By: Jenna Ritter /@jenrit3/ LinkedIn Profile
Doing social media for an alcohol company poses risks that you don’t have with other organizations. This summer I interned for a winery where I created and managed different social media platforms, as well as poured in the tasting room. I loved my job and sometimes got a little carried away online.
The mistake I made: Not implementing a social media policy.
It was a slow day in the tasting room. Ipad in hand, I decided to do a give-a-away. The first person to mention this post would receive a FREE bottle. I was hesitant to hit enter. As Kelli would say, “When it gives you pause…pause”. I pushed enter anyway. Five minutes later, I got a phone call from my boss telling me to delete the post. Apparently giving away alcohol is illegal. I knew I couldn’t delete it without explanation. This is where I wish I would have had a policy to reference. I wrote a post saying, I could not give away a free bottle, but one for 50% off. How would you have handled my situation?
To help the groundswell support itself it is extremely important for your company to adapt a social media policy. A social media policy is there to help guide your employees through using social media, especially during ethical situations. The first step in developing this policy is to ask:
What kind of organization do we want to be? Start at looking at examples of companies that you think do a great job of managing their social media. For example, Yellow Tail does a great job of responding to their customers. Common concerns when using social media for your business is the time commitment you have to put into it, the loss of control and information overload. A social media policy can help address these issues. Thanks to Kelli, we have some best practices for your social media policy. It should be:
Built on trust, practical, designed to educate, without absolutes, in plain language, friendly, consistent, prepared for mistakes, clear about due process and it should include more Do’s than Don’ts. You always need to be responsible for what you write and a good social media manager should be thoughtful while also thinking strategically. On top of these guidelines, when working for an alcohol company you need to think about certain legal issues that could arise and address them in your policy.