Social media policies
While social media and networking started out for personal use – a way of connecting friends and classmates – it has since evolved to include many other beneficial uses. Businesses across the world have discovered that social media is a way to connect with potential and current customers or clients and just a great way to spread the word about their products, services, and professional beliefs. It is no longer just a fun tool to use as recreation. It is now, or should be, a part of all modern businesses.
With that in mind, all businesses, including yours, should have some type of internal document or policy that relates to social media. This will keep you organized and make sure your company and employees are represented appropriately and professionally. Below are seven social media policies of large companies that serve as a guide for your own company.
1. Dell – According to Dell’s Social Media Policy, one of the most important aspects is Dell’s commitment to protecting private and identifying information of social media users and customers. Dell requires those who are in charge of their social media take a yearly course on the importance of keeping personal information of employees and customers private and secure. Other Dell policies include, not speaking on behalf of the company unless permission has been given, double-checking every message or response before it is posted, and always disclosing the connection the person has to Dell.
2. Intel – Some of Intel’s greatly emphasized social media policies include replying to comments in a timely manner, keeping comments on topic, and only posting on topics specific to the particular area of expertise. Intel believes that the best way to make social media efforts count is to engage in conversations, be real, and make sure every comment or response is representative of that person and of Intel.
3. Coca-Cola – Coca-Cola focuses its social media outreach with seven simple attributes: leadership, collaboration, integrity, accountability, passion, diversity, and quality. Alongside these promoted attributes, Coca-Cola has “five core values” for social media and how Coca-Cola is represented:
1. “Transparency in every single media engagement”
2. “Protection of our consumers’ privacy”
3. “Respect of copyrights, trademarks…”
4. “Responsibility in our use of technology”
5. “Utilization of best practices”
4. Kaiser Permanente
4. Kaiser Permanente – Kaiser requires a disclaimer of intention and connection in all blogs and social media posts, whether the person is writing in behalf of Kaiser or sharing their personal views. According to Kaiser’s online policy, a core goal is to encourage “trust and personal responsibility in all relationships.” And that includes all social media relationships and correspondence, too. Kaiser’s policy also includes directions to add value to all posts representing information about or from Kaiser Permanente, get to know those who frequently comment and participate in Kaiser’s social media efforts, and be up front and honest when mistakes are made. That’s the only way to correct mistakes quickly and professionally.
5. Nordstrom – Nordstrom’s social networking guidelines are organized into six main categories: Use good judgment, be respectful, be transparent, be humble, be human, and be a good listener. Because of the nature of the retail industry, Nordstrom’s social media employees are not allowed to post prices of merchandise or any price comparisons or sales figures. Also, no personal information should be posted on Nordstrom’s social networking sites and accounts.
6. Cisco – Cisco believes that common sense is the most important guideline that all their employees should adhere to. It’s important that all of Cisco’s employees declare when they are speaking on behalf of the company and when they are merely sharing their personal opinions and viewpoints. That separation is key to social networking success, and it can save Cisco from public backlash on posts or content that it did not originally approve.
7. Daimler – Daimler asserts that the only way to use social media advantageously is to create and maintain conversations. While it’s easiest to post lots of information to get it all out there, it’s better to make everything posted quality content. Employees of Daimler are also encouraged to be professional when using their private social media accounts, as they are representatives of the company even when they’re not at work. As is the same with many other companies, Daimler requires their employees to differentiate between personal opinion and the opinion of the company.
Whether you’ve already created a social media policy for your company or you’re about to, the above policies can help guide you in the right direction. If you haven’t already done so, write up a social media policy that fits with your professional goals and have a lawyer review it before it’s implemented, as it will protect you and your company in the long run. Using social media the right way can increase your online visibility, your profits, and improve your professional reputation. And it all begins with a succinct social media policy.