The increase in social media outlets, the increase in guidelines

I found chapter 5 of Share This; the social media book for PR professionals to be especially interesting regarding specific guidelines that employees handling social media accounts for large companies need to endure. Social media guidelines is defined as, “a set of principles created by an organization to help employees understand the boundaries and desired do and don’ts when engaging with social media,” (pg.39.) Remember, every company is different, therefore, they have different guidelines.

Example of good communication with audiences through social media

Example of good communication with audiences through social media

The importance of guidelines
When a company creates a set of guidelines regarding social media, it sets boundaries for the employee that runs the accounts. It can help them know what to write and what not to write, which helps shield their brand from a negative image. Creating guidelines can also help employees engage in conversations with audiences.

“Too often organizations think about social media policies as a list of restrictions. But having clear guidelines can also help employees understand ways they can use social media to help achieve business goals,”(pg.40.)

In this chapter, the author expresses areas that most, if not every, organization should consider when creating guidelines:
1. Employees and expectations you have for them
2. Professionalism
3. Appropriate detail when necessary
4. Make aware of the social media accounts that DO need approval
5. Every department should have their say about the policies and guidelines
6. Clearly indicate when guidelines are put into use or updated
7. Provide training to employees
8. Go into detail about who has what job for each social media account
9. Mention and be clear about legal issues
10. Outline repercussions of violations
11. Revise and update guidelines regularly

Things to do:
Think before you post
Add a “views are my own” disclaimer where appropriate
Correct errors openly and in a timely manner
Be respectful
Check privacy settings
Disclose relationships and connections
Regularly check for updates to your organization’s social media guidelines

Things to stay away from:
Make an audience feel uncomfortable
Bring your organization into disrepute
Reveal company/ client-sensitive information or intellectual property
Be fake

“8% of companies in the United States have fired an employee for a social media flub, while another 20% have disciplined an employee for social media misbehavior,” (pg.40.)
“…24% of companies have policies for how employees should use social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, “(pg.40.)

Below are two examples of social media guidelines for Starbucks and Nike


2 thoughts on “The increase in social media outlets, the increase in guidelines

  1. Chapter 5 was a pivotal chapter from the book. It taught me the importance of making sound decisions when staring down the barrel that is social media. I checked out the Starbucks link, and it seems like more and more business are making pledges to not have their huge mega corps be swallowed by anything foul or damning regarding th networks. I’ve been taking heed on what I post, and also how I communicate with people opting to take the high road when certain hot button issues are discussed on here. And also when politics are talked about. Great post.

  2. Laura,
    I too found this chapter interesting, full of information that makes total sense, but things I had never really considered before. With that being said though, I feel like having clear guidelines for social media use is a very “real” topic in the world we live in. It is especially important when companies or brands are encouraging their followers and consumers to interact with them on their social media sites, like the Target example you gave.

    I remember reading the quote you used from page 40 and thinking, “wow, a set of guidelines to achieve your goals sounds way better than a list of restrictions!” The examples you gave for Starbucks and Nike’s social media guidelines were also really interesting and will probably be a helpful resource in finishing our class exercise of coming up with our own personal guidelines for our sites.

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