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What a Social Media Policy Looks Like From Corporate Communications...

Couple of weeks ago, I gave you this social media policy for employees from the HR Capitalist.

Of course, for those of you with big, legal sounding handbooks (guilty as charged, I've written one likeSocial%20media%20starfish that before), that's not going to cut it.  You'll need more meat.  Maybe even multiple Social Media policies for different departments within your company.

It's not right or wrong, but it's a reality.  Corporate Communications departments are one stakeholder in big companies trying to figure out the real estate they need to grab, and the amount of control they need to assume, within the explosion of social media.  Thought I would share this policy from a company out west that was shared with me last week (company name removed and replaced with "____"):

1. Official ____ Social Media sites and applications are authorized only by Corporate Communications and are to be maintained only by ____  CorporateCommunications staff and/or CC designees.

2. There will be only one official social media site/page per application. Only ____ Corporate Communications may establish an application site. No ____ department, division or individual is authorized to create and maintain a social media application site on behalf of or in representation of _____.

3. Departments, Divisions and/or individuals wishing for specific communications to be posted to the official ____ social media applications should contact Corporate Communications for approval and posting. Exceptions will be made only for designated foundation and human resources representatives who are authorized to post only information of a fundraising/event or recruitment nature.

4. As with traditional media outlets and other communications vehicles, no ____ employee is authorized to speak (represent, post, tweet, etc.) on behalf of ____ other than officially designated ____ Corporate Communications Staff Members.

5. Employees utilizing social media personally should observe all laws and regulations. No personally identifying information or other information that otherwise could identify ____ customers should be included in any social media communications on employee’s personal social media sites.

6. All other _____ administrative and corporate communications policies apply to social media as with all other mediums. The policies include, but are not limited to, ____ logo usage, photos, media relations, employee relations and other public relations and marketing activities.

The clear message?  Don't act like you're speaking for the company because you aren't.  CYA like this is probably a requirement once your company reaches a certain size.  The same company is working to get an employee-focused social media policy up and running, this one is to plant the flag for all things corporate communications.

Again - not right or wrong, just an example as companies flop around looking for the right stance on this stuff.

Discuss among yourselves in the comments...

Comments

Mark Parker

Kris,
Telstra in Australia has a policy similar to this. They actually go further and demand that anyone wanting to use sites like Twitter and Facebook must go through a training course - though I read this more as "indoctrination".

I'm not suprised companies still take this approach. It's a shame really given world leaders like IBM, Dell etc openly share their policies.

Jeffry Caudill

We work with small to mid-size B2B clients - primarily manufacturers. An awful lot of these companies block social media sites from being viewed in the office, for a variety of reasons. This creates a whole new set of problems for being able to introduce them to, and encourage them to use social media.

One other comment - there are target audiences, including ours - www.gingerquill.com - that, generally speaking, simply do not use social media. As with any medium, we must first consider where our customers are, what they view, read, etc. This very basic marketing premise sometimes gets lost in the hype surrounding social mediums.

Tom Hawks II

It is so important to follow the policies of the company when implementing Social Media. - HawksPro Connections

Paul Seaman

Very good post. I've been debating corporate blogging with with Neville Hobson in the UK and with Tom Murphy at Microsoft. Neville said in our discussion on ghost Twitting and blogging that corporate blogging can be (should be) personal and free of corporate ties; whereas I said the opposite. Here's a link to a review of our conversations:

http://paulseaman.eu/2009/07/corporate-blogging-now-its-personal/

Amit Desai

Nice article and thanks for sharing your thoughts. I firmly believe that every organization big or small should have a social media policy. Recently I completed an analysis on usage of social media and its impact on productivity and have published my findings here http://www.gigathoughts.com/social-media/do-you-have-a-social-media-policy-for-your-organization.html

Hope you guys find it useful and also do let me know your views on the same

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