Thursday, April 23, 2009

Where's Your Org's Social Media Policy?

Where's Your Org's Social Media Policy?
From Nacy Schwartz's Getting Attention

Social media is a free-flowing, wide-open phenomenon that needs to be handled and handled well. So frame its use for your staff, volunteers and base.
The clearer you are, the more likely it is that your org will make an impact with these tools -- whether you're just monitoring conversation about your org via Google Alerts, have a two-pronged approach with Facebook fan and cause pages or are experimenting on several fronts.

Core issues to cover include:
What's the personal/professional split, if there needs to be a split?
Any approvals necessary, at any point?
Who responds to conversation about your organization and how?
Who else needs to hear about that conversation?
How do you protect your brand?
Can anyone on staff who wants to be a spokesperson?
Which platforms do you get active on, and how?
What social media-ing is ok to do at work, and what's not ok?

Here's what your policy will do for your organization:
The policy creation process itself makes you think through issues too easy to ignore, but far too important to. It will also increase your organizational understanding of how use of these tools intersects with existing operating processes, and what may have to change.
Makes people feel at ease because they know what to do and what to expect.
Ensures your team is in sync with each other, rather than working (usually unknowingly) at cross purposes.
Leads to a consistent, recognized voice online -- via your Web site, e-news and social media presence(s). That's the only voice that your base will recognize, in a snap, where ever they are. Make it easy for them to do so.

Nonprofits-and-social-media guru Beth Kanter offers several guidelines for shaping your org's social media policy here, along with links to sample social media policies.

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