Leveraging social media for government communications is an effective, low-cost solution that’s gained momentum in the last several years. Creating a social media policy for government agencies is a critical step in implementing an ongoing digital engagement strategy for citizens.
Although there’s no way of knowing exactly what situations might arise on social media, it’s important to have a protocol in place to help guide social media moderators and managers.
When creating your agency’s social media policy, consider these tips and best practices:
- Work together. Get your public affairs, legal and regulatory specialists, IT gurus, and social media experts together to discuss potential challenges, and best ways to handle different scenarios, including crisis communications. A team approach is helpful in this instance since you are able to gather insights from people who have varying skill sets and a solid understanding of the agency’s mission.
- Create general protocols and site-specific guidelines. For the most part, your social media policy should focus on the big picture: roles and responsibilities, legal compliance and regulations to be aware of, and the general purpose of the social media presence. But, in addition to an outline of general policies and procedures, site-specific written guidelines are also helpful. This level of detail can help current (and future) social media moderators and managers understand what exactly they are doing on each platform, how they are doing it, and why.
- Have regular review periods and make updates. With the ever-changing landscape of social media, there will undoubtedly be changes to not only your agency’s strategy, but the social media platforms themselves along the way. It’s good practice to review and update your social media policy at least every six months. Some experts say it’s best to let everyone on the team review the policy together as a team, and then separately as well before finalizing and implementing any changes.
Interested in learning more? Join your peers at Government Social Media: Driving Results in Washington, D.C. on February 29-March 2, 2016.