So your company wants to implement a social media policy, but you're not sure how to go about it. How lenient should you be? Will being too strict diminish social media's effectiveness? Does marketing handle customer service?
Take a gander at these five companies and what they chose to do. Just remember, there’s not one right policy for every company. Pick and choose what you like from these five companies to help get you started, and tailor it to fit your culture and business objectives.
Known for having great customer service via Twelpforce, Best Buy has a social media policy in place that preemptively addresses privacy concerns that could arise using social media. Here are some highlights of Best Buy's social media policy.
The company does not want information shared that isn’t meant to be public. Common sense? I think so.
Tweeters cannot share Best Buy logos and other items related to the company. Does this smack of being too cautious? I guess that depends on the industry you are in. For a big brand like Best Buy, it's understandable.
Best Buy wants each employee to differentiate themselves and state their tweets and posts are theirs -- and theirs alone -- and not associated with Best Buy. If an unscrupulous employee crosses a line, Best Buy won't experience such harsh brand backlash.
Oracle appears to be of the ilk that using social media in the workplace is a hinderance to productivity because it could lead to too much personal use. Understandable? Yes. Too strict? Debatable. While it can be good to blur the line between personal and professional in social media, that balancing act isn't always appropriate in regulated industries.
Employees must establish that all opinions are their own and not Oracle’s, but at the same time, distinguish that they are indeed employees of Oracle. Contradictory? No. Blog posts can increase brand exposure, but employees must be careful with what they say and how they say it, not divulging new features, products, and confidential information is key.
Walmart wants to make sure its employees who are “official” Twitter users for Walmart are identified as such, stick to customer replies, and focus on this alone. Walmart's Twitter users should only talk about Walmart and not engage in unnecessary banter.
Too strict? Well, Twitter is a great way to humanize your brand and put a real face behind your company's social media presence. And people don't just talk business all the time, right? However, if they are providing excellent customer service and it is helping them advance their business objectives, can you really blame them?
Clear cut guidelines regarding what cannot be shared and how the company communicates.
However, IBM also encourages “IBMers” to express themselves, let their voice shine, and demonstrate their skills and creativity on social media.
Employees are encouraged to inspire discourse and share ideas via blogging and social media.
Social media policies are important in order to avoid the “lack of common sense” mistakes. However, the degree of leniency is up to you and your management team to decide based on the structure of your company. Pick and choose what works best for your brand and company culture. Consider that, in an age where social media is playing a notable part in many companies' inbound marketing strategies, does it really make sense to completely stifle your employees' freedom and ability to share your content and spread your messages?
Does your company have a social media policy in place? How strict or lenient is it? Do you think it is serving your company well, or do changes need to be made?
Originally published Dec 14, 2011 5:30:00 PM, updated October 14 2019