Living in the peak of digital existence makes Warren Buffet’s timeless quote more appropriate than ever, "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” Social media is an incredible tool to raise brand awareness about your nonprofit’s mission, fundraise and generate leads; however, it can be a speaker box for amplifying reputational mishaps. Read on for vital tools to incorporate into your policies and procedures, which require limited resources, to help your nonprofit stay socially intelligent and publically unscathed.
House Rules. List your social media guidelines and policies in the “About Us” section of each platform. It should be clear what your community norms are to promote a respectful public and private-facing discourse. This also provides your visitors with a point of reference in the event of activating your escalation process to remove or address any content that detracts from your policies.
Monitor for Copycats. Perform due diligence to ensure your organization’s social media profile has not been duplicated. There are many reasons why your nonprofit’s profile could be copied, ranging from dissatisfied employees to cyber attacks. Regularly search your company’s name across your social media channels. If you uncover an unauthorized account, use the platform’s help center to remediate the issue. Also, include a provision in your policy that prohibits employees from creating profiles that use your organization’s name.
Class is in Session. Empowering your employees to be company advocates can be a great way to get the word out about your nonprofit. However, teach every level of your staff that when they post under professional profiles that their comments reflect the company.
Tune in to the chatter. Knowing what people are saying about your brand across social media will help you protect your reputation. It may be worth investing in a social listening platform to discover any disparaging comments made about your nonprofit in as close to real time as possible.
Responses for the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Audience engagement is an important Key Performance Indicator. Encourage visitors to interact with your content and each other, but have a clear process for how both positive and negative comments posted publically and privately are handled. You may choose to engage with every user, or respond only to the negative comments. Regardless, you must have a contingency plan for any negative comments that you either choose to address immediately, or archive for future reference. Be mindful that there may be instances in which seeking legal counsel before replying is necessary to avoid a possible social media blunder.
Security Risk. Following best practices with secure passwords, not disclosing proprietary or confidential information in a public forum are vital aspects of creating a sound social media policy.
For more information on how to establish and maintain your nonprofit’s credibility contact a member of our Not-For-Profit Services Group, for tailored solutions to fit your organization’s unique needs and budget.