Where’s Your Org’s Social Media Policy?

Where's Your Org's Social Media PolicySocial 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.

P.S. A powerful tagline is a critical success factor in bringing your organization's messages to life.  Download the free Nonprofit Tagline Report for must-dos, don't dos, case studies and 1,000+ nonprofit tagline examples!

Nancy Schwartz on April 23, 2009 in Nonprofit Communications, Recommended Resources, Social Media, Web 2.0 | 4 comments
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  • http://beth.typepad.com Beth Kanter

    The process of policy is just as important as the product!

  • http://beth.typepad.com/beths_blog/2009/04/social-media-in-the-nonprofit-workplace-does-your-organization-need-a-policy.html Beth’s Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media

    Social Media in the Nonprofit Workplace: Does Your Organization Need A Social Media Policy?

    Photo by Terry Bain in Flickr I’ve been hearing a lot lately from folks who work in nonprofits asking for examples of “social media or social networking policies.” There are examples (see below). But, if an organization simply cuts and…

  • Amit Desai

    Nice article and thanks for sharing your thoughts. I firmly believe that every organization big or small should have a social media policy. Recently I completed an analysis on usage of social media and its impact on productivity and have published my findings here http://www.gigathoughts.com/social-media/do-you-have-a-social-media-policy-for-your-organization.html
    Hope you guys find it useful and also do let me know your views on the same

  • Jesse Torres

    Check out Creating an Ironclad Social Media Policy. Free download at docstoc.com http://www.docstoc.com/docs/45894330/Creating-an-Ironclad-Social-Media-Policy

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