Earlier this year, eMarketer reported that only one in five companies surveyed worldwide had a formal social media policy in place. Another similar report stated that only one third of companies had implemented a social media policy. These numbers are far too low, and here’s why.
A written social media policy can be defined as an extension of current business conduct guidelines, and includes a set of written and clearly understood guidelines or principles that companies put in place as a line of protection against the very real risks associated with communicating on the Internet, specifically related to social media usage by employees. Aside from communicating what the company brand standards and “style guide” are for social media marketing, the social media policy also outlines behavioural expectations for employees – all set out in a simple, easily understood, friendly tone (something that most companies unfortunately have difficulty doing).
Not to be confused with rules and regulations, the social media policy – or as we prefer to call it, the social media guidelines – must guide employees to understanding the risks and agreeing on the responsibilities of representing themselves and their employer online. Common areas of focus include reminding employees to be mindful about what they say and do on the Internet, to take accountability for whatever they do online, and respecting confidential and proprietary information be it the company’s information, related intellectual property, and any information related to clients, fellow employees and similar, When executed properly, the social media guidelines educate and empower employees instead of dictating to them on the dos and don’t.
The best source of inspiration is examining and learning from other noteworthy corporate social media policy examples – it’s the first step we take when working with a client on their own social media policy. Once best practice is examined, the next step is to contextualise these principles for your own unique circumstances and requirements, making the policy a part of the company’s unique blueprint and culture.
Listed below are our top picks of corporate social media policies. We hope this helps demonstrate how other reputable global companies have taken the lead in protecting their brands, businesses, stakeholders and employees – and liberates you to start working on your company’s own social media policy.
Posted in Social media on 18th May 2010 at 13:02 pm