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The Top 25 Best Practices for Drafting Social Media Policies and Guidelines

March 29, 2011

In his latest blog, The Rules of Social Media Engagement (well worth a read),  Brian Solis is generous enough to share his insights gained when reviewing many social media policies for his book “Engage!”.

Following is what he sees as the resulting list of best practices to observe when developing specific guidelines for the use of social media in an organisation, which I thought well worth sharing:

1. Define a voice and persona representative of the brand’s purpose, mission, and characteristics

2. People expect to interact with people, be personable, consistent, and helpful

3. Keep things conversational as it applies to portraying and reinforcing the personality and value of your brand and the brand you represent

4. Add value to each engagement — contribute to the stature and legacy of the brand

5. Respect those whom you’re engaging and also respect the forum in which you participate

6. Ensure that you honor copyrights and practice and promote fair use of applicable content

7. Protect confidential and proprietary information

8. Business accounts are no place to share personal views unless they reinforce the brand values and are done according to the guidelines and code of conduct

9. Be transparent and be human yes, but also do so based on true value propositions and solutions

10. Represent what you should represent and do not overstep your bounds without prior approval

11. Know and operate within the boundaries defined, doing so protects you, the company, and the people with whom you’re hoping to connect

12. Know when to walk away. Don’t engage trolls or fall into conversational traps

13. Stay on message, on point and on track with the goals of your role and its impact to the real world business in which you contribute

14. Don’t trash competition, spotlight points of differentiation and value

15. Apologize where applicable and according to the established code of conduct. Seek approval by legal or management where such action is not pre-defined

16. Take accountability for your actions and offer no excuses

17. Know whom you’re taking to and what they’re seeking

18. Disclose relationships, representation, affiliation and intentions

19. Refer open issues or questions to those most qualified to answer

20. Practice self-restraint, some things are not worth sharing

21. Empower qualified spokespersons to offer solutions and resolutions

22. Seek the approval of customers and partners before spotlighting their case studies

23. Take the time to interpret the context of a situation before jumping in with a response

24. What you share can and will be used against you – The internet as a long memory

25. When in doubt, ask for guidance

I might add “when in doubt, don’t”!

  1. I’m not sure I agree with “When in doubt, don’t” when it comes to social media, particularly when I consider organisation that aren’t yet on board due to fears of getting it wrong. I don’t think it’s that hard to start, provided people are clear that they’re always representing a brand rather than themselves.

    • Hi Maryanne

      Thank you for your comment.

      Yes, I think I should have clarified that statement. I actually didn’t mean “don’t engage in social media”; conversely I think it’s really important for organisations to get involved without fear. Rather I meant that if you’re in doubt about the content of a particular post, don’t post it. If you’re not sure how a tweet or comment is going to be received, it’s probably better to leave it. It’s a shame that so many organisations are afraid of getting it wrong, when it’s such a great communication medium and one of the best ways of getting it “right”, is as you say, to just start.

      Hope that clarifies my opinion on this?

      All the best


  2. Thanks for such a valuable blog 🙂 There’s so much in here worth reading.

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