GAVCA Social Media Guidelines

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					GAVCA: Social Media Guidelines
October 2010

Honey Lucas



I. Purpose of these guidelines
These guidelines aim to clarify how GAVCA and its staff will engage with social media tools such as
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and so on. The guidelines are deliberately framed in broad terms to
help staff use these tools intelligently and to the good of the organisation.

Use of social media will, however, be monitored by the Chief Executive and the Information Officer
to ensure that the guidelines set out here are being followed.


2. Other relevant policies
In their communications via social media, GAVCA staff should also be mindful of the GAVCA Code of
Conduct and our Equalities and Diversity Policy. GAVCA staff are contractual obliged not to bring
GAVCA into disrepute.

3. Definition of social media
For the purposes of these guidelines, social media is held to include:
 Blogs (e.g. Wordpress, Tumblr, Blogger)
 Micro-blogging (e.g. Twitter)
 Forums (e.g. Navcaboodle)
 Networks (e.g. Facebook, Ning, LinkedIn)
 File-sharing sites (e.g. YouTube, Flickr)

New social media tools are being created all the time, so this list is not exhaustive.

4. Purpose of using social media
GAVCA wishes to increase its use of social media in order to:
 Raise awareness of the organisation and its work
 Engage with supporters, funders and service-users and become aware of issues affecting these
    groups
 Build experience which can be shared with other voluntary and community organisations
 Keep in touch with developments in communication tools

5. Using social media
The GAVCA Twitter account is currently accessible only to the Chief Executive and the Information
Officer, but other members of staff may have their own accounts on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn,
or may maintain a personal blog. These guidelines are therefore designed to be applicable to any
member of staff using social media.

5.1 Say who you are
If you are communicating via social media in a work capacity, then you should clearly identify who
you are and which organisation you represent. Where possible, your ‘profile’ should include your
work contact details, including GAVCA’s website and logo.

                     GAVCA 75-81 Eastgate Street, Gloucester GL1 1PN 01452 332424
                                admin@gavca.org.uk | www.gavca.org.uk
Registered Charity No. 1068715, Company Limited by Guarantee, Registered in England & Wales No. 3501904
                                                 1 of 3
This makes it clearer for people to understand that you are speaking to them in a work capacity,
rather than a personal one.

5.2 Use common sense
Many social media tools are now becoming linked by search engines, so what you say in one context
may appear in a completely different one. Will you be happy to be associated with that post, tweet
or photo in five minutes, or five months or even five years? From GAVCA’s point of view, will that
post cause difficulties or embarassments for the organisation?

It is easy to get carried away with social media and assume that you are only speaking to a few
friends or followers, but it is safest to consider that everything you say is public. Would you be happy
to say your comment to someone’s face or write it to them in a letter? If the answer to that is ‘no’,
then don’t post or tweet it either!

Before you post, therefore, use your common sense.

5.3 Be respectful
Social media allows people to have conversations that they might otherwise never have. Sometimes
those conversations are difficult ones, where a person has a complaint or grievance about you or
GAVCA that they want to air.

All your posts, comments and tweets must be polite and respectful as befits a professional person
working for a professional organisation. This does not mean that you have to put up with rude or
offensive remarks being made to you, but you should reply in the same professional way as you
would if those remarks were being made to your face or over the phone.

Getting into a ‘slanging match’ with someone will not only look unprofessional for you, it will also
reflect very badly on GAVCA.

5.4 Answer people
Social media makes it easy for people to communicate with each other. In the same way that we
would always answer someone’s email or return their phonecall, you should respond to any post,
comment or tweet that is made directly to you. You may not be able to respond immediately
(especially if the post is made out of office hours) but you should get back to them as soon as you
can.

When you do get back to someone, try to make that a positive experience for them by adding some
value – for instance by passing on some relevant information to them, or suggesting someone else
they could speak to. Make the person feel that it was worth contacting you.

5.5 Listen and act
Using social media is not divorced from the rest of your working life, so if you hear something on
Facebook, Twitter etc that you need to feed back to colleagues then you should make sure you pass
that information on to the relevant person. For instance, if you come across people complaining
that the website isn’t working, please pass that information on to the Information Officer to
respond.

5.6 Don’t forget about confidentiality and copyright
If you are using someone else’s work (including their blog posts, comments or tweets) then make
sure you attribute it properly. Be sure that you have permission to use this work in the way you want
– for example, not every photo on Flickr is available to be used by other people. If in doubt, don’t
                     GAVCA 75-81 Eastgate Street, Gloucester GL1 1PN 01452 332424
                                admin@gavca.org.uk | www.gavca.org.uk
Registered Charity No. 1068715, Company Limited by Guarantee, Registered in England & Wales No. 3501904
                                                 2 of 3
use it. For example, these guidelines are based in part on an article at
http://mashable.com/2009/06/02/social-media-policy-musts/

To make sure we don’t share information about other people that they would not like, do not post
photos that we have taken. Simiarly, do not ‘name names’ of people or organisations that we are
working with as they may not wish others to know they have been working with us.

You may also be aware of information about GAVCA that has not been cleared by the Chief
Executive for public consumption: don’t pass this on via social media either.

5.7 Don’t spend all day on it
You wouldn’t spend all day answering email, to the detriment of everything else, so don’t spend all
day on social media either. Use tools like TweetDeck to bring new posts and tweets to your
attention, but don’t be a slave to it: instead, set aside some time every couple of hours to respond,
do your responding, and then get on with something else. Social media can be addictive so resist!

6. Conclusion
Use of social media can help GAVCA and its staff better engage with other people outside the
organsiation, and be a valuable tool for communicating GAVCA’s aims and message. Like any
outward-facing contact, GAVCA staff should be sensible and professional when using social media.
This will help the organisation develop a social media presence that helps all its staff engage with
service-users, funders and supporters.


Created: 21 October 2010
Review date: 21 October 2011




                     GAVCA 75-81 Eastgate Street, Gloucester GL1 1PN 01452 332424
                                admin@gavca.org.uk | www.gavca.org.uk
Registered Charity No. 1068715, Company Limited by Guarantee, Registered in England & Wales No. 3501904
                                                 3 of 3

				
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