I’m not a huge fan of “rules”…especially when it comes to social media. That being said, I’m beginning to gain an appreciation for social media policies as a way to help churches, causes, and businesses work their way through the maze of digital communications.
Let me just be honest for a moment. Corporate policies – in my opinion – always:
- Minimize risk taking.
- Implement control mechanisms.
- Remove the unknown dimensions of business.
Translation: If everyone has a script, then we’ll all know what to say and do and when to say it and do it, right?
WRONG!…especially when it comes to social media.
Social media is about being social, so it begins with being human. Humans are spontaneous, creative, and emotional beings. Anything that takes away from those elements cuts at the very core of what makes social media such a powerful tool of influence.
Instead of thinking about social media policies as a way to restrict behavior, consider writing a social media policy that:
- Empowers individuals to leverage their personalities and strengths to benefit the brand or cause.
- Implements a shared responsibility recognizing that every employee is a spokesperson for the company.
- Encourages individuals to grow and learn in the midst of “doing” social media.
Some of you HR types are screaming right now. The question you’re asking is: should every employee, participant, or brand representative use social media? (Do you hear the desire to restrict again? Hard to think differently, isn’t it?)
Maybe the better question is: why hire or enlist someone you’re not comfortable representing you in social media?
Social media policies are good when they clarify and encourage a common commitment and respect for this important platform of influence. Social media policies are not helpful when they attempt to pseudo-retrict certain people because they might say something they shouldn’t or do something that reflects negatively on the brand itself. The fallacy is that those people are already doing it. (But that’s another blog post in itself.)
Does your church, cause, or business have a social media policy? If so, why did you create one, and has it been helpful?
Ben Stroup is a content activist in a post-paragraph world. He is chief broker of opportunity at Ben Stroup Enterprises. Connect with Ben via email, Twitter, and Google+. Subscribe via email to learn how to use content to move people to action.