As I have taken over much of the day-to-day content creation for the Wilma Theater’s social media, I have encountered some issues getting staff members to participate in promoting the Wilma on social media, sharing our posts, participating in campaigns, and engaging with our audiences. I believe some of their reluctance is coming from the fact that the Wilma lacks a clear social media policy for its employees. While developing a style guide and refining our brand is a high priority for us, but as an organization whose mission is involves presenting a wide range of voices, it’s imperative that exactly that diversity of viewpoints is reflected in our social presence.
As an arts organization, we are very encouraging of individualism and expression. An appropriate employee social media policy for us isn’t about telling people how they are allowed to speak or represent themselves as members of the organization. Instead, the guidelines I’ve drafted as an exercise are intended to support the Wilma’s overall mission by emphasizing our shared organizational values. These are values we believe are essential in establishing the trust necessary to create bold, original pieces of art, but it turns out that they can be applied to nearly everything we do. But, they are big ideas; trust, growth, empathy, openness, rigor, joy, inclusion and support don’t easily turn into a list of dos and don’ts.
I’d love for the policy:
- To help marketing be able to readily repost staff content, which already has the correct credits in place to acknowledge our collaborators.
- To ensure our organization is covered by multiple voices.
- To empower our staff to respond to compliments or criticism outside the organization’s social circles while maintaining institutional values.
In class, we reviewed social media policies against factors that a social media policy could and should address:
- Culture: does the policy foster a corporate culture of openness? Does it address listening to and respecting the opinions of employees, customers and other constituencies?
- Trust: does the policy demonstrate trust that employees can be effective communicators and encourage use of good judgment?
- Transparency: does the policy state the importance of transparency and authenticity?
- Accuracy: does the policy help employees understand what content is permissible for publishing and how to check facts for accuracy?
- Comments: does the policy address negative and positive comments and define what constitutes an inappropriate comment?
- Training: does the policy highlight opportunities for training about how to participate in social media? Does it point to other associated policies or legal issues?
This policy has a lot of lee-way, which demonstrates a lot of trust in our staff to determine what is appropriate and what is not. It continually states who employees should contact to get on the social media schedule and to whom they should report something that needs to be addressed by the organization if they do not feel comfortable or capable.
One area I would love to offer in the future is some basic social media training. One way I can be supported by my coworkers as content collaborators is to teach a few more people how to take decent photos and videos on their phones. Once more people have a few basic skills, I think it will build their confidence to create more of their own content to showcase their work within the organization.
Take a look at the draft of the Wilma’s first-of-its-kind employee social media policy below.