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9 Elements of a Great Social Media Policy – Using CocaCola as an Example

September 9, 2010

[tweetmeme]According to WikiAnswers Coca Cola has 71,000 employees all around the world, with 59,000 of them outside of the United States.

Coca Cola have over 100,ooo followers on twitter and over three million facebook followers.

How do you manage this in terms of social media, especially with such a large, culturally diverse and dispersed work force?

Coca-Cola recently released a new social media policy outlining their online social media principles. It’s a great policy for a large organisation for a number of reasons; here are a few key points I chose:

  1. It’s public. Publicising your social media policy makes some clear statements about your company. It speaks volumes about a willingness to engage with customers and key stake holders, exudes confidence and tells the general public that you are innovative enough to have thought through a new media context.
  2. It says why Coca Cola have developed their online principles. Again, it shows that there is a clearly thought out reason for having a social media policy, quote “These Online Social Media Principals have been developed to help empower our associates to participate in this new frontier of marketing a communications, represent our Company, and share the optimistic and positive spirits of our brands”. They also give great reasons couched in identifiable Coca Cola language and style.
  3. It outlines the shared values of the organisation with the idea that these values are “demonstrated in the online social media space” and to “guide participation in this area”.  It clearly states that these values are intended to be used both personally and while representing the company and discusses the possible intersection and implications of both. This is interesting – there is much discussion around whether companies should be directing social media content in a personal context.
  4. Coca Cola have committed to and shared 5 core values in the social media community and have requested the same from all company representatives including vendors and suppliers.
  5. Coca Cola have differentiated between speaking “on behalf of the Company” and speaking “about” the Company. They have developed principals for each distinction and clearly outlined their expectations of each. Clever.
  6. To be an official online spokesperson for Coca Cola you have to be Certified by the company – what a great idea for a large organisation! This ensures that their official social media spokes people are up to date and trained both on strategy and social media.
  7. Coca Cola have asked that  subject matter experts respond to negative posts. This means that while Coca Cola employees can be on the look out for negative posts they pass the post onto a certified spokesperson thus limiting potential fall out from badly thoughout responses.
  8. They have developed 10 principles as expectations to guide how their Certified Online Spokespeople should represent the Company. These principles are worth reading and taking note of; very clear, very directed and addressing the legal implications of confidentiality and privacy.
  9. It’s brief! All that, captured in just three pages.

Well done Coca Cola.

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