How To Create Guidelines for Brand Management on Social Media

By on May 25, 2011
Gold Brand

As a small business owner you’ll know all about strategic brand management, which is really just handling how people perceive your business. There are always best practices when it comes to traditional branding, and using social media is no different. Your business needs to establish guidelines, so that the people working with your social media understand your goals, objectives and policies. Here’s where to begin.


#1: Your Social Media Goals

The first thing you need to do is define your social media goals, and then prioritize the ones that matter most. There are a lot of reasons why businesses use social media. Your goals could be to source new clients, to hear what your clients are talking about, to educate and share information with them, for market research, to drive traffic or to build a fan base online.

Any one of these can be your main focus. Most businesses begin with – build a community. You can’t begin marketing, listening, interacting or selling without one. Write in a word document exactly what your business is trying to achieve with social media. Make it your social mission statement.


#2: Investigate Best Practices and Use Them

Explore each platform, learn as much as you can – and then put together a ‘best practices’ document that outlines the do’s and don’ts for your employees. Include general information, and the info that’s more specific to your niche. If you want your brand perceived in a certain way – make sure to infuse your document with rules about tone, language, content, graphics and multimedia.


#3: Social Media is Just The Beginning

Part of your social media campaign is going to include working with outside social media applications or management programs. You’ll need to include a ‘best practices’ for these sites too. Social monitoring and analytics programs can be misused, so find out how, to nip any abuse in the bud before it happens. Keep your brand identity firmly in mind when you create this document.


#4: Feedback From Experts

You’re not a social media expert, and let’s be honest – you’re busy. In this case you can either hire an expert to help you draft your brand management guidelines, or get in touch with a community that will help you for free. LinkedIn is a great place to get free advice from people that understand branding and social media. Use them! It can only help you produce a better set of guidelines.

Finally, keep your document a work-in-progress. Ask the people that are working with your social media to make notes as they go along. Things will crop up all the time that you’ll want to include in your policy document.

Sometimes it will be something small, like the rules regarding comment moderation on your blog – and sometimes it will be something huge that you learn through practice. They all contribute, and eventually you’ll end up with a great set of brand management guidelines for use on your social media sites.

What is your biggest brand no-no on social media sites? Can you think of one? Let’s discuss it below!

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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