What do you mean I can’t do that?

February 20, 2012 § 28 Comments

Social media offers a great way for organizations of all kinds to encourage interaction among customers, employees, fans, friends, followers and commenters. Making sure members of an organization understand how to use social media effectively and how to avoid problems becomes easier when an organization has a social media policy.

We’ll look at why a policy can be good, examine good and bad policies. You will critique a policy in class.

Secondly, you will  draw up a policy for an organization you belong to.

Points: 20

Due: Feb. 27

Warning signsAssignment: Using an organization you belong to, work for, have knowledge of, develop a social media policy that would effectively both encourage social media use and discourage inappropriate social media use. The policy, which is likely about two pages,  should include:

  • An introduction that briefly explains both the potential and the problems of social media, particularly for this organization.
  • At least 10 guidelines designed specifically for the organization. For instance, you can use various policies online as a starting point, but you do have to tailor the policy for your organization and its members.
  • Grades will be based on how well the policy fits the organization, its tone and completeness. The tone means it would be effective for college students, for instance, if you were writing a policy for  an organization of college students.
  • Email the final policy to your kindly professor.
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§ 28 Responses to What do you mean I can’t do that?

  • dakotahbraun says:

    I am looking at the Coca-Cola social media policy. It’s a pretty well-written policy. It includes all of the “must haves” like confidentiality, respect of copyright and utilizing of best practices.
    It encourages engagement in the community while still maintaining rights to the company.

  • kkrzemien10 says:

    I chose to look at the United States Navy Social Media Handbook. The handbook is very detailed, as it would have to be as a department of the United States Military. It begins with a definition of social media, who uses it and why it can be helpful and hurtful.

    The handbook sections for personal media and social media having to do with the Navy. It encourages its employees to think about their friends, families and commands before posting anything on a public social media site. It also goes into detail about how important it is to keep classified information secret and make sure the information posted is relevant and adds to the site in general. The last part of the handbook offers multiple checklists for different employees to look at before they post on a social media site.

    The United States Navy Social Media Handbook includes all the aspects we have discussed in class. As mentioned, because the Navy deals with classified information, it is very important that they have a very detailed handbook describing every situation that could be encountered. The tone is very appropriate, and there are not any aspects missing.

    • carolzuegner says:

      Kaylyn,
      I’m glad you chose the Navy one. I do think that’s a good policy. It would be a difficult line to follow at times. I’m going to have to check out the checklists. Perhaps a good idea for any social media policy?

  • Becky says:

    I chose the L.A. Times social media policy to read through. The policy is written in easy language. Their policy includes legal aspects but also emphasizes the positive impact that social media can have. As writing professionals, the policy focuses on the fact that by adding someone to a social media site, outsiders may look at them as a “source” so be weary.
    Joining different groups can also be influential on an audience for the L.A. Times. By joining a specific group, people may associate you with the same views as the group. As such, any bias opinions and views should not be posted on the internet. Another important aspect of the policy is how private social media can be. Even if you have all secure sites, assume that anything you post can be made public.
    The policy hits all of the major points that we covered in class- and then some. Overall, this policy seems effective in educating staff about what is allowed and what is not.

  • Matt G says:

    The organization I chose was the South Carolina State Library (http://www.slideshare.net/scstatelibrary/south-carolina-state-library-social-media-policy-final) whose policy comprises, largely, of two major approaches: 1 – a list of hard-defined policies that determine when comments, blogs, and social media uses are appropriate, and when they are not, and 2 – acknowledging the fine line between profession and private identities with relation to social media.

    This policy is less comprehensive than that of Ball State University, but is simple and easy to comprehend, and touches on the most important facets of a social media policy. They both cover the proper means of authorization, and communication when using social media, and expresses the importance of labeling certain items as views unique to the individual posting them, and not necessarily indicative of the views of the organization of which they area a part.

    The SCSL policy does, however, miss on some other important points. It does not address the use of official images and logos, and doesn’t reference improper uses of personal/private information that the state library might be privy to. Nonetheless, the policy is effective in its own right.

  • Intel’s social media policy fits all of the 10 must haves that were outlined in class. It is in very clear language that speaks to its audience. It does so in a pleasant tone that reminds people to be responsible for what they write. It speaks to exercising good judgment and respecting copyright and fair use.

    The best part of their social media policy is the confidentiality of the company. They remind you to be careful you don’t divulge too much information about yourself and “oh by the way” don’t divulge our information either. It gets its point across without being seen as a billion dollar company that wants you to keep your thoughts to yourself. Intel comes off as a friend who is reminding you that you should be mindful of what you post. By doing this I think people will respond to it more.

  • mariebroos says:

    I selected Best Buy’s social media policy to critique. First off, Best Buy is known for its innovative and creative branding. That being said, Best Buy’s social media policy is somewhat informal and conversational. They highlight several points about making it clear that what you say via any social media platform is YOUR own opinion and not that of Best Buy. Employees are supposed to: act responsible and ethical at all times; never disclose numbers or promotional information; no personal information about other employees; and no legal information.

    There were several parts that were very appealing to me about confidential information, including ‘do not publish, post, or release information that is considered confidential or top secret.
    Basically, if you find yourself wondering if you can talk about something you learned at work — don’t.’ The way in which they wrote this makes it very relatable for any employee, yet makes it clear that if you violate these policies, there will be severe consequences. The last line in the policy is my favorite part because it encompasses the entire purpose of the social media policy, especially for such a renowned electronics retailer – “Remember, protect the brand, protect yourself.” This is so clear because it acknowledges who Best Buy is and what they expect from their employees. Best Buy has always been cognizant of its reputation and its social media policy clearly states that any employee who violates the simple terms of the policy will be fired. Is it worth it? Not really.

    Overall, very concise social media policy. Very direct and easy to understand for all employees of Best Buy!

  • Teek says:

    YMCA Huston – http://www.ymcahouston.org/policy/socialmedia/
    The purpose of the policy is to interact and share what happens at YMCA events. I think they did a good job covering most of what is necessary for based on what they need. Interacting with members and allowing them to share photos and feedback. They covered the important components when it comes to professionalism and photos(ensuring that permission is obtained from all parties in the picture). I do like that their able to point out that they will address all concerns and anything that is offending any one person or group will be removed. Because of the nature of the program I think it is completely necessary. I do think that it is a little hard to control knowing whether or not someone has permission from all people in a photograph. That might be one part of it that would need to be expanded on a little, because the YMCA is typically going to be getting pictures of children.

  • The company I chose is Best Buy, mainly because Best Buy doesn’t have much of an online social media presence. Hence, I imagine their social media policy is ripe with negative things to critique.

    Their policy’s tagline is pretty interesting: “Be Smart. Be Respectful. Be Human.” The “Be Human” part is strange, particularly coming from a technology-focused retail company. The policy seems pretty casual, it seems to focus on how to separate one’s personal and professional social media identity. For instance, they say that when discussing anything, you must: “State that it’s YOUR opinion.” In other words, they do not state that your opinion should reflect Best Buy’s opinion, but that you should be clear in the distinction between what is your personal opinion and what is not.

    However, they do say that when it comes to your personal conduct, that you should live the values of Best Buy (particularly in the non-discrimination realm). As well, they are very clear on what should NEVER be heard from you, such as confidential information, financial information, and anything that is strictly the propert of Best Buy (such as logos).

    Overall, this seems like a pretty fair policy. Best Buy’s success is not tied to their social media presence so they probably do not take it as seriously as say, Facebook or WordPress. In that sense, I think they honor the personal preferences of the employee in a manner that is still conducive to the image of Best Buy. Not bad.

  • I am critiquing the social media policy of Volvo. This policy is pretty straight forward as far as how employees should represent the Volvo Car Corporation. Many of the guidelines involve interaction with others on social media sites. These guidelines include: respect, be humble and promote others.

    The main aspects of the policy are in place to make sure employees shed the company in a good light, especially to competitors. They allow employees to disagree with people on social media, but it always needs to be in a respectful way. Healthy competition is encouraged, but respect of the most importance.

    I think the Volvo policy is good enough to maintain an active yet positive presence on social media sites.

  • Ali Vitek says:

    After reviewing Coca-Cola’s social media policy, it’s clear that they wer thorough when creating their regulations. The one thing that Coke emphasizes the most is making sure everyone takes responsibility for their actions and posts online. In their list of 10 principles, I would say that six of them have to do with taking responsibiliyy. Some of these include being mindful of the company, not posting if you’re in doubt and remembering that your local posts have a global effect.

    In addition to this, Coca-Cola also requires all employees who wish to represent the company online to go through a social media certification program. I feel that this is important to insure that all employees know the risks they run by posting certain things.

    Overall, their social media policy is pretty thorough, but not to the point of overbearing. Coca-Cola is simply looking out for the company’s best interest.

  • I chose to look up the social networking guidelines for Nordstrom. Nordstrom seems to have a very common and straightforward social networking guidelines set up for their employees.

    Nordstrom approves of their employees having social media networks such as twitter and Facebook. They see these social media networks as a better way to further develop relationships with customers. However, Nordstrom believes that if you are using these social networking sites during the business day and during business hours, the social media must also be business appropriate.

    All in all, I do believe that Nordstrom sets very realistic guidelines for their social media users.

  • mecarlough says:

    Coca-Cola’s social media policy seems to be tied down with too much Jarvis Green & Ellis talk for my personal liking. It is too formal and spends an enormous amount of time telling you what to be careful of and what not to post on various social media outlets. It talks about how employees should express leadership, collaboration, integrity, blah, blah blah. Frankly, the person running the Coca-Cola twitter account or the deviations of Coca-Cola’s twitter accounts should certainly express the values of the company. Coca-Cola should not worry about its employees’ twitter accounts, unless they should be derogatory towards the company in any manner.

    The social media policy is too long, uses too many large words, and should be more friendly. I understand that Coca-Cola is billion-dollar, very successful company, but come on, have some fun! Get your followers up too on your Twitter page! Weak!

    –Ross Ferrarini

  • Rain Sissel says:

    I chose to critique Flickr’s social media policy for users called “Community Guidelines.” Flickr’s social media policy includes many of the elements discussed in class. The main things Flickr highlights is to not use your account to sell, host web graphics, violate copyright laws, and upload illegal or prohibited content. Appropriate action will be taken regarding the offense i.e. the account will be deleted, material will be removed, and or law enforcement may be notified.

    Flickr also includes a list of things to keep in mind while using the site i.e. copyright infringement and flagging inappropriate or offensive content. The page is linked to a FAQ page and a Privacy Policy explanation, and contact information for Flickr staff is also included.

    I think that Flickr covers most of the necessary bases well. I enjoy that they have included some humorous “to do’s” such as: “Don’t be creepy. You know the guy. Don’t be that guy.” Their social media policy is clear and includes many important elements of social media do’s and don’ts’.

  • joshualangel says:

    I’m reading the Ogilvy for my social media policies. It is very well done giving their employees some freedom to write. Respect the clients and remember that you are representing our company as well as those whom we represent.
    It also relies heavily on the fact that you aren’t allowed to copy others work unless specifically quoting them or retweeting them. Always be respectful.

  • mcarlough says:

    Coca-Cola’s Social Media guide is spelled out completely. I think that this is a good example of a Social Media guide because it is not difficult to read, and they spell everything out. They highlight this sentence: “There’s a big difference in speaking “on behalf of the Company” and speaking “about” the Company. ” After, they have five rules that people need to adhere to when using social media on behalf of the company.
    Coca-Cola has ten principles to guide employees on what they should do when posting social media. Some of these are basic, such as “When in doubt, do not post,” “give credit where credit is due” and “know that the internet is permanent.” While these may seem like obvious statements, sometimes people do not know, or just forget. Having these rules written out like this cause the writer to think twice before they actually write anything down, which makes it less likely for the writer to write or say anything that will get them in trouble.

  • madalynshea says:

    Coca-Cola is notorious for its branding. I think that its social media policy reflects the company and what has made it famous. The policy touches on all of the elements discussed in class like encouraging interactions while being authentic, exercising good judgements and protecting confidentiality. Coke is a great example of how to be involved with your customers while still being respectful and maintaining the professional and fun tone that has made the company famous.

  • dash24 says:

    The Best Buy media social media policy is a good policy I think. They really talk about being professional and being careful what about what yo share online. They say “act responsible and ethically” the are real concerned with paying attention to what is being put on the web by their employers. the personal information section is the section that caught my attention. They talk about watching what you say, for example don’t bad mouth and of your employers or don’t put any personal information as well. This is short but I think feel written it gets straight to the point and lets the employers know what they should and shouldn’t do.

  • theheidihoffmanblog says:

    Alright, so the social media policy that I looked at was Walmart. It’s a large company with thousands of employees, which is why I thought it would be a good policy to take a look at.

    Walmart is on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Foursquare, so they have a generic social media policy and then they have more specific engagement policies for each outlet.

    The overall sentiment for Walmart’s social media policy is positive and asks its associates to be respectful about what they post and use good judgement instead of listing ways that employees who use social media can be punished. Walmart’s policy focuses on the fact that they already have a social media team dedicated to responding to customer inquiries or criticism so that’s not something that employees should be doing with their personal accounts. They also have different social media management guidelines for managers, which I thought was a good idea.

    The only thing I thought was missing was that the policy didn’t address all of the social media outlets Walmart uses. It only addresses Twitter and Facebook. The policy leaves out YouTube, Flickr and Foursquare.

  • I looked at the social media policy for Nordstrom employees. I was really impressed at their forward-thinking mindset. They organized it well and included necessary elements.

    It begins with an introduction that encourages employees to use social media because social networking is “fun and valuable” but also warns that “there are some risks you should keep in mind when using these tools.” I think that they explained it very well in saying that “In the social media world, the lines are blurred between what is public or private, personal or professional.”

    I really liked that they put everything in the tone of “Do this” instead of “Don’t do this,” because I believe that when people are encouraged to do something rather than discouraged from doing something else, it is more effective. It also always connected back to their mission of customer service, which I think is important. This made the tone very appropriate.

    It commented on the elements listed in the slideshow: being comfortable about sharing, protecting confidentiality, productivity matters, conflicts of interest, etc.

    Nordstrom did a good job in explaining to its employees their expectations.

  • emattingly6 says:

    The policy I chose is Best Buy’s social media policy. The policy is very straight forward. The very first line in bold letters states: Be smart. Be respectful. Be human. I feel this is a good way to make sure people are mindful of their statements on social media sites. The policy states multiple times that employees must state that their comments are their own opinions and not that of Best Buy. They ask that you act responsibly and ethically and not misrepresent yourself.

    Best Buy requires that non-public financial or operational information should never be disclosed. Employees should also never disclose personal information regarding fellow employees or customers. Any and all legal issues should never be disclosed.

    The company also asks that employees post their own creations and let other people post what belongs to them and not interfere with what belongs to someone else.

    Best Buy’s social media policy covers the main points from the power point in class and is a very basic policy for a company that is as well known and successful as Best Buy.

  • Lauren Scarboro says:

    Walmart Social Media Policy

    The social media policy is very straight forward, but does not cover all social media sites that are really prominent today. The first site covered is Twitter followed by Facebook, and Foursquare is briefly mentioned at the end, but there are no policies for other social media sites.

    Walmart uses Twitter to provide customers with information about major activities and initiates, and welcomes customer input on all tweets. The policy doesn’t seem very detailed though. They say that they want users to send them at messages, but want facts to support a persons message, and then state that they reserve the right not to respond to any particular message. The policy also states that anyone following a twitter account, or including a twitter account link in a tweet does not mean that Walmart specifically endorses that particular person, or their view.

    Facebook policies are a little more concrete. There are 6 points highlighted. 1. Don’t do anything that breaks the law. 2. Show respect and be polite. 3. Stay on topic. 4. Keep it real. 5. There is a place for customer service questions or complaints, concerns or ideas. 6. Walmart reserves the right to remove any content it deems unnecessary to foster a healthy and respectful community. There is a team dedicated to monitoring all Facebook posts and responding to any comments, no employee should try to reply to a customers question or comment.

    Walmart also has a policy that states that no employee can check-in at their own store through any location based program, like Foursquare, or else it gives them an unfair advantage over customers.

  • kelseyrhea16 says:

    American Red Cross
    Kelsey Ham

    I looked at the American Red Cross social media policy. The Red Cross does a good job of encouraging people to connect with social media. They also need to be cautious of what they write. This is clearly stated in the line: “We love building online communities using social media tools, but make no mistake, adopting a social media strategy at your local unit is a significant commitment of your time both daily and long term.”

    They also ask their people to be authentic when the policy states: “We invite you to find, join, and participate in our national social media presence, and guide you in creating your own local social media presence.” Here they tell people to not only make sure their social media is great for people to use, but also it is best to create your own local social media presence.

    They ask people to exercise good judgment by stating how you should manage and start a smart Twitter account:

    What are the rules?
    Naming your Twitter account:
    Choose a name that clearly indicates your local affiliation.
    Keep your name as short as possible. You only have 140 characters to type, so the less your name takes up, the better for retweeting.
    Your profile image
    Twitter’s image machine is tiny. It’s difficult to adhere to brand standards on this one, but you must! If you’re having trouble, please contact us at national and we’ll help you devise an appropriate image
    Your Twitter design
    You have the flexibility to design a background image for your Twitter account. Please follow brand standards if you choose to do this.

    The policy states that you must respect copyright and fair use with the statement: “Channel customization: please adhere to brand standards when choosing the look and feel for your youtube channel and images.”
    They say you must consider your audience by “being ready to offer mission-based value to your local supporters.” It also states that you must know your local supporters by doing research. They say before you start up your own local Red Cross account you should first research other local organizations for at least a month.
    They say that productivity, value and understanding the concept of the community is very important and they give the following example to help people start up and maintain their own social media image:
    Here are a few examples of chapters we think are doing a bang up job of providing valuable information to people who want it:
    Tampa Red Cross
    Southeastern Wisconsin Red Cross
    Hawaii Red Cross

    Overall the social media policy of the Red Cross does a decent job of covering many of the must-haves, but seems to leave out anything about libel, publicly criticizing a competitor and confidentiality. I am very surprised that they do not have anything about confidentiality seeing that they work heavily with people who have suffered major emotional and physical problems. I do have to commend the Red Cross for being thorough with telling people how to start a social media site and maintain it in a respectful manner.

  • Tyson Reeder says:

    I read FedEx’s “Blog Policy” and was surprised at how concentrated the policy is on their blog. They do not mention any other means of social media. That being said, it is very thorough and focuses mostly on customer comments that people post. It makes a commenter liable for what they post. The policy is very easy to read, and is structured nicely, but contains enough legal jargon to keep it official and binding. I feel that they need to consider updating their policy because they are not covering Twitter, Facebook, or any of the the other current or future social media avenues. Overall it is a well written policy, but it is very blog focused.

  • Dino Beldia says:

    Dino Beldia

    The social media policy I’m covering is the one for AMP3 PR. Their policy includes for both personal usage and company guidelines. In the introduction to the policy, they say that the guidelines cover but are not limited to a variety of media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. AMP3 encourages their employees to use social media but at the same time be responsible. They want employees to be involved in social media, but not so much that it distracts them from their work.
    Their policy has a lot of the elements that were discussed in class. In the guidelines, AMP3 instructs their employees to be responsive and be respectful. They want their employees to respond to someone’s comment in 24 hours and to avoid starting fights online. Another thing that they mention was to respect copyright. They have a policy of giving credit to any sources. Their policy also includes full disclosure and how their employees should never discuss a product or organization for cash. The one thing that stood out was their policy for thinking ahead. AMP3 mentions that their employees should protect themselves, their privacy and the organization’s confidential information. People will have access to whatever they put on the Internet and will be around for a long time. They even say “Google has a long memory.”

  • kporter1123 says:

    Coca-Cola Critique: On Behalf of Myself

    Coca-Cola is no stranger to utilizing social media to help contour their company’s image. Their social media guidelines are pretty clear and aim to empower the company. I liked that they took a positive stance on the guidelines, and stayed away from any condescending undertones that might be associated with big companies. However, at three pages, there are a lot of repetitive points, and I have a feeling the guidelines would be skimmed by employees who might ultimately not retain the rules.

    Their slogan, brand, and overall image are classic and the polar bears are practically ingrained in their name itself. They are a soft drink company that has monopolized on one of the biggest holidays of the year and consistently is in a power struggle with their biggest competitor, so it makes sense that they take their social media guidelines very seriously. While it’s smart that they did not leave anything out (besides specifying the disciplinary actions), Coca-Cola should simplify and stream-line their guidelines to ensure ultimate customer, employee, and employer satisfaction with their social media image.

  • beatricejho says:

    As a die hard for the products of Coca Cola, I decided to look at their social media policy. I appreciated the fact that right off the bat, they decided to acknowledge the importance for them to approach social media in the right manner. Especially since Coca Cola is such a big company that umbrellas so many products, their name is very big. If they had something that was said that offended someone or had something that did not follow social media customs, it could potentially really hurt their company. I liked how they related their company morals to an individual’s morals. By doing this, they are considering their audience as an individual and not just by the mass. Each person can relate to their morals that they have listed. In the following statements, they seem to be very genuine and seem to be aware that for whatever they write, they will take credit and responsibility for it. Overall, I think that their policy is very clear and understandable. From a consumer’s point of view, I think that they did a good job by being able to identify with their consumers.

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