Top Guns: Best of Best in Social Media Policy, Guidelines

January 27th, 2010   •   2 comments   

We’ve been helping our corporate clients with social media or online social network strategies, uses and policies of late and as I have been reading through the volume of information, I thought I’d post and share the “best of the best” that I’ve found thus far (I would say Harrison Ford, Robert Duvall, Clint Eastwood if we had to equate these corporate studs to cinema action heros). Jumping into social media if you are a business is intimidating and risky to say the least.  We advise clients to get a strategy in place (based on traditional core values and marketing principles) decide who is responsible for leading the social media strategy, and by all means, develop a policy AND set of guidelines customized to the client needs/circumstances.  I think “policy” and “guidelines” are 2 distinct things but I’ll save that for another post. Here is a list combining a bit of policy, guidelines and etiquette.  I’m sure I am leaving out many others we could add, so if you read this and want to comment on other “super-studs” out there, please do so!  I’d love to keep this list going and update it as a reference to post on my website. 

  • Remember what you post is 3 things: Global, Permanent and Discoverable (Bryan Simkins FedEx,
  • Assume that your professional life and personal life will merge online (Los Angeles Times
  • Realize that social media communities have their own culture, etiquette, and norms–be respectful of them (NPR, National Public Radio,
  • When in doubt, DON’T POST (Coca Cola  For their online social media guidelines, check here:
  • Be a “scout” for compliments and criticism of our brand (Coca Cola)
  • Give credit where credit is due and don’t violate others’ rights (Coca Cola)
  • Adhere to company Code of Business Conduct and other applicable policies (Coca Cola)
  • You are responsible for your own actions (Coca Cola)
  • Write what you know (Intel  On Twitter, follow @kenekaplan and @kfcochrane )
  • Be transparent (Intel)
  • It’s a conversation (Intel)
  • Be judicious (Intel)
  • Be a Leader (Intel)
  • Speak in first Person (IBM  On Twitter, follow @thereyesreport and @ragtag and @IBMEvents)
  • Respect your audience (IBM)
  • Protect confidential and proprietary information (IBM)
  • Add value (IBM)
  • Avoid Sarcasm (Xerox  On Twitter, follow @arenak for @xeroxcorp)
  • Be the first to respond to your own mistakes (IBM)
  • Don’t forget your day job (I love this!! by IBM)
  • Separate Opinions from Facts (SAP, Business Management Software Solutions Applications and Services,
  • Identify yourself (SAP)
  • Post frequently (Kodak  Chief Blogger and Social Media Manager is Jennifer Cisney and you can follow them on twitter @kodakcb )
  • Content gathered online is subject to the same attribution rules as other content (NPR)
  • We will not delete comments unless they are spam, off-topic or defamatory (General Motors
We have seen the words “common sense” and “good judgment” a lot in these guidelines and the problem with that is that not everyone has it and it’s like saying you have “good taste.”  This is subjective and assumes a universal definition leaving a lot of room for exposure, so be sure whoever is leading your social media guides and policy has the experience, brain power and intuition to ensure the best outcomes.  Thanks for reading this and I’d welcome your additions to add to this list!


  1. Mark W Schaefer says:

    This is a fun and fascinating post! Well done!

  2. Hi Amy,

    This is a great collection of Do's and Don'ts re: social media but… do I really have to avoid sarcasm? If I do, I may just shrivel up and die and we cant have that now can we?!?!?

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