Getting started on social media

Having a presence on social networks such as Facebook or Twitter can be a great opportunity to engage new and existing clients. However, it’s not essential that you’re on every social network. For many organisations wanting to use social media, starting out with Facebook may be an easy first option. Before getting started, though, it’s important to put your plans in place.

Questions to ask before choosing a social network

Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or any of the multitude of social networks, it’s important to answer these questions before committing to be present on there.

  1. Does it fit within our online communication strategy?
  2. Do we have an active audience to engage with on this social network?
  3. Do we have the skills and knowledge to maintain this presence?
  4. How will we measure the value of this social network?

Developing a social media policy

While there are many benefits of being active on social media, there are some risks. When publishing information online, it is important that your organisation adheres to legal and ethical standards, and privacy laws.

Developing a policy for the use of social media by your staff is an important step in making sure you reduce the risks associated with being active on social media.

When communicating or publishing content online on your website or social media, it’s best to approach it as if you were talking to a client in a public space. It’s likely that there will be other people listening in (reading what you write).

Some things to keep in mind when publishing content (comments, posts, sharing) online:

  • Consider all your posts are public
  • Expect that other people are ‘listening in’ (i.e. reading what you’re writing)
  • Consider all your posts to be permanently online. Even if you delete a comment or post, there’s no way to stop people from taking a screenshot (e.g. a copy) of what you posted.
  • The above points also relate to private communications!
  • There is a risk that conversations can be taken out of context
  • Text communication can be misinterpreted. Be clear, concise and unambiguous.

Equipped with an understanding of posting on social media, you can now develop a social media policy designed to keep your staff and organisation safe online and ensure that your communications with clients are well formulated. Read more about planning your online communications.