Social Media – A Framework for Business Usage

I have started work on developing a framework for business usage of social media which follows on from the policy and strategy work i have been looking at.

This is a FIRST DRAFT and should be treated as such and is an attempt to tackle some of the issue relating to business usage. I would welcome any comments or observations and you are also welcome to adapt it yourself (please reference and link back)

This post should ideally be read as one of a package of posts relating to social media strategy and policy in local government (although not restricted to local government).


Over the past few years, social media has cemented its place in many people’s daily lives, at home, in the office or on the move. The opportunity now exists for the council to expand its online reach and presence beyond its own corporate website and into online social spaces and networks and utilise the flexibility and scalability of the sites and tools that exist.

However an unco-ordinated and unstructured approach to our communications, marketing and engagement in these spaces will increase frustration from users and customers and could if left unmanaged potentially damage the authorities reputation.

This framework is intended to guide services and staff and to facilitate a co-ordinated approach.

The Framework

The framework is divided into 4 layers of usage and each layer has a specific set of requirements that services and staff must adhere to if they wish to use these sites for official business.

Rules of usage

  • the corporate identity and branding of the organisation must be followed at all times.
  • use of additional logos/marketing materials must be approved.
  • all staff must adhere to the social media and online participation policy and guidelines.

Level 1 – Broadcast

Definition – To re-use existing content via RSS, or to provide simple conversational updates.

Requirement – Complete the “Social Media Business Usage” form (to be designed), specifying which level of the framework, the social media site used, type of information broadcast, business contact.

Notes – This will allow [corporate communications/marketing/corporate webteam] to collect, co-ordinate and monitor the wider social media presence of the authority.  In turn this will then be promoted via the corporate website on the relevant [social media] webpage.

Level 2 – Consult

Definition – To facilitate structured feedback using appropriate tools such as surveys, blogs, video and podcasts etc.

Requirement – Complete the “Social Media Business Usage” form, specifying which level of the framework, the social media site used, topic/theme of consultation, business contact. In addition information must be passed to [Corporate Consultation] to be collected and input into Consultation Finder.

Notes – This will maintain the existing role of [Corporate Consultation] to co-ordinate and maintain a single view of all consultations/surveys across the authority.

Level 3 – Participate

Definition – Where the officer role already specifies direct contact or participation with members of the public or service users (example Youth Worker/Youth Participation Worker) (a full list of accepted job roles would need to be developed).

Requirement – Complete the “Social Media Business Usage” form, specifying which level of the framework, the social media site used, business area, business contact. In addition to this the officer/line manager must complete a [Risk Assessment] and seek approval from their line manager (who also needs to sign the risk assessment). Following the risk assessment appropriate officer details must be published on the corporate website and be linked via the chosen social media site to provide validation and security around the identify of that officer.

Notes – This would provide additional validation for services users and will allow staff the added flexibility of maintaining contact across a wide rural area without the need to constantly travel. This will also enable service users to communicate at time which are convenient to them.

Level 4 – Engage

Definition – Where the council requires a formal discussion and debate with individuals/communities/groups on one or more topics.

Requirement – Complete the “Social Media Business Usage” form, specifying which level of the framework, the social media site used, business area, topic of discussion, business contact. In addition to this and if appropriate which County Councillor is involved, the Senior Officer responsible for the subject area, whether the press or media are invited/involved.

Notes – It will be important to reuse existing protocols for offline engagement, specifically which officers/members have the authority to speak on behalf of the council on the given subject.


Leave a comment or share your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.