Remember the old saying “a second on the lips, a lifetime on the hips?” Well with social media and online communications that minor indiscretion is visible much faster, and for much longer than that extra glass of red wine or piece of chocolate!
We all do things occasionally that we’re not proud of, and in the heat of the moment it can be easy to post something online that in the cool light of day turns out to be a really really bad idea.
And what might have been (barely) acceptable from an individual (personal) account (after all we all make mistakes) can be the kiss of death when it is a company account.
That’s where creating a social media / online communications policy for your business can be a good idea, even if your business consists of just you! Write down now, before you get too far into the social media game, just what you want to communicate online.
It can be as simple as:
- I will avoid anything to do with the golden three: no sex, politics or religion.
- Would I be happy with my face next to this tweet, update, blog post on a billboard next to a busy highway where everyone I know in real life is going to see it?
- Or even would my [insert beloved but slightly conservative relative] be proud of me right now if they could read what I just wrote?
It doesn’t have to be War and Peace, in fact it is best if it is as short and sweet as possible especially if there are a couple of people on your team with access to the online communication accounts. Making it short and to the point makes it much more likely that your team will actually remember the policy.
Think about your customers when you’re creating this social media policy and your company’s image as well – the more conservative your industry, customers and brand the more conservative your social media policy. But, if your business is actually something to do with sex, politics and/or religion then hey, tweet up a storm in those areas!
Remember, whilst authenticity is a great way (and indeed the only way) to attract and engage your customers, ‘letting it all hang out’ may not always be the best policy when maintaining your online communications.
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