If your business uses social media, you should have a social media policy with rules of engagement clearly in place.
Social media can play a big part in shaping public perception of your business. It is not only what you say, but how you say it that matters. If you have multiple people managing your social media presence, it pays to have a defined social media code of conduct to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Suggested Rules of Engagement:
1. Be transparent
Your honesty – or dishonesty – will be quickly noticed in the social media environment. Make sure everything you communicate is accurate, and avoid omitting important information.
2. Be judicious
3. Write what you know
Write and post about your areas of expertise, especially as related to your company and industry. Try to avoid weighing in on issues that your business is not associated with, especially if they are controversial.
4. It’s a conversation
Talk to your followers like you would talk to real people in professional situations. Consider content that is open ended and invites responses. Try to avoid language that is overly pedantic or overly informal. You should also make sure you are using correct grammar and spelling.
5. Add value
There are millions of words out there. The best way to get yours read is to write content that people will value. Social communication should be thought-provoking and build a sense of community. If it helps people learn new things, improve their skills, solve problems or understand your company better, then it’s adding value.
6. Create excitement
Share with the world the exciting things you’re learning and doing, and open up channels to learn from others.
7. Your responsibility
What you write is ultimately your responsibility. Know your company code of conduct, and follow the social media platform’s terms and conditions.
8. Be a leader
There can be a fine line between healthy discussion and incendiary reaction. Do not denigrate either your competitors or your followers. Be careful and considerate. Once the words are out there, you can’t really get them back. And once an inflammatory debate gets going, it’s hard to stop.
9. If it makes you pause, pause.
If you’re about to publish something that you’re even slightly unsure of, take a minute to review these guidelines and try to figure out what’s bothering you, then fix it.
10. Did you screw up?
If you make a mistake, admit it. Simple.