Setting Limits: Examples of Social Media Policies

To help your employees understand what is (and is not) acceptable online behavior, we’ve previously discussed the need to draft an in-house social media policy. But if you’ve been wondering how other companies craft their policies, now you can see for yourself.

This online database of social media policies includes the communications guidelines and handbooks used by dozens of companies, from About.com to Yahoo (sorry, no “Z” companies listed yet). Maybe you’d like to know how Coca-Cola advises its employees (PDF) to conduct themselves online, or how the Mayo Clinic moderates comments?

And if your company frequently represents the messages of others, there’s a solution for that, too.

For example, we here at Creative Concepts have our own internal social media policy (downloadable here), which separates our actions as individuals from our actions on behalf of our clients.

Why?

Because our creative team holds a variety of opinions, ideas and beliefs, and we believe that we should be free to express ourselves as ourselves. But when we’re speaking on behalf of our clients, we ensure that there’s a proper separation of our personalities & philosophies and theirs.

We’re not alone. In the Coca-Cola example above, their policy clarifies the difference between speaking “on behalf of the company” and speaking “about” the company. They also designate which groups of employees are expected to respond to certain conversations (such as negative commentary about the company), and how. (Because no one wants to be the next “Nestle vs. Greenpeace” case study of a conversation gone wrong.)

The lesson? Social media is embraceable by companies of all sizes. But strategy and planning isn’t just for your outward-facing messages; it’s also a necessity for helping your employees know what’s expected of them.

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