Social media guidelines are becoming a standard for today’s organizations and a way to explicitly set the rules of engagement while trying to mitigate corporate risk. Effective policies outline best practices of engagement and importance of brand rather than restrictions on access or conversation.
However, rather than put social media guidelines in place, some organizations have attempted to attain more control over the conversation by limiting access and pushing mute – most notably, ESPN and the NFL. So why such the Web 2.0 hate from organizations? Most organizations are wrestling with social media because they fear the disclosure of proprietary or sensitive information and their employees are the organizations, thus their comments represent the organization as a whole.
Organizations that “get it” are able to empower their employees to be representatives of the brand and furthermore, foster relationships with customers and diffuse potentially disastrous issues before they explode. Here is a list of savvy organizations that have developed social media policies:
United States Airforce – http://www.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-090406-036.pdf
Hewlett Packard – http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/blogs/codeofconduct.html
So what are SwellPath’s social media guidelines you may be asking? Simple – Tweet long and prosper.*
*But don’t tweet on the weekends, but do tweet about how great we are, but don’t tweet about our secret sauce, but do tweet about how good the secret sauce is, but don’t tweet about Adam’s mom, but do tweet about corporate tweeting…”
My point is, you don’t nor will you ever own the conversation. Corporate social media guidelines can be useful for employees unfamiliar with this medium and possibly unclear about the importance of brand. Rather than focus on the control over a medium where you have no control, focus instead on your culture, product offering, customer service, ect. – things your organization can control.