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Why Should Companies Have a Social Media Policy?

April 5, 2010

It seems like everyone and their mothers have a Facebook account these days. Whether you create, share or simply consume social content (and many do all three), it’s not hard to notice how far social media has come in the past few years, and how it continues to rapidly expand in both personal and professional use.

This is why a corporate social media policy is a must for companies, particularly when it comes to raising awareness of company efforts and most importantly, to provide positive guidelines for those wanting to participate (and usually these people will, regardless).

Raising Awareness About Company Efforts
A Social Media Policy document that is shared throughout the company, provides an ideal opportunity to share with all employees (whether they are in marketing, or finance, or IT, or sales) a basic understanding of your social media strategy and the places where you are currently active.

This is particularly important in larger corporations, where people outside of the marketing group may be less aware of what is being done. It’s not uncommon to hear employees suggest that “We should have a Twitter account”, even if you did set one up several years ago. It’s an ample opportunity to provide people within the company a better understanding of your social media direction, your areas of focus, and why.

Have a section in the document that provides a simple high level view of what you are trying to achieve, important areas of focus, where you are actively involved (and where you are not). Also share Forum URLs, your Twitter handles, your YouTube channels…, as well as what you use these for and outcomes you are trying to drive with it (be it listening, talking, energizing or supporting).

Providing Positive Guidelines
The word “policy” often screams out “constraint”, “orders”, “rules”, and all the things that you’re not allowed to do. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

A Social Media Policy can be kept positive (and should be). It’s not so much about telling people that they can’t participate in this or that, rather it’s about focusing on what they need to think about when they do participate, and encouraging them in the right direction.

Examples of common guidelines and rules of etiquette may include:

  • Being responsible for what you write
  • Exercising good judgement
  • Understanding the concept of community and conversations
  • Bringing value
  • Ongoing commitment

These are all positive things.

So if you haven’t already, the time to think about your company’s social media policy is now. Here are a few resources and examples to help you on your way:

10 Must-Haves for your Social Media Policy
16 Social Media Guidelines Used By Real Companies
Telstra’s 3Rs of Social Media Engagement
Kodak Social Media Tips

From → Social Media

  1. Titus said…
    Very good summary and comments on the necessity of a social media policy.

    In case you haven’t seen it I recommend you check out

    We build a free tool that allows you to easily create a customized social media policy.

    April 5, 2010 10:40 AM

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