Policy. Sounds like a stodgy term that can be daunting if you think about it too long, but that needn’t be the case. When it comes to creating a policy to drive the social media efforts of your small business, you can make it as long or short, as complicated or simple as you like. The main goal here is to set some guidelines for managing social media presences as you go forward with this avenue for reaching out to your customers.

With social media being all the rage these days, it is vital that you engage your small business customers with high-quality communication in your social media outlets. The creation of a policy doesn’t need to be a dictatorship, as a great policy can be formed by a team approach – tap in to the minds of partners and co-workers for ideas and suggestions. It isn’t as simple as “if xx happens, then do yy.” Social media can be unpredictable, so start off by creating a basic policy and allow for it to expand as you learn more about the needs for your small business.

Here are a few suggestions for creating a social media policy for a small business”

  • Decide which of the myriad of social media websites you wish to employ. You can dive right in and get on as many as possible, or you can take baby steps and start with Facebook and Twitter, then expand your reach as you get more comfortable with those platforms.
  • Use a social media calendar to manage your activity. You can learn more about social media calendars for small businesses by reading our recent post on the subject.
  • Determine the objectives for using social media for your small business. In other words, do you want to be posting on a regular basis. Industry news? Special events? Sales and promotions? General whimsical comments that are industry-related? Platform for conversations? This is an area that can evolve as you learn more about the wants and needs of your small business customer base.
  • Set the tone of your social media presence. Do you want your small business posts to be professional and rigid in tone, infused with a personal voice, or off the cuff and humor-laden?
  • Regardless of which tone you choose to go with, it is important to handle customer comments and complaints with the utmost levels of professionalism, especially the complaints. They say the customer is always right, and while that is not always the case, you want them to feel like they are right. Address their issues with a positive voice and try to get to the root of the issue without coming off as being defensive.
  • Assign the task of managing social media for your small business to one or two individuals. You know the adage about too many cooks in the kitchen, and the same applies here. In order to keep the messages consistent, it is important to have as few people as possible tinkering with your social media.

These are just some basic pointers when creating a social media policy for small businesses. The specifics will come with time as you learn what fits best with your particular small business and the industry it is in. Go into this project knowing that the policy it not etched in stone and it can be grown or reduced when your small business sees fit.

About the Author: Irina Kabigting is Pagemodo’s Marketing and Social Media Manager. Get more from Irina on Pagemodo’s Blog and Google+.

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