Today, the importance of an all-encompassing social media policy is paramount and should reflect the brand’s mission, vision, and values. These components are of the utmost importance, truly serving to inform the brand’s culture, or how it seeks to interact internally and externally, and its code of conduct, which will define what is and is not acceptable with regard to this culture. That said, if your brand does not yet have a mission or vision statement or a set of core values, I would suggest gathering your team together and begin defining that which is important to you collectively. Since all are involved, not only will this increase team loyalty and trust, but it will also make it much easier to create an effective and inclusive social media policy.
The following is an example of a concise set of guidelines intended for front-line service industry workers:
Service Industry Social Media Guidelines
- This is your brand, too. You are a welcome representative of it! Anything that you can add to the public discourse that reflects positively and stimulates conversation is encouraged and appreciated. [Read: If it is not constructive, it has no business being conveyed while you are communicating on behalf of this brand.]
- We trust you to use your time with us productively. During periods when you are not actively helping a customer or team member, you are able and encouraged to use such time to promote the brand if you so desire. Feel free to be a brand ambassador! [Read: Customers are always first priority, second is supporting your team. Engaging in social media in the workplace is a right that we make available to you, but it does not extend into the personal realm.]
- We are a family. If an aspect of your work is negatively impacting you, we urge you to speak to management or human resources immediately so that it can be remedied. Let’s work together to create and sustain a healthy environment where we can all thrive! [Read: Internal affairs are not an appropriate subject for public discussion.]
Any misuse or abuse of the above stated guidelines will result in disciplinary action.
These guidelines will be updated as necessary and any changes will always be made available to you at the time of revision.
If you have any questions, concerns, or ideas, please let us know!
What I have included here is a policy that is intentionally brief so that it is easy to remember and follow. The above strategy utilizes language that stresses inclusivity, creating a sense of community and brand ownership. As previously mentioned, I recommend involving as many employees in the policy-creation process as possible in order to build a culture of trust, openness, and cooperation. If this is not feasible, at least those employees that are receiving the information will appreciate that these guidelines are not intended to restrict freedoms, but are instead a necessary brand safeguard.
The following is another set of succinct guidelines, this time intended for service industry middle management:
Social Media Protocol for Service Industry Management
In addition to the aforementioned guidelines, here is a supplement intended for persons in management positions with the brand:
- WOWing our customers with ninja-like response times. We agree to address direct customer feedback within one business day, and indirect feedback (via third party websites) within the week. In an effort to further build the brand and its ambassador base, we will go out of our way to reward positive comments. Let’s make it easy for them to support us and spread the word!
- Acknowledge the customer, and respond accordingly. When responding to customer concerns or complaints, it is imperative that we apologize on behalf of the brand and ask what can be done to rectify the situation. If a customer is being abusive, refrain from reacting and promptly report the matter to upper management where it will be addressed. Our customers are very important to us, but so are you!
- Wait to circulate what we’re cooking. We have a lot to share, but we want to be on the same page and make sure that we have new products and ideas just right before making them public. We agree to keep certain things to ourselves until the brand decides that promotion is the next step. Sometimes timing is everything!
As you can see, the above policy employs language of a slightly more professional nature, but it is still very inclusive and emphasizes employee support as well as customer satisfaction. The subject matter is also specific to those with added responsibility and authority, whose direct representation of the brand will result in reaching strategic goals. Again, let your employees have some input as to what they can do to support and enhance the brand. It’s not only your customers that you want to engage through social media, it’s your staff members as well.