Creating a church staff policy is not a lot of fun. No one wants to be the “sheriff” and create rules that they’ll have to police. At the same time, if policies aren’t in place things can quickly run amok.
This is especially true when it comes to social media. A church social media policy can help make sure that your staff stays on message and keeps your church out of some potential hazards. While it may not popular with your staff, the pros far outweigh the cons.
The question is, how do you create a policy for you church staff, but not hamper them at the same time? Can you create a policy that will help your church staff make sure they know what not do and why? Consider the following ideas when crafting your church social media policy.
When you utter the word “policy” to your church staff you are bound to set off alarms. No one wants another to policy to abide by. The key to not hampering your staff is to let them know that by providing a policy, you’re providing clarity.
When your staff has clarity they can make better decisions on how to use social media. This of course provides your staff the mental freedom to focus on social media and not worry about whether not they have a broken a rule they weren’t aware of.
Provide Clear Guidelines and Examples
The clearer your guidelines are, the better response you’ll receive from your staff. Be specific as you need to be. Instead of saying “Don’t post information about minors”, say “Don’t post text, pictures, videos or any other information about minors”. Specificity is your staff’s best friend.
With your policy make sure you provide clear examples as well. The examples should model the do’s and the don’ts of social media. It’s easy to show what not do, but don’t forget you need show what to do as well. Provide examples of tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram photos and other types of media for all your social media channels.
Model the Policy For Your Staff
A church social media policy won’t work if you don’t abide by it. If you’re asking your staff to do something, make sure you you’re playing by the same rules. One reason to do this, is that by following the policy yourself, you can see where the pitfalls are. You might find that what seemed to make sense on paper might not work in real life.
Change the Policy As Needed
The technology around social media is always changing. Make sure you change your policy to keep up with new technologies and channels. I’ve read plenty of policies that still mention MySpace and Friendster.
Also don’t be afraid to admit when the policy is not working. When you admit your mistakes and make changes, your church staff will have greater confidence in your decision making.