What’s Your Policy?
Get Thee To A Social Media Policy
Social media is a great tool for local governments to communicate with the people they serve. Board meeting announcements, notices of recently enacted laws, upcoming community events and critical information during disasters are just a few examples of how municipal officials are using their Twitter, Facebook and other social media assets. It’s a great way to directly interact with constituents.
But how do you ensure that all the posts and messages suitably reflect your community? Just like other traditional communication tools (i.e., press releases, websites, emails), it’s important to make sure that your staff is trained and informed so that the messaging on social media is properly aligned with the character of the municipality and is appropriate for the audience it’s intended for.
It’s highly recommended by social media experts that all organizations, especially local governments, should develop and implement a social media policy.
What Makes A Good Policy?
While each community has its own goals and purposes for using social media, there are general elements that make up an effective policy. Recent research by the Center for Technology in Government at SUNY, Albany suggests the following “8 Essential Elements for an Effective Government Social Media Policy”
- Employee access
- Account management
- Acceptable use
- Employee conduct
- Legal issues
- Citizen conduct
Need More Help?
A quick Google search will provide a list of good resources to help you begin learning about writing a policy for your social media activity. To get you started, listed below are just a few examples that provide details, suggestions, and best practices for social media policies:
- Social Media Toolkit (Florida League of Cities)
- Social Media and Community Development: Usage and Best Practices (PA Times)
- Study: 8 Essential Elements for an Effective Government Social Media Policy (Government Technology)
- Model social media policy (Fairfax County, Virginia)