s your organization prepared for worst case scenarios regarding your marketing and communications? We’ve seen it time and time again. Businesses may put out a tweet that is disrespectful or offensive to a community, unsatisfied clients may decide to express themselves with less than favorable comments of an organization, or someone posts a picture on Facebook that they shouldn’t have.
If this is your first time thinking about any of these scenarios, it’s time to begin the process of drafting policies.
Social Media Policy
Whether your organization is large with 100+ employees or small with less than 15, having a social media policy is imperative. According to social media automation company Hootsuite, “A social media policy outlines how an organization and its employees should conduct themselves online. ”
Questions to consider:
If something happens in the organization, can employees post their personal thoughts on their own Facebook pages? Or, are they expected not to?
What if an employee displays inappropriate behavior on their personal social media account? Will this impact their role in the organization? Is it grounds for termination?
Do you expect your employees to follow or like your social media pages?
Photo Restriction Policy
Social media is about posting photos and videos in real-time. However, because of the need to keep audiences updated about the organization, potential mistakes can be made. This is why it’s important to have a photo restriction policy. Photo restriction policies depend on the type of organization. For example, your organization may work with animals and may not put emphasis on hiding animal photos, but rather protecting the identity of volunteers. On the other hand, your organization may work with domestic violence victims or children, and under no circumstances can have their photos taken.
Questions to consider:
When your organization holds an event, is everyone expected to protect their own identity if they see a camera? Will a sign that says, “ Photos and videos are currently being taken” suffice? Will it be your responsibility to create a process for those individuals who don’t want video or photos taken?
When you want to publish videos/photos on your social media, website, or email, do you notify clients ahead of time to get permission, even though they have already signed a photo release form?
What happens if a client’s photo is accidentally published somewhere? What is the process for removing that photo? What additional steps need to take place to ensure it doesn’t happen again?
Crisis Communication Policy
No one wants to be on reactive end of a crisis. The purpose of a crisis communication policy is to have a solid plan in the event of a crisis. When creating a crisis expand your thinking about what should be considered a “crisis.” Often, when the phrase “crisis communications” is seen or heard, minds automatically go to natural disasters or catastrophic events.
Questions to consider:
Who are the key people that will have a role in implementing the plan?
Who are my audiences? What channels will we use to reach them?
What is considered a crisis? Is it something that has taken place on social media? Is it something that affects the organization as a whole? Is it something that has taken place in proximity to your organization?
How often will we review this policy and procedure?
To create your marketing and communications policies, think about the following steps:
- Identify who needs to be at the table to help draft the plan.
- List key audiences and the channels that will be used to communicate with them.
- Determine what is the actual process or plan? What steps need to happen to get you from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’?
- Name the key staff who will be in the plan and their roles.
- Document your plan.
- Review your plan. Let additional eyes look at it. They may provide a perspective you hadn’t thought about.
- Present the plan to your staff.
- Revisit the plan at least twice per year.
It may feel daunting to sit down and plan for the worst. Nonetheless, it’s important to have systems and policies outlined ahead of time so your organization can focus on the problem at hand. After all, it’s always better to have something and not need it than to need something and not have it.
Aleshia Patterson is the Editor-in-Chief of Nonprofit Marketing Magazine. She has served in the nonprofit sector for almost a decade. She currently works as a Marketing and Communications Coordinator for a local nonprofit in Saint Louis, MO. In her spare time, Aleshia loves to travel, binge watch Netflix, and go on Office Depot excursions.