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Should you change your nonprofit’s Facebook profile image to show support of a hot political issue? What do you do if someone comments with a racial slur on a photo of your volunteer? How do you react if you find your page to be the victim of the ever-dreaded troll?
As they say, “With any social media profile, comes great responsibility.” (Just kidding, no one really says that. But they should!)
If you have ever found yourself in one of these situations, then you know that making a wrong or inconsistent decision can have disastrous results. And those disastrous results are very, very public. Having a social media policy in place will help you answer these questions, and inform you or your social media manager on what to do in similar situations. And it’s extremely easy to create.
What’s in a social media policy?
Every nonprofit’s policy is going to be different, because every nonprofit has different needs, different audiences, different missions, and different campaign goals. But to give you an example of what a social media policy consists of, here’s a sample of the ASU Lodestar Center’s:
How to write your policy
Idealware has a fantastic workbook that will help you write your social media policy by taking you through the different sections step-by-step. It gives examples throughout, and gives multiple recommendations of how you could respond to the questions. And did I mention that it’s specifically for nonprofits?
After you’ve answered all of the questions, you simply type everything up into comprehensive paragraphs (don’t worry, Idealware has a template for that, too), and then you’re done! We took about an hour to fill out the workbook, and then another hour to finalize it.
It is crucial that you consistently apply whatever rules you create – I can’t stress this enough. Inconsistent or sporadic social media management is often the cause of scandal and bad press. Since so much constituent interaction is done on social media these days, having these policies in place will make it easier to brave any social media storms that may come your way, including standing up to those silly internet trolls. It’s never too early or too late to have these policies in place!
Colleen Dunbar is a project specialist in the ASU Lodestar Center's marketing/communications department, and is the president and founder of the ASU Nonprofit Professionals Alumni Club. She is currently completing her master of arts degree in communications studies at Arizona State University. Originally hailing from Vancouver, Canada, Colleen is striving to make a difference and give back to her community through a career in nonprofit public relations. Connect with Colleen on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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Read Kayla McKinney's, "Jungle of Trolls: Coping with Social Media Disasters, Controversies, and Blunders."