Why guidelines are important for a Brand Ambassador program?
Guidelines provide the framework for which the organization of the Brand Ambassador Program (BAP) for will operate. The guidelines provide both its organization and the BA the rules and regulations in which they will perform their roles. These guidelines will provide the clarity of the responsibilities that each party has agreed upon when entering the BAP. The guidelines provided by the BA for the organization should provide the participants in the program the following: 1. The social media outlets. 2. The content guidelines, and rules associated. 3. The schedule for social media postings.
Guidelines are most important for both the organization and the BA. By developing clear and defined guidelines that rules hold both the organization and the BA responsible for their social media activity. The guidelines should be specific concerning the exact content that a BA can share on social media apropos to the organization. Social media guidelines help to protect both the organization and the BA by understanding that their legal implications are within the social media arena. According to Stewart (2017), “One of the biggest issues facing non-media users of social media is the distinctions some courts have created between the constitutional protections afforded the media and those afforded to average individuals” (p.47). Providing the guidelines for both the organization and BA allows that BA’s to be aware of the rules, and then provides them the rules understanding. This way they can be authentic in their posts. It is fine a line that must be followed so that BA’s can have a positive experience as a BA but not feel that this position is just another job with a lot of rules and regulations. The guidelines should provide clarity so that the BA can understand them and appreciate that these rules and regulations are provided to protect themselves and the organization as they represent your group. The guidelines need to be clear on what the consequences will be for the BA if they do not adhere to the procedures provided for the BAP. A post may be deleted but its social footprint remains. It is very important for BA’s to conform to your rules and regulations. This is especially true if the BA is new to working within social media behavior.
As an organization must provide clear and specific social media guidelines. It should be responsible for the correct tone and should reinforce the BA’s decision to want to participate within the organization. Providing a service (acting as a BA) is a time-consuming effort and requires hard work. The BA must understand that the company you are representing has the BA’s personal protection as part of their company policies. This will provide a source of comfort to them. By providing social media guidelines for your BAP, the organization make available the opportunity for dialogue between the organization and the BA. The ultimate goal for a BAP is to increase the social media exposure of the organization, while engaging loyal brand users. The guidelines developed for a BAP should be inclusive of all needed information, yet provide the BA with room for personal creative freedom.
Specific do and don’s when posting and representing a brand online?
Do’s--- Brand Ambassadors should post information that is honest about the organization they are representing.
BA’s should disclose that they are BA’s for the organization
BA’s should post on approved social media outlets
BA’s should post on social media on the appropriate timeframe (information should current and relevant)
BA’s should give your post some thought before posting.
Don’t- Brand Ambassadors should never post false information regarding themselves or the organization they represent on social media
BA’s will not post financial information regarding the organization
BA’s will not post offensive or abusive information regarding the organization or its customers
2-5 Key components that make up your guidelines:
As posting on Facebook is considered publishing, all Facebook posts should have the approval of the Director of MYS and be part of the BAP scheduled communication plan.
Reposting unfavorable or defamation of character postings, that involve MYS or the services provided could place the BA of personal legal risks.
Concerning distributing of Infographics to known Conflict of Interest Groups--- Do Not Distribute MYS Infographics to other Health associated businesses (YMCA, Pasadena Health Center) without the permission of the Director of MYS.
Posting pictures on any social media without the consent of the participants is in violation of the MYS Brand Ambassador policies. All posts that have video or pictures of customers of MYS should be vetted by the Director of MYS first.
Posting on any form of social media that contains inappropriate or vulgar content is against MYS policies. MYS is a place of health and tranquility, with a positive communication voice.
As we develop Brand Ambassador Programs for our organizations it is important that we understand that social media is a serious –minded business. It is the responsibility of both the organization and the BA themselves to protect themselves both personally and professionally. Those new to social media may not be aware of the legal consequences of posting on Facebook, and completely understand that when you delete a post, the information never completely disappears.
The goal of developing guidelines for a BAP should be to provide the framework to execute an inclusive social media program that involves its most loyal customer base, the brand ambassador.
Including a BAP program into an organization requires work, and it requires that one must learn the legal rules themselves and provide this information to all participants within the program. An organization must develop the BAP, write the guidelines, recruit the BA’s, and then educate the BA” s on the rules and regulations that they must adhere to when performing social media. The key word is protection, and this protection is for all
It is the obligation on an organization to provide a safe and friendly social media atmosphere for which their BA’s can function. Being thoughtful and mindful of how we conduct ourselves within the organization and how we conduct ourselves personally is important to remember, as we build our guidelines and as we perform in our duties within the program. Let’s be honest: nobody wants personal or embarrassing information posted about themselves. Possibly following the Golden Rule of “Do onto others as we would have others do onto us” would be a good social media posting reminder. An organization that sets clearly defined rules and follows these examples will builds the foundation for a successful Brand Ambassador Program.
By Linda Paren
Brand Ambassadors Success Student
Notre Dame of Maryland University
Guide: Create Staff Brand Ambassadors With Social Media Guidelines: https://www.meltwater.com/uk/blog/guide-create-staff-brand-ambassadors-social-media-guidelines/
Stewart, D. R. (2017). Social media and the law a guidebook for communication students and professionals. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.