal here is that if you’re on vacation your social media can be managed seamlessly in your absence.

Not already using a social media scheduler such as Hootsuite? It’s a great way to batch your content and plan it weeks in advance to save time, especially around the holidays.

You can also document the hours you post on your social media channels, how frequently new content goes up and how you check tags, tweets or messages. For example, if you’d like to post three times a day then you can set guidelines for 9 a.m., noon and 4 p.m. While it can be alarming how many followers send emails through social media platforms, having a canned reply for your team to use will save lots of time and trouble.

While you’re updating social media, check out the new option to auto reply to message on your Facebook fan page if you don’t have the time or staff to reply throughout the day.

3. Tracking Results

Finally, after putting in all this time you might be wondering if it’s all worth the effort. Setting up a simple tracking spreadsheet will help you measure the platforms worth the time. Understanding why you’re on social media in the first place will help you identify what to measure. For example, are you attempting to grow your audience, interactions, online sales or media coverage?

Include documenting some simple tracking in your weekly team member tasks and make time to review and evaluate what’s working on a regular basis.

Managing your social media profile and posts is no different than other forms of marketing and taking the time to set it up properly will pay off week after week.