The first thing that comes to mind when I think of a social media policy is some big, intimidating (and dense) document that strikes fear into the hearts of all employees, volunteers or board members affiliated with an organization. That probably stems from my time working in school district communications where you always hear horror stories of employees inappropriately “friending” students on Facebook or getting a little too personal in their photo sharing – and the policies reflected that.
That’s why after I left the school district world and starting working for KCTS 9, I was happy to see that their draft social media policy was written in plain English and sounded…approachable! The social media policy (though I can’t link to it because it’s not online) is based off of PEMCO’s social media policy. You know, the “We’re a little different” team who has made quite a statement with their marketing and social media campaigns here in the Pacific Northwest.
The policy reflects that they’re talking to adults and says things like: “be smart, be trustworthy, be respectful, have fun.” Their guiding principles are straight forward but good reminders. For example: use common sense, be thoughtful about how you present yourself in online social networks, use your own voice, use good judgment, don’t forget your day job, etc.They also remind employees to act no differently using these technologies than they normally would as a representative of the organization – and mention that one major difference is that every conversation is permanently recoverable.
I appreciate this type of guiding document. It’s policy – but it’s easy to understand, treats employees like adults and makes social media seem approachable.
I was particularly interested in looking at social media policies for universities and government agencies. I looked through the list that Kat posted (thank you Kat!) and predictably found many of these social media policies/guidelines to be excessively long, dense documents. Like most policy documents they appear to be based on the fear and expectation that people are going to do something wrong and the policy needs to address all the possible wrongness that can be wrought and to a certain extent provide CYA for the organization when the wrong does happen and it blows up.
Here is a Social Media Policy that HR asked me to pull together for our company. I think it went over well with the executive staff and lawyer because it is not very long, it’s educational and it is written in our voice. We actually had multiple incidents with a certain employee but couldn’t do anything because there was no policy in place. I did a ton of research before this was written: Good – Gap, Bad – Coca-Cola.
FAR BANK SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDELINES v2.1
Even in the old school world of the fly fishing industry, it is no longer possible to imagine our society without the Internet. Social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and discussion boards have become an integral part of everyday life for millions of people around the world.
The practice of social marketing is becoming increasingly more important for the Far Bank brands. As the Far Bank brands grow to serve their customers well beyond a website or a printed catalog, social media is an increasingly important aspect of our interaction and transparency with consumers.
Environmental scan done of similar research/opposing viewpoint type sites, both free on the web and subscription sites available through libraries. Scan identified some strengths and weaknesses of each site and informed the content structure and elements for my project.
Focus-grouped my wife who works with community college students about needs from the project and perceived strengths and weaknesses of existing products. Did a brainstorm session of what elements would be desired, useful and pie-in-the-sky. This interview further informed the content structure and elements for the project.
Developed a rough plan for content elements for each ‘article’ including metadata elements used for navigation, cross-referencing, and search.
Because of the nature of the content structure I decided to build the site in Drupal so I could better control each content field and build different views of the content.
I have a domain name for the site and installed Drupal, but there is nothing yet to see on the site.
The project site is (will be) at:
I have found that it has only taken me 8 months to get past the technical hurdles, now my issues are mostly revolving around the fact that the client doesn’t have a vision for the website, instead merely wanting to have one to get on with her primary objective of farming.
That’s fair, I’m not much for farming myself, so it all works out.
Still that means that the design process has become a great deal of scribbling on paper prototypes and trying to remain focused to the point of teasing out the basics of what would work well, what she would like to see, etc. Also troubling is that we have no photographs and no graphic designer, so I’m filling in there as well: badly.
Still, I’m down to the point that I know she wan’t a website based on WordPress twenty-eleven, that she has a basic header design and that our background will be dirt and our foreground will be vegetables.
Find some dirt, Find some Veggies, take pictures of both, mix them into a WordPress child theme, add text content and revise liberally.
Where has the quarter gone? I’m finding this is taking a lot more time than I anticipated. Not only is there a ton of existing content and analytics to sift through but I’m also still having to regularly write blog posts, produce videos or other digital content, update web content, post on social media and am now in the middle of filling out next year’s workplan and budgets (drafts due by Friday).
As a result, I feel like I’ve barely had time to get through the analysis and write out the plans I have for each platform (currently rattling around aimlessly in my brain). Is there a “pause” button I can push somewhere? I’m afraid there’s not, but here’s where I am so far:
I thought it would be fun to post what we’ve been doing, as well as giving Kathy updates via email. I’ve been really interested in what y’all are up to, so post updates!