Social Media Policy Proposal

November 10, 2013 – Social Media Policy Proposal for the Snake River Council

1. Follow BSA Social Media Guidelines
To ensure that council and district usage of social media resources are compliant with the standards published by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), familiarize yourself with and adhere to all of BSA’s social media guidelines. These standards are designed to promote, among other things, youth protection and responsible online behavior.

2. Follow BSA Branding Guidelines
Follow BSA branding when determining the look of customizable social media sites. More information about branding can be found in the BSA Brand Identity Guide. Additional information about branding, including logo downloads, can be found on BSA’s marketing page. Include appropriate disclaimers as outlined in BSA’s social media guidelines.

3. Shared Administration
When setting up profiles or notifications in new social media accounts, include the Scout executive and, if applicable, the respective staff adviser to the event/program element. This is mostly readily accomplished by using the council’s official email address for social media ( as a primary or secondary address on the account. Additional addresses or phone numbers may be helpful.

4. Monitor Accounts Daily (Monday through Friday)
To maintain up-to-date, worthwhile communications with council volunteers and other users and to quickly identify and address inappropriate posts, monitor your public social media accounts daily (during the work week). Where possible, subscribe to push notifications for posts, replies, or other types of contributions.

5. Follow Document Naming Protocols
To maintain consistency across platforms and among users and to aid in identifying files in cloud repositories, name content uploads using the following protocol:

1. The first element in the file name is a six-digit number representing the date of creation/revision (ex. 120113, for December 1, 2013).
2. The second element in the file name is a string of 1-4 summary words from the title of the document, image, or file (ex. 040111_pack_meeting_resources).
3. Additional date or numeric references are included at the end of the file name (ex. 072613_bradley_sign_001_3x9inch_72ppi).

Note: the use of underscores between words is a web design convention. It is recommended, but not required.

6. Short Links
To increase readability in social media posts on Facebook or Twitter, use short links.

7. Google Sharing Settings
Because the technical expertise of council volunteers varies significantly, when using Google Drive for document sharing, set sharing settings to “Anyone with the link can [view/edit/etc.]” (unless the content is not intended for general distribution). This will prevent viewing problems for users who do not have or use a Google account or Gmail address.

8. Community Structure through Hashtags
Set up hashtags as a means of building community around council and district initiatives or events. Promote these hashtags in online and printed materials. Learn which hashtags are being used in other councils or by potential members or donors and use those tags in related posts from our council (Liebler, 2013). Create hashtags specifically related to our council’s major themes/events, branding, or contests. Remember to be consistent and cognizant of the open nature of hashtags (anyone can use what they want). In addition to searching social media sites for particular hashtags, Tweet Deck is a free program that allows users to easily monitor activity on specific hashtags. Following are some suggested examples, not only of Twitter/Facebook hashtags, but also of blog tags/categories:

#srcouncil. Use for Twitter or Facebook content intended for all registered members of the Snake River Council
#srcouncil #cubcamp. Use for Twitter or Facebook content related to the council day camp. Will open posts to a larger audience while focusing viewers on the council’s camp.
#campbradley. Use for Twitter or Facebook content related to Camp Bradley.
#sawtoothbsa. Use for Twitter or Facebook content intended for all registered members of units within the Sawtooth District.
ExecVP (tag). Use for blog posts, links, etc. intended for members of the council’s executive committee.
maishu (category). Use for blog posts intended for members of the Ma-I-Shu Lodge of the Order of the Arrow.

9. Employ the Five Ws
When posting event notifications, address the five W’s:

Who (audience)
What (event title)
When (event date and time)
Where (event location)
Why (statement of purpose and/or a link to more online information, including cost and registration options)

10. Backdating Posts and Notifications
This section is not referring to content placement on Facebook’s timeline (Coleman, 2012). Rather, it is referring to Scouting’s usage of the word backdating, which means planning ahead and following a schedule. Facebook offers a scheduling feature that might prove helpful in this process (Mason, 2012). Make sure you are posting from your timeline and not from your news feed (Home). When using social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter to post event notifications, make posts on the following schedule:

90 to 120 days before the event, make the first post and reference online resources for further information. Include any applicable hashtags or other content markings. This first post is required for major council or district events such as training events, camporees, kickoffs, etc. Advanced notice of this nature is not required for recurring events such as roundtable or district meetings.
30 days before the event, make a post with event details on who, what, when and where; include a link to additional online information as well as applicable hashtags, etc. This would be the first post for recurring events such as roundtable or district events.
Seven to 10 days before the event, make a follow up post with event details on who, what, when, and where; include a link to additional online information as well as applicable hashtags, etc.
One to two days before the event, make a final post with a personal invitation to join the event. Include event details and a link for additional information.

11. Cross Training
Given the culture of our council and organization, it would be wise to include references to applicable social media sites on paper-based promotional materials, especially those distributed at roundtable meetings, training events, and in mailers. Applicable outlets are those sites which are also being used, in addition to the paper flyers, to promote the event (e.g., Facebook or Twitter). Non applicable sites would be those which are used to support the administration of the event (e.g., Dropbox, Wufoo, or Google Drive).


Throughout the 2013-14 program year, members of the executive staff, council IT committee, and executive committee, as well as volunteers in any capacity, are welcome to submit feedback regarding these proposed policies. Specifically, feedback on the following is requested:

1. The utility of the proposed policies (Are they needed in their present form, why or why not?)
2. The inherent strengths or weaknesses in applicability of the policies (Are these policies inadequate or problematic with any of our social media platforms?)
3. Justification for or against the policies (i.e., open discussion about the need and precedent for these policies)
4. Additions or clarifications on the policies (i.e., collaboration on the refinement of this proposal).

Feedback can be submitted in person to Russell Nash, Sawtooth District Executive and staff adviser to the IT committee, or online through To access the council’s Wufoo survey, visit the feedback page on the council website (located under the contacts menu).

(Before presenting this policy to the groups mentioned above, approval from our Scout executive and members of the council key 3 would be required).


Anderson, S. (2012, May 7). How to create social media guidelines for your school [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Boy Scouts of America (n.d.). The Marketing Toolbox. Retrieved from

Boy Scouts of America (n.d.). Social Media Guidelines. Retrieved from

Boy Scouts of America (2012). Brand Identity Guide. Retrieved from

Coleman, R. (2012, October 30). How to schedule and back-date Facebook posts [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Liebler, S. (, 2013, September 11). Six #protips for using hashtags [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Mason, L. (2012, June 18). Facebook schedule feature [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Personal Branding Blog (2013, August 3). Build your brand with hashtags [Web log post]. Retrieved from

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