Social Media Training

Government Social Media Workshop: What is a Social Media Policy and Why Do You Need One?

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Debba Haupert

Oct 13 2015

Social Media Policy Blog Post header

A few years ago, government communications departments (PIOs, Communications Officers, government agencies) used traditional media for communication with their constituents and communities. Press releases, TV/radio/newspaper interviews, and press conferences gave the government official’s/agency’s positioning on topics/updates.

Social media has changed all that! Now the population gets their news online and on their phones. Real-time updates and social conversations are the norm. Newspapers are declining, social media networks continue to grow in usage, and, in general, the population is online and believes what they see on social media.

The changing landscape of communication from traditional to digital, and the legal ramifications of social networks and communications, demands that government officials and agencies create and follow social media policies.

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There is no cookie cutter governmental social media policy. Each department and organization must take their specific situation, as well as digital  strategies and goals in mind. We’ve worked with several governmental groups on  their social media policies (from park boards to mayoral teams, PIOs to emergency  and health services) – and each social media policy for a government organization is  different.

A Governmental Social Media Policy covers:

  • Who can be the voice of the department/official in social media. What they can/can’t share, who they can follow/like/share, etc. (They also need to create a social media strategy in addition to the policy.)
  • Guidelines for all employees of the organization and their social media usage, and disclaimers.
  • Privacy guidelines for government agencies in social media. Not only HIPAA but general privacy policies on what can be shared about other employees, officials, residents, partners, volunteers, etc.
  • Use of logos and endorsements.
  • Photo rights and guidelines – for the general public, government officials, and employees.

A Social Media Policy for government officials/agencies protects the individual and/or organization from negative situations and potential legalities that could arise.

Need help with your government social media policy, we’d love to work with you. Boot Camp Digital offers social media and digital marketing training, speaking and social media policy workshops. Contact us to work together on a social media policy for your government organization.

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