Social Media Guidelines

Advantages of implementing Social Media Guidelines

Here are five major benefits:

  • Provides a way to implement your social media strategy and improve your social media performance.
  • Gives everyone the information they need to work well together.
  • Makes it easier to build your social communities
  • Makes it possible to respond to emergencies before they get out of hand.
  • Ensures your business is being represented correctly & consistently in a neutral manner.

With the right strategy, social media guidelines can have a direct impact on your success.

Social Media Guidelines for Employees

Some companies feel the need to provide their employees with general guidelines on how to use social media for both their personal profiles as well as professional profiles.

These guidelines can simply be reminders of what’s considered confidential information or information that could have legal ramifications if shared on social networks in any format.

Social Media Guidelines for Social Media Team

The people interacting and engaging on social media can benefit greatly with guidelines adapted to your business needs.

On one hand, the people interacting on behalf of your company must:

  • Be knowledgeable of various legal terms and what they mean in your business environment, such as defamation, endorsements, intellectual property, and any form of wrongful disclosure
  • Be aware of global implications of your online communication
  • Avoid inappropriate comments about competitors or others online

On the other hand, they must also:

  • Remain positive
  • Be helpful and add value
  • Be transparent

And in addition to this, they are entrusted with cultivating relationships and building community on your social media profiles.

It’s not always easy to balance all of these criteria, especially for people new to social media. And this is where good guidelines can be critical.

Facebook Guidelines & Etiquette

  1. Complete all aspects of your Facebook profile.
    Social media accounts that are partially completed or vague are harder to take seriously because they appear less professional. Choose a name or handle that clearly identifies you and your business, and take the extra few minutes to carefully fill out the ‘About You’ sections.
  2. Don’t confuse your clients, potential customers or your staff with multiple profiles on the same network. Whilst it may be beneficial to have a presence on all social media platforms, having multiple or duplicate profiles on the same network can be very difficult to manage and generally only causes confusion.
  3. Never post on other peoples, groups or business pages telling them to go and like your Facebook page.
  4. When it comes to business stay away from politics & religion. Ensure you do not post anything that comes into this bracket, its also important to ensure you never like or comment on anything religious or political.
  5. Maintain a high standard of unique and fresh content, stay away from spam or duplicate content. Never copy other company or industry status updates verbatim.
  6. Never promote yourself or your business during a local or national tragedy. At times like these, people on social media are reacting & grieving to tragedy, it may be best to cancel any scheduled posts out of respect.
  7. Don’t post multiple posts in a very short period of time. Space your posts out, at least 2-3 hours apart is standard practice. It’s usually best to have designated times set for your posts to go out. (Times that have been tested with a positive response)
  8. Complaining, moaning, or arguing on Facebook never looks classy and can seriously damage a company’s reputation.
  9. Try to mix up your posts – use a variety of content, ideas and posts. Constant sales posts or business promotional posts will get boring and lead to unlikes by your followers. Offer more, offer information, offer competitions, and offer humour & relevance.
  10. If you want to share somebody’s post or information without clicking the share button, make sure you at least tag their page in your post referencing them.
  11. As a business, it may be advisable to provide information on your Facebook page that mentions the expected time within which people should expect a reply from not only your Facebook page, but contact email or other forms of communication. (Then ensure you stick to these time-frames) This way you are setting the right level of expectation and upset anyone if your time frame isn’t what others expected to begin with. It will also build trust & credibility by addressing posts, private mail’s and emails in a timely manner. Setting expectations upfront on social platforms can help prevent a lot of unnecessary comments around your company & brand.

Additional Guidelines & Etiquette for Twitter

  1. Follow only people of relevance that will be interested in your business.
    It is also advisable to unfollow or remove any irrelevant, spam or inappropriate followers that follow your profile. (celebs, comedy profiles, unprofessional accounts)
  2. Use no more than 140 characters. Don’t tweet two or three part tweets. And refrain from shortening tweets by using abbreviations or poor grammar.
    For example; Do not write ‘2’ instead of ‘to’ , and do not write ‘l8r’ instead of ‘later’.
    Using 70-100 characters, from research seems to be best practice and has a much better engagement rate. The reason for this is that when people retweet you tweet, there has been left just enough room for them to add a personal note or message to the tweet, keeping it just below 140 characters.
  3. As with all other Social Media profiles, refrain from bad language, political and religious views, and most importantly don’t favourite or re-tweet anything that may cause offence or tarnish your brand. Try to keep a neutral and positive personality with your Twitter account.
  4. Don’t buy followers. Ever!

Additional Guidelines & Etiquette for Instagram

  1. Don’t ask people to follow you or use hashtags like #tagsforlikes – it’s unprofessional.
  2. Don’t overgram. No one likes their feed filled up with one user.
  3. Use hashtags for your brand appropriately. The golden number of hashtags is apparently 10/11 hashtags.
  4. Follow (& be followed by) appropriate accounts. Remember to stay away from accounts that relate to religion, politics, sex, violence, comedy, or touchy subjects with the general public.
  5. Don’t buy followers. Ever!

Additional Guidelines & Etiquette for Pinterest

  1. Don’t neglect to provide good descriptions for your pins.
  2. Always link back to the original source and give credit.
  3. Don’t use images that have nothing to do with your click through content to get more pins or clicks.
  4. Don’t pin just your own material.
  5. Remember to stay away from pins that relate to religion, politics, sex, violence, inappropriate comedy, or touchy subjects with the general public.

Additional Guidelines & Etiquette for Linkedin

  1. Personalise your connection requests. Tell them WHY you’re connecting.
  2. Once connected, send a SHORT “welcome” message.
  3. Don’t join groups and immediately start selling yourself.
  4. Don’t ignore the more professional tone of the network.
  5. Offer content, information, advice, ideas in the way of blogs & article updates.

Additional Guidelines & Etiquette for Google+ 

  1. Always +mention users when commenting on their posts.
  2. When sharing a post, always add your own commentary to it first.
  3. Share to Circles to target your content.
  4. Use Google+ formatting for your text—bold, italics, and strikethrough.
    (Details of this can be provided)