How a social media policy can help you in a crisis
It seems that, almost overnight, social media has taken over our lives. We use it to stay connected, express opinions and follow the issues that are important to us. Some people feel they couldn’t go one day without it.
Unfortunately, the technology has evolved faster than many can manage it. Businesses especially have found themselves playing catch-up, struggling to engage customers and increase profits through social media platforms, lacking the necessary guidance and making reputation-crushing mistakes along the way. With assistance from PR, you can create your social media policy and avoid disaster.
The importance of a social media policy
Numerous companies have found themselves on the wrong side of social media, such as Kitchen Aid and McDonald’s. Some of the blunders have included:
Employees accidentally using the company account instead of a personal one for thoughtless posts
Having their hashtags hijacked because they didn’t use specific phrasing
Taking a stand on a controversial issue and alienating customers
Spamming followers with endless posts
Since it’s so easy to share information with hundreds or thousands of followers and friends on social media, one mistake can go viral in a matter of minutes. Also, it’s been proven time and again that bad news travels infinitely faster than good news, so your efforts at fixing the error will probably not reach as far as the mistake itself.
Lately, social media mistakes have featured on local and national news programs with increasing frequency, affording errors an even longer lifespan. Additionally, Google and Twitter have re-established an agreement allowing social media posts to appear in Google searches, meaning that a few negative Tweets about your company can potentially show up in searches for years.
Studies have shown that approximately three out of four consumers will research a product online before making a purchase. The information they find about your company could mean the difference between closing a sale and losing it to your competition.
What should you include in your social media policy?
Having rules and regulations in place can give you guidance during a crisis and even help prevent one from occurring in the first place. You’ll want to spell out:
Who has access to your account and is allowed to post information on behalf of your company
Limiting this access will reduce the likelihood of people using the company account instead of their personal accounts for those thoughtless posts. This is also a good way to ensure that all messages sent during a crisis have one voice.
The kind of information that can be posted on your company’s behalf
Avoid expressing opinions on sensitive topics such as politics or religion.
How you will control your social media accounts
Do not allow employees to establish individual accounts with your company’s name without your knowledge and consent. Having a social media management system and requiring users to post from one secure interface is a step in the right direction.
The procedure for revoking access to your social media accounts
The last thing you want is for someone who has proven to be untrustworthy or a terminated employee to be allowed to continue to access and post on your accounts.
Why enlisting a PR firm can be beneficial
Social media is no longer a toy for bored college students; it’s big business and a significant component of your sales strategy. With experts predicting that social media can unlock up to a trillion dollars for companies in the future, it’s a good idea to leave it to the professionals.
Axia PR can help you develop a social media policy that works to enhance your profitability and protect your brand. Contact us today or download our free Essential Social Media Management Guide e-book for information on managing your social media presence.
Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business, higher education and technology PR. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter @axiapr.
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