Before you read this post I would encourage reviewing the starting point of this series. The need for social conversation guidelines exists for all companies but the guidelines need not be complicated. Best Buy has done a great job of publicly posting their Twelpforce Twitter guidelines and they are a good starting point for you to review. I love these guidelines for a couple of reasons:
- They are publicly available providing a level of transparency, something you should consider for your guidelines.
- Since the Twelpforce initiative is still an experiment in progress, they are evolving these guidelines as Best Buy learns more. These documents need to be living documents, do not expect to write it once and have it hold up forever.
- Twelpforce members self-police and participate in the evolution of these guidelines. Employee buy-in, true buy-in, cannot be mandated, involve employees in the process.
Read these, leverage these, they do a great job of hitting the key items you need to consider. Also, remember that I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV. You should chat with your legal team about the guidelines you put in place. I won’t replicate the great work Best Buy has already done, but I do want to note some other key points you should consider as part of pulling together your guidelines.
Where do you start?
If you already have internal guidelines for code of conduct you should dust those off. Those, combined with the Best Buy guidelines I noted in the beginning of this post, will make building your guidelines straight-forward.
Clarify who “owns” the accounts being used for your social media efforts. This includes:
- Who owns the content created and distributed by the social accounts.
- Who owns the social accounts themselves? Does the person who uses the account own it if they move onto another job or does the company? Be clear as it will benefit everyone as not all accounts are created equal. My recommendation is that:
- Corporate accounts, those that include the company name in the account name (not description) need to remain in the hands of the business when employees move on.
- Accounts that are named to match individuals, like my JohnFMoore Twitter account, are owned by the individuals themselves.
Should you monitor compliance?
Yes, yes, yes. If you have the right people on board they will self-police themselves, ensuring great service for everyone involved in your social conversations. However, you still need to monitor that these conversations. You can use free tools like Tweetdeck and Google Reader, or paid tools like Radian6, each have their pluses and minuses. However, if you are just getting started, download Tweetdeck and:
- Follow all of your company’s accounts, group them to more easily monitor the conversations taking place.
- Add Twitter search columns for your company name and/or your products.
Monitor and correct behaviors as needed. Mistakes made on social channels are extremely visible. Monitoring of conversations combined with a regular review process will ensure any small issues are corrected before they become large issues.
Do you have a social media policy in place today? Am I leaving out anything that’s important to your business, government agency, personal brand?