Social media at Farmshed: Basic guidelines for success

Food policy: Know your farmer, know your food.

Social media policy: Know your voice, know your brand.

The staff, board of directors, and anyone affiliated with Central Rivers Farmshed (i.e. long term volunteers) will adhere to the following guidelines in generating, disseminating, and defending brand related information through social media. Please review the following list and return a signed copy to the Executive Director.  Thank you for investing your time in this organization’s success!

  1.     The voice

Let’s stick to three voices for Farmshed: fun, inviting, and informative.

At an organization that’s currently trying to recruit members and gain momentum, being fun will serve to entertain subscribers and create interest. Maintaining an inviting tone will ensure that the group is portrayed as welcoming and eager to meet new faces.  The informative voice has to do with the mission of the organization (connecting people with their food).  Education plays a big role in this quest.

Try to use at least two of these voices in your posts.

  1.     Response rates

Please respond to comments from subscribers, whether positive or negative, within one day.  Let’s keep the conversation moving and our voice alive!

  1.     Natural and national disasters

Being affiliated with the agricultural community means that sometimes a flooding event or early frost takes precedent over getting your post done on time. Food producers and those around them are tightly connected to earth’s climate and its often unforeseen circumstances, so we should be too.

In addition, being a community-based group, we should of course be sensitive to state or national crises as well, such as a terrorist attack or the declaration of war. We’re all people here, right? In such an event, our sites will switch to inactive.  We will switch to support mode, and be respectful of the public welfare.  Content can be revised accordingly.

  1.     Insensitive/Inappropriate posts

     Internal (Staff and Volunteer)

If a staff member, board member, or volunteer makes an inappropriate post, it will be removed immediately.  The Executive Director or Board Chair should take action to mend any hurt feelings or issues caused by the insensitivity or inaccuracy. If the post has spread, said supervisor would make quick decisions and communicate with followers as soon as possible.  Disciplinary action, including possible termination, may result. In the case of a volunteer, their duties will be reassigned or the relationship may end depending on their rapport and status.

    External

If an online community member posts a negative comment about the organization, we will work as a team internally to decide the best course of action on a case-by-case basis. Our primary option is to mend the situation while still online. Our secondary option is to take the comment and conversation offline if necessary (when harassment, swearing, and/or abusive or untruthful language is used).

  1.     Privacy

Please do not share any information we would not like to be publically visible. This includes any yet to be announced partnerships, events, or possible developments, funding concerns or issues, private in person or email conversations, staff changes, etc. Use common sense- and by all means, ask if you are unsure whether or not something is appropriate to share! 

  1.     Engaging with other sustainable agriculture organizations

Please! As long as you’re abiding by all the other guidelines outlined here, conversation and interaction with other organizations and agencies is not only allowed, it’s welcomed. We’re here to make connections, so please do so. Share resources and help promote others, in the end it will boost our brand as well.

  1.     The 5 “Ws” of Social Media usage:
  • Who – Any internal staff, board, or volunteers at Farmshed who would like to be a part of our online community, as long as they’ve signed this form.
  • When – While you’re on Farmshed’s time.
  • Where – On one of our frequently used channels (see content marketing strategy).
  • Why – To promote the brand. Always keep our mission in mind.
  • What – Farmshed related information, news, stories, ideas, connections, and events. Not personal.
  1.     Ethics

Remember, people communicating through a keyboard or screen are still people. Watch for copyright concerns, know your sources and cite facts or ideas, and be responsible for what you say. Be respectful, honest, lawful, and act with integrity. Use your manners and be nice!

  1.     Availability and Visibility

We pledge to you to keep this document available for consultation.  It is open for feedback and discussion, as we are all on the same team. This document and its content will be updated regularly (and you will as well), as we would like it to remain pertinent to new developments.

 

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(Note: The author is in no way affiliated with Central Rivers Farmshed. The organization was used as an example.)

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5 Comments

  1. I like how you included the part about national and natural disasters…this may not be a concept that is thought about until it happens so it is good to address beforehand. The 5 W’s are also an easy way for employees to remember their guidelines. Very well thought out! And I agree with Zina…I hope your posts are being shared with Farmshed!

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  2. You found a way to perfectly mesh details with layman’s terms. Your policy is well thought out and stated in a non-accusatory way that with a little explanation, everyone could understand. The 5 Ws was my favorite part. Again, very good explanation without any confusion.

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  3. HI

    I need to echo Kate, I love the following, it is so freaking creative! And it also is very true. Know your voice, know your brand.

    “Food policy: Know your farmer, know your food.

    Social media policy: Know your voice, know your brand”

    My other favorite is the following:

    Insensitive/Inappropriate posts

    Internal

    If a staff member, board member, or volunteer makes an inappropriate post, it will be removed immediately. The Executive Director or Board Chair should take action to mend any hurt feelings or issues caused by the insensitivity or inaccuracy. If the post has spread, said supervisor would make quick decisions and communicate with followers as soon as possible. Disciplinary action, including possible termination, may result.

    External

    If an online community member posts a negative comment about the organization, we will work as a team internally to decide the best course of action on a case-by-case basis. Our primary option is to mend the situation while still online. Our secondary option is to take the comment and conversation offline if necessary (when harassment, swearing, and/or abusive or untruthful language is used)

    The above is very, very clear regarding how you will deal with a social media crisis both internally and externally. I also applaud your External content and strategy to decide the best course of action on a case-by-case basis. And that you give a primary and secondary option and both are clear, fair and most importantly helping to protect the brand’s voice, the voice of the community ( both internally and externally) and finally the brand’s value.

    GREAT JOB!

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  4. I loved that your first guideline is giving Farmshed a voice! This is absolutely wonderful since sometimes social media technology can hinder communication and expressions. I also like that you are guiding people to engage with other sustainable agriculture organizations. Often, we can learn so much from others’ successes and failures. We can also work together to implement better strategies and programs. Working together opens up so many doors to success! Great guidelines to follow!

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  5. This is an excellent policy that takes into account specific areas that directly apply to this type of organization and the populations it serves. That said, I love that you thought of and included point number 3. I also love your points about the voice and the 5 Ws. As usual, your post is very well thought-out and well written. I hope that you’re sharing some of this content with Farmshed, even if you’re not formally affiliated!

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