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How to Create an Effective Social Media Manual

SMPerth // 03rd September 2016
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The best way to maintain consistency in content and style across multiple social media platforms is to have a social media manual or ‘style guide’ in place.

A social media manual is not a code of conduct, but rather a quick-reference document that details daily social media operations.

So how can you create a useful social media manual?

Here are 10 things to consider:

  1. Be clear, be concise, be commanding
    Less really is more.
  2. Brand
    Branding will determine how you ‘dress’ your social media profiles. To be consistent about your social ‘look and feel’, be clear about how your brand is to be used on each platform.
  3. Know your community
    Who are you talking to? Break it down. Knowing your community will help to craft relevant and salient messages.
  4. Define your voice and language
    ‘Who’ is your social brand? Define your brand voice (friend, but not over familiar; savvy but not ‘too cool’, assertive, not arrogant) and from here set the parameters around language.
  5. Moderation and responsiveness
    What is the general recourse for responding to comments (positive/negative/abusive) and general enquiries?
    And what are your expectations around timeliness, i.e.  how long should it take to reply? One hour, one day, one week?
  6. Content
    We all know content is king, so be sure to reference the ‘types’ of content to be shared on your accounts. You can even include information like where said content can be found and dimensions/formatting for media (ie: use of branding!).
    (NB: content is a massive area, keep it simple and save detailed instruction for your content strategy!)
  7. How often and when
    This area often falls into the content strategy remit, however, it is worth briefly outlining expectations around frequency and or scheduling of posts, as well as moderation.
  8. Attribution
    Note down the standard practice for attributing content that is not your own. It is essential to disclose to avoid copyright infringement and general audience confusion.
  9. Hashtag protocol
    Include a quick reference list of commonly used, topical and industry-specific hashtags, against their dedicated channels. It doesn’t have to be an exhaustive list, just a good starting point.
  10. Test and revise
    To maintain its value, a social media style guide needs to be treated like a ‘living, breathing’ document and be regularly tested, serviced and revised as you go!

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