If you’re reading this post, then you get just how important it is and are looking for ways to improve your own social media policy.
A few weeks ago I blogged about the negative impact social media can have on employee productivity. To deal with the issue, I suggested introducing a social media policy. A lot of people have been in touch asking just what a social media policy should cover.
While every business is different and will have varying requirements, depending on their size, culture and so forth. There are some core elements every policy should include. HireRabbit and Hubspot have done a great job at compiling some of the best corporate social media policies, which you can read below. Have a look through them and pick the parts that seem most appropriate for your company.
Adapted from Hire Rabbit. You can read the full article here.
First let’s take a look at how Adidas does things. As you may know, Adidas is one of the market giants in the sports apparel manufacturing industry. Adidas is a world-famous brand with offices and employees situated all around the globe. How exactly do they manage their employees’ social media ventures? Adidas takes a very encouraging but strict approach when it comes to their Social Media Guidelines. Here are some highlights from Adidas’ Social Media Policy:
- Employees are allowed to associate themselves with the company when posting but they must clearly brand their online posts as personal and purely their own. The company should not be held liable for any repercussions the employees’ content may generate.
- Content pertaining to sensitive company information (particularly those found within Adidas internal networks) should not be shared to the outside online community. Divulging information like the company’s design plans, internal operations and legal matters are prohibited.
- Proper copyright and reference laws should be observed by employees when posting online.
For the second example, let’s take a look at the biggest multinational consumer electronics corporation in America: Best Buy. With a customer service system that relies heavily on the use of social media, Best Buy’s Social Media Policy is clear-cut and precise. Let’s browse through some key points:
- Like Adidas, Best Buy also mandates its employees to freely disclose their affiliation with the company granted that disclaimers are set freeing the company from any intellectual investment in the post.
- Dishonourable content such as racial, ethnic, sexual, religious, and physical disability slurs are not tolerated.
- Employees are not allowed to disclose information that are financial, operational and legal in nature, as well as any information that pertains to clients and customers.
- HP promotes healthy and honest discourse with its readers.
- The company reserves the right to edit or amend any misleading or inaccurate content depicted in blog posts. The company also reserves the right to delete blog posts violating the code of conduct.
- HP values, respects, and upholds the intellectual property rights of its bloggers.
Let’s now shake it up a little and move into the fashion industry. As one of the most recognizable fashion brands in the world, GAP also recognizes the need to moderate the use of social media amongst their employees within the work place. At a company conference last year, GAP handed out brochures to its employees depicting proper guidelines and decorum that had to be satisfied when partaking in social media. It was an interesting approach, as the brochure’s content was very conversational, but very straight-forward as well. Here are some excerpts:
- “Some subjects can invite a flame war. Be careful discussing things where emotions run high (e.g. politics and religion) and show respect for others’ opinions.”
- “Your job comes first. Unless you are an authorized Social Media Manager, don’t let social media affect your job performance.”
- “If you #!%#@# up? Correct it immediately and be clear about what you’ve done to fix it. Contact the social media team if it’s a real doozy.”
- “Don’t even think about it…. Talking about financial information, sales trends, strategies, forecasts, legal issues, future promotional activities. Giving out personal information about customers or employees. Posting confidential or non-public information. Responding to an offensive or negative post by a customer. There’s no winner in that game.”
#5. OracleOracle’s approach to social media is a little on the stricter side. Here are some of the highlights of Oracle's social media policy.
- 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.
- Use your common sense.
- Beware of privacy issues.
- Play nice, and be honest.
As long as your employees understand what common sense is and how to use it, this policy is A-okay.#7. IBM
- 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.
In my next post I’ll be addressing the growing issue of cyber-bullying at work. Please take 3 minutes to complete our EXTREMELY short survey.
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David Bell is Managing Director of The HR Department, outsourced human resources specialists for Irish SMEs.