Your employees are talking about you whether you like it or not. We’ve all heard stories of employees posting inappropriate content on Facebook and Twitter then getting kicked to the curb. Well, this calls for a crystal clear set of rules and guidelines to help employees understand the appropriate use of social media. Create a social media policy! Being in a profession which is often filled with policies, it would serve you well to give a look to some good social media policy examples.
While some companies have clear-cut guidelines from the start, others choose to let it evolve with time and particular situations. To head it off, you should take a clear and concise approach which suits your industry, your organization’s culture, and business needs.
Below, we’ve gathered 5 policies of successful companies so that you can see what different companies are doing and get ideas to build or enhance your own policy.
1. Cisco –
Computer networking gear behemoth, Cisco, has a detailed social media policy covering different aspects. It provides social media guidelines and also answers various frequently asked questions. Some of the highlights of Cisco’s social media policy are below.
- Outlines practical advice and help on how to behave on social media. For example: Not engaging in inflammatory or inappropriate discussions about competitors
- Stresses providing a disclaimer everywhere possible; blog posts, social media accounts – even LinkedIn recommendations need a disclaimer. Really strict transparency rules, right? I guess a gargantuan company like Cisco needs that.
- Employees are allowed to discuss Cisco business on the social media networks, but are bound by confidentiality obligations and compliance with all applicable laws and Cisco policies. So, should they do it? I’ll leave that to your judgment.
2. Dell –
Dell, a leader in using technology to directly connect with their customers, uses social media as another tool which can be utilized to build their brand. Dell encourages their employees to use social media the right way and answers what is right in their brief policy. Here are a few main points from Dell’s social media policy
- When using social media, protect confidential Dell information
- Be transparent, have fun, and connect
- Includes social media account ownership
Social media account ownership is an excellent thing to include in the policy, considering things might get messy. Dell’s policy clearly states that if you participate in social media activities as part of your job at Dell, that account may well be considered Dell’s property.
3. Intel –
Intel encourages their employees to engage, comment, and participate in the areas where they’re most passionate. Intel believes that social media interactions can help employees to build stronger, more successful business relationships. Here are 3 main points from Intel’s official guidelines for participating in social media.
- Transparency: Use your real name, identify that you work for Intel, and be clear about your role there
- Take care of Intel and yourself: Make sure none of that transparency violates Intel’s confidentiality or legal guidelines for commercial speech or violates your own privacy.
- Use common sense: Add value in social conversation, but keep it cool and let Intel know if you screw up
Sounds good, eh?
4. Coca-Cola –
Coca-Cola’s social media principles are guided by their shared values and outline how these values should be demonstrated in the online social media space. Coca-Cola guides employees, for both individual participation, as well as participation on behalf of the company. Coca-Cola’s social media policy highlights are below.
- States that associates who are communicating on behalf of the company, always disclose their name and their affiliation
- Emphasizes that employees should keep track of these conversations when they’re officially representing the company
Coca-Cola’s policy also covers and sets expectations for spokespeople, associates, and its authorized agencies.
5. IBM –
IBM believes that using the social media expertise of its employees can be shared with clients, shareholders, and the communities in which it operates. Therefore, it is very much in IBM’s interest. Here are a few points from IBM’s social media policy
- Encourages employees to participate in social media and exchange ideas
- Clear guidelines about what can and cannot be shared
- Asks that employees use a disclaimer in blogs and protect IBM’s clients, business partners, and suppliers
Social media has blurred the line between personal and professional life. As a result, it has given rise to new businesses challenges. It’s required to safeguard your business by setting up rules and educating your employees about them. But how much restriction on sharing your content there is, is a question you need to answer.
What’s the social media policy at your work place? What does it cover? Share your thoughts and experiences below.