Social media has become a central part of any business’ communication strategy. There is no way around it: if you want to be reaching more people, more often, you need to be on socials. Whether you decide to focus on one or two channels or spread your messaging across all the platforms that are available, one thing is certain: you need to keep your organisation’s goals front of mind whenever you’re posting and interacting online.
A good way to ensure that your social media communications are effective, engaging, and helping to build your brand, is to create a social media manual for your business. But what exactly is a manual, and how do you create one?
Social Media Manual 101
A social media manual is a document that outlines the ways in which your company is using social media. It’s important to note that the manual is about the how, not about the why: this isn’t as much a strategy for social media, as a guide on how to implement that strategy.
Some key things that your manual should include are notes on voice and tone, a style guide on things like punctuation and grammar, information on what kind of formats posts should take, and your company’s position on using things like hashtags and emojis. As well as the written content, it should include notes on the design of your social pages, with information like where you source images, and what kind of colours or themes you use.
Additionally, your social media manual needs to provide guidance on using the platforms interactively. We all know that the point of social media isn’t to simply post some copy and forget about it: the idea behind social is that you’re liking, commenting, sharing, and generally being a part of your online community. Including details on how your company approaches this is a vital part of the manual.
Why is all of this such a big deal?
Perhaps you’re wondering, why do we need a style guide, or information on hashtags? As long as it’s done correctly, it’s fine – right?
A big part of social media is consistency. Users can tell if content is coming from a lot of different people. Your brand should feel like it has a personality in its own right; perhaps your brand’s voice is funny, or inspirational, or informative. Maybe you want to appear casual on social media, or perhaps your branding is more formal. Either way, the voice needs to remain the same no matter who is creating the content.
Ready for any user
Having a social media manual ready to go means that it’s easy for anyone in your team to jump into your social channels and start posting. They don’t need to spend lots of time looking through what’s been done before, because all the guidelines are set out for them. This is particularly helpful for new starters joining the business, or when you have a large team and a lot of people are creating content for social platforms. Being clear on how your company wants to appear on social media will empower staff to contribute.
Avoid those awkward moments
We’ve all seen social media stuff ups, and sometimes they’re from businesses. Organisations should try to reflect current trends, but when a company does something that’s very off-brand, it can damage their credibility.
A social media manual prevents these kinds of errors being made. Staff can be sure that what they’re going to post aligns with the company brand, and that they are accurately representing the company voice and vision.
Time to get started
Are you ready to create your social media manual? Check out the Giraffe Social Media Manual Template to help get you started!