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Plan and Protect: Social Media Policies for Community Clubs and Nonprofits

A social media presence can make or break your club. The right policy is key for keeping things going smoothly, so here are some best practices to follow when posting or hosting contests and providing giveaways.

Policies For Promotions On Social Media

Will your club run promotions, giveaways, and contests on social media? Many do, and they use companies like  Ad Magic to brand gaming cards as prizes. But, not all clubs agree on how these contests will be run.

Lay out the ground rules for this in advance, as well as rules for things like:

  • What sites the club will use to run promotions.

  • Whether individual club members will use the club logo and promotional materials on private or personal pages and sites.

  • Whether club email addresses will be used to create club social media accounts.

Assigning Roles

Who will be in charge of your club’s social media accounts? Who will maintain the Twitter feed and post to Facebook? Will you have just one person or a team of people? Who is responsible for finding content, fact-checking it, and reviewing it for appropriateness before posting?

Some of your staff might have great stories to share online, but they may not know if or how they should post them. Lay out guidelines for members so they understand how to use the club’s social media account.

Creating and Sharing Content

How much of your club’s in-house content will you share? Whether you’re posting about events or interesting information related to your club, your club’s social media policies should spell out what is and is not acceptable to post about.

Your policy should narrow your club’s focus to fit your core values or goals. While there is no shortage of good content out there, most of it is unlikely to be related to your club’s activities or purpose.

For example, if you run a golf club, you should narrow your focus to the golfing industry, but maybe you should narrow it still further to include only local golfing events or news. A lot of this  would depend on where your club is located and whether the local golf scene is large enough to provide your club with “endless” things to talk about and share.

If your club is in a large market, where your related sport, activity, or issue is popular or has a naturally large exposure, you might be best served focusing on the local scene. If your club addresses a more national issue or activity, then you might widen the focus accordingly.

Monitoring Conversations

Decide on how you will monitor conversations, including the unfortunate possibility of a user (or a group of users) posting inaccurate or inflammatory status updates about your club. Best practices that include dispute or problem resolution will keep the club looking (and being) professional.

Protecting Privacy

Of all of your policies and best practices, protecting your users and your club members’ privacy should be your number one priority. What does your privacy policy say, and how will you enforce it?

Update your policies and waiver forms to include social media sites you are going to be using. Specify how you will use content on social media and in your brochures or on your website. For example, you might have clearance to use a photo on your website, but do you have clearance to use it online in other contexts or in brochures? If you don’t know, you need to.

Furthermore, media that’s shared online on social media can, and often will, be distributed in a mostly uncontrolled manner. Make sure your club is only sharing photos, updates, and videos that can “go viral” without legal repercussions.

Jake Townsend has spent many years working in a senior role for a nonprofit. He likes to be able to share his insights online and has shared his thoughts across a variety of websites.

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James Davis • September 15, 2015

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