Social Media Policies for Mid-size (SMB) and Small Business
Lately I seem to be getting into some discussions with mid-sized and SMB type companies that want to use social media and conversational media in their day-to-day operations both internally and with their customers. I’ll define a mid-size company as anyone with over 50 employees.
A lot of the relevance of social media including blogging, LinkedIn, Facebook and even Twitter are not lost on these businesses at all. Many of these mostly privately run companies have been started by their senior executive or perhaps by one of the executive’s relatives (dad/grandfather usually) and current management keeps building on past success. Frequently they are middle-aged and they usually have children often in their teens or even college age. These millennial’s are tech savvy and they might hear about the latest Facebook app from them. Or they might hear how their competitor is using LinkedIn to connect with prospects, etc.
The question that I hear at least once in the conversation is “how do I control it once the genie is let out”? My response is you may not be able to control it 100 percent but you can certainly put some guidelines or policies around it for your employees.
Here are 5 simple and easy-to-implement social media and conversational media policies, guidelines and practices that you should consider for yourself, staff or business:
Respect yourself and others when writing blogs or posting comments or communicating by Facebook. Consider your language and state of mind when writing. If you disagree with someone’s point of view try being diplomatic rather than pugilistic.
Don’t curmudgeon your competition. It usually doesn’t result in anything positive for your business.
Stay away from commenting on legal or financial matters that may affect you, your company or your business partners.
Don’t try to mask or cover up who you are. It’s too easy to track where and to whom comments actually come from. Remember the comments posted by John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods. He was eventually uncovered.
Employ basic common sense and good judgment. Don’t publish items that are not yours. Stick to what you know and ask questions about what you don’t.
Lastly, and this is not a policy exactly, keep everything simple – especially because you are a small or medium size business. Don’t try to tackle all the social networking and conversational media applications at one time. Build your expertise in pieces.
And the above certainly can apply to larger – publicly oriented enterprises as well – it just might be more formalized.