As the use of social media becomes more ubiquitous among nonprofit organizations, the need for nonprofit social media policies is also increasing.
Two weeks ago I attended a presentation by War Child Canada outlining their strategy for a blogging challenge. At the presentation they also talked about the need for a social media policy - a set of guidelines that "governs the publication of and commentary on social media by all War Child Canada employees and staff".
A social media policy might be useful for a variety of reasons:
- To create a unified strategy across multiple social media networks
- For nonprofits who have offices in different physical locations
- To maintain privacy or security online
- To create a consistent brand and voice
- To adhere to a code of conduct, copyright or standard of ethics
- As an exercise to define social media procedures and opportunities
Though policies are often synonymous with complex and impersonal documents full of corporate jargon, they don't have to be. A policy can be a simple set of guidelines about how to act, respond, share and engage on the social web.
A basic social media policy may contain the following elements:
Introduction - explain the purpose and goals of the social media policy document and identify why it is a necessity for your nonprofit.
Best Practices - identify how you expect your employees and constituents to act on your organization's behalf. Define acceptable and unacceptable conduct related to sharing, posting, commenting/discussion, promotion, language, images, advertising, etc. This section could also contain a code of conduct - a set of rules and expectations that you want your employees to live up to.
Copyright - outline how you expect images, videos, logos and other promotional material that you own the rights to should be used or references
Communities - compile a list of places that you "exist" online. Define the intent or goals of each community and any specific policies that relate to the social media networks.
Contact - where can employees go or who can they contact for more information.
Social Media Policy Examples
- International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies - Social Media Guidelines
- War Child - Social Media Policy
- Rough Draft of a Socila Media Policy
- Creating a Social Media Policy for your Nonprofit
- Where's your Org's Social Media Policy
- Social Media in the Nonprofit Workplace: Does your Organization Need a Social Media Policy?
- Tips for Writing your First Social Media Policy
- Social Media Policies Superlist