Social Media Guidelines that Fit

It was just visiting weekend at my son's overnight camp in Maine, and since I have more energy than brains, we stayed at a resort in New Hampshire that is two hours from both the Manchester Airport and my son's camp.

New Hampshire's motto is “Live Free or Die,” a sentiment I personally subscribe to—although I know there are always exceptions to the rule. When it comes to debates some of us are having about social media guidelines, even with my leanings toward the Granite State's slogan, I think the average multifamily industry company will benefit from clearly defining and articulating its social media standards in an official policy.

I didn't always feel this way, but I recently changed my mind after hearing a good reason why one of our clients wasn't interested in maintaining a Facebook page. It turns out that they did have one, but decided to pull the plug after reviewing photos the staff had posted which were, in management's opinion, inappropriate. My guess is that the staff wasn't doing anything intentionally wrong, and that management is very conservative, but that is beside the point. The damage was done because unwritten, unknowable rules were broken.

Figure out what your company's standards are, codify them, and then communicate your guidelines to everyone. In some organizations, management can trust staff members to use their best judgment and everything will work out fine; however, marketing departments of publicly traded companies may not be able to get by risk management without an iron-clad policy. Like everything else, social media standards are not a one size fits all proposition.