How Organizations Can Avoid New User Social Media Messes
If your business doesn’t have a social media policy or a social media agency to put one in place for you, it could end up with a mess on its hands. For that reason, mid-to-large companies especially need clear social media procedures. Marketing professionals, like Alana Mauger of Montgomery Community College in Pennsylvania, often find that the moment an organization launches a Facebook or Twitter account, departments within the institution all want their own pages too – and they want them to be endorsed by the larger organization for credibility and recognition purposes. “Soon, every department wanted an ‘official’ college Facebook page, Twitter account, etc., and I saw the potential for mass chaos if something wasn’t done quickly.”
What was the solution? Setting up a check system, putting some boundaries around the college’s social media presence, and developing a social media handbook that details the school philosophy on and its uses. Most importantly, department heads had to apply to set up an “official, endorsed” social media account. Once an application has been approved, the applicant must agree to abide by a contract that featured provisions such as, “Each account must be updated a minimum or once per week and must be monitored daily.”
“The application and contract state that any person or entity at MCCC can have a social media account, including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn, etc.,” Mauger said. “However, if the department or person would like its account to be endorsed and promoted by MCCC, an application must be completed and approved by the appropriate area VP. [The application] is then considered by the department of marketing and communications.”
The idea was to weed out departments and individuals who didn’t understand how to effectively use social media, but the larger goal was to help those same people come to understand the right way to use it. The application asks questions such as, “What is your experience using social media?” “Who is your target audience?” “What type of information/interaction you will offer?” “Who will facilitate the page?” These are things that social media novices often don’t think about, but will need to if they intend to administer a page for their organizations. If the company doesn’t have the resources to hire a social media agency, the responsibility falls on the shoulders of the director of marketing and/or communications.