Time to Create Social Media Community Guidelines
To Your Community and Brand Be True
"The times are real out here in these social media streets." Is how I'd phrase this were I a Southern rapper. It twas the worst of times after the best of times. Is how I'd phrase this were I beholden to the literary styles of Charles Dickens. Truth is, I fall somewhere between K'wan, Toni Morrison, and C.S. Lewis with a hint of Shakespeare chased by Angelou, as an independent author. When it comes to my professional writing as a content marketing specialist I'm all about that base... and no trouble.
I didn't misspell base... My focus is on the base of the online community engaged with my employer (or client). Which should be your primary focus, too. Yes, things are kinda muffed up on social media with the extremists from all political ideologies making everything - political. Times like these are rife with opportunity to solidify your voice. Unless you're core business is rooted in politics there is no need to be distracted. Take a page from Shakespeare. To meeting the needs of your social community, your company mission, and brand be true.
Give Yourself Permission to Address or Ignore Trolls
Once you have decided where you stand, don't move. If you've established a snarky Twitter persona, tow the line, and keep a legal professional available by IM. If you've decided to stay neutral then grab some chocolate and put on blinders if you become caught in the crosshairs of a troll or troll group. These aren't your garden variety snacks for Bergens. Whether a bot or bonafide obsessed private citizen, be consistent in how you respond to them. Address them or ignore them, and allow the community to correct bad behavior. Whatever you do, be consistent and make it valuable to your community.
Post Your Guidelines Where They Can Be Seen
"Regulators.... mount up." Warren G said it best back in the 90s. Make your policy regarding your company's policy on company to user engagement, commenter to commenter interaction and everything in between, crystal clear. You have a responsibility to your community to respect the mission, brand and need you meet during online communication. Whether you want to reinforce your commitment to free speech by allowing all comments a home or prefer on topic posts only, be clear, and consistent in how you regulate the public areas of your brand. Post a link to the social media community interaction guidelines on each social media platform. Provide a clear link on your homepage. Make it easy for visitors to find out where you stand or why your social media professional responds in the approved manner.
Make It Easy to Understand
Be clear. Make where you stand on harassment, endorsement, interaction, and everything else able to happen on social media clear in your community guidelines. Give your readers what they want when they come looking for a reason why you haven't engaged or just insulted them better than the Wendy's Twitter handler. Be concise, honest and always considerate of your social media goal. It's all fun and games until you go viral for an easy to avoid situation on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or SnapChat. Keyboard courage is as intoxicating as other types of power. Provide understandable expectations for your brand's social platforms to meet your communities need. Make it easy to understand, for your social media professionals and on yourself.