Updating a social media policy

In 2013 I write a post about how I had created a Social Media Policy for my workplace. I have decided to revisit the social media policy in this blog because there have since been some amendments. These include the addition of an exit strategy and measuring success.

Exit Strategy

It was after attending a training session on social media that I realised it was a good idea to add an exit strategy to my library’s policy. It already discusses factors to consider when choosing which social media platform is best for you to set up but what happens when you realise that the profile is not serving its purpose or that the provider cancels the service?

My research showed that this area of a social media policy was relatively simple in its options:

a) close the profile down completely

b) leave the profile open but make a note so that visitors can see that it is no longer updated

If the profile was rarely updated and had little or no useful information, it is probably safe to close the account down completely. Although, it might be worth considering why it was unsuccessful and why it was rarely updated. Was it an issue with the website itself and that what the service offered didn’t work for your needs? Or does it reflect staff’s approach to social media and not using it effectively? Perhaps problems like these could be addressed before abandoning the account.

If the profile has lots of useful information, like a blog or Twitter, you could simply leave the account open but say that it will no longer updated. Posts that have been published some time ago can still hold value as a repository of information.  Analysing statistics can gauge whether people are still visiting the website, which can help to decide what to do next.

You might want to consider disabling comments on your profile. Disused social media profiles attract spam so disabling comments will prevent this. It is possible that one of the services you use closes or changes its terms and conditions. You could export the content or another provider might take over the service so investigate the possibilities as well as consider the value of the information.

Measuring Success

The library already kept half an eye on the success of posts on Twitter, Facebook and WordPress. We decided to make analysing social media statistics a more prominent task – I exported statistics from Facebook and Twitter for the year 2013 to analyse and we note the top 5 posts on Facebook and Twitter every month. Looking at the statistics closely has shown us what subject areas our audience are interested in and even which websites prove popular to link to. Our audience seem to like the sources Times Higher Education, London School of Economics and The Conversation a lot, and particularly articles that relate to life as a student or researcher. It seemed sensible after gaining experience in this area to write down best practice.

This section of the social media policy explains the benefits of analysing statistics, suggestions of what statistics to analyse (e.g. reach of posts, engagement with content, most popular type of post, for example, a photo, URL or general status update) and frequency. It is mostly common sense but having it written down in the policy for all staff to be aware of will hopefully ensure we build measuring success into our role.

Conclusion

The Social Media Policy is an evolving document. I’m sure that there will be future amendments as we decide to alter best practice as social media develops. It is not a document that is set in stone forever and will require updating as any other policy would to prevent it from becoming out of date.

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