300 social media policies

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300 social media policies

Where do you start when it comes to creating social media guidelines for your organisation? Do you have a policy in place already but feel like it needs to be more robust? Feel like it’s too long/short and would like to see what others do? You’re in the right place.

Every week I am contacted by internal communication (IC) professionals who are looking for guidance or top tips to help them think through their social media policy. This topic came up again at the Sequel Group event in London I spoke at a couple days ago, and based on feedback from the IC pros there and from regular readers, I thought I’d write a specific article on the topic and share hundreds of policies with you.

Language choice
Think through whether you want to have a social media policy or social media guidelines/guidance. Language choice is essential in internal communication and how you refer to your ‘rules’ is important as it sets the tone for them.

Policy could imply threat, whereas guidelines opportunity. See the difference one word makes? Set out your stall from the very beginning.

As with any other comms collateral, the culture of your organisation has a huge role to play in what you produce and its format. How do you normally communicate expectations – do you have a ‘tell and sell’ mentality or it is open, two-way and transparent?

Word cloudThere are lots of tools and resources available online. It’s useful to see what your competitors are doing when it comes to their policies and to gauge how your guidelines compare to others.

I’ve had links to policies on my resources page for a while now, so thought I’d highlight them and include lots more.

What’s missing?
It takes time to scour the web and pull together a list, but I’ve done the hard work for you – see below for a detailed list of policies. The ‘usual suspects’ are there, but I’ve also sought out ones from a variety of industries and countries and included links at the foot of this page to video examples.

Found a good/bad example you think other IC pros would be interested in seeing? Do comment below or tweet me @AllthingsIC. Want me to work alongside you to help create yours? Do get in touch.

How long should a social media policy be?
What format should a social media policy take?
Who should you involve when creating social media guidance?

All of these questions regularly lead people to my blog and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach because it depends on your organisation and how far into your social media journey you are. Therefore, I’m going to share some thoughts for you to think through:

Working group
If you don’t have rules in place and are looking to create them, think about establishing a working group to do so. This should be made up of people from across the organisation – not just Comms and IT. Does your policy need to include contractors, shareholders and other stakeholders? Ensure they are involved too.

Gather your allies and think through how detailed the guidelines need to be, what is the output going to be of your efforts – a document or a video for example, or perhaps both?

‘Unconnected’ employees
Does your guidance have information about social media use not only inside your organisation but outside, for example if you have ‘unconnected’ employees, who declare they work for you via LinkedIn or their personal Facebook pages, are they aware of and covered by it?

Communicate it!

A critical stage, which often appears to be missed, is actually communicating the fact social media guidance exists in your organisation! It’s all very well having the slickest policy around, however, if it’s not communicated it’s not worth the paper it’s written on. So when you’re planning your social media guidance, create a timeline and comms plan around it. I’m happy to write more on this in future, do let me know if you want to read more on this topic.

Updating
Update it regularly. Social media moves at pace, so ensure you have a review in place to check what you’re advising is consistent with the ‘social media landscape.’ I recommend at least an annual review – and of course, don’t forget to communicate the fact it has changed or been refreshed.

Involve employees in this process and ask for their feedback and input into the revised guide. You’ll see from the list below that many of them have revision dates. I’d go a step further and say put date of last revision and date of next revision – clearly communicate with your employees and manage expectations.

Induction
Don’t forget to include the policy in your induction. Equip your employees for success by clearly outlining what the company expects and what they can expect, from day one and even during the interview process.

For example, because I blog and enjoy doing so, I have asked questions about potential restrictions during job interviews in recent years. Part of the conversation and recruitment process for me has been to understand from organisations what their social media policies are and whether they would affect my ability to write.

If there have been such rules, I have worked with them to enable me to continue blogging. Eagle-eyed readers may have spotted for example, that in my last in-house internal communication role, I didn’t refer to the company by name in my biog or anywhere online, such as LinkedIn, the whole time I worked there.

That was because I wasn’t acting as a spokesperson for the organisation, but continuing to blog as an IC pro. Due to being a heavily-regulated industry (pharmaceutical), and rightly so, there were certain restrictions for me to comply with – I never wrote about what I was working on for example. Only now I have left is the company on my LinkedIn profile and blog.

I’ve included this personal example as a way to say there will always be circumstances that your policy may not cover. Having an open approach and committing to update your guidelines regularly is essential in order to ensure both the company and employees are getting what they need from it and you take into account scenarios as they arise.

Neal Schaffer blogWhat does your social media policy look like? Worked on something you’re proud of and want to share it with other IC pros?

Check out my guest article guidelines and do get in touch, you can tweet me @AllthingsIC or comment below if you’d like to see your name here.

So, as promised. Here are lots of examples of social media policies and guidelines – fill your boots as they say – and do let me know any others you think should be included. Enjoy! Rachel

Further reading:
I have written various articles for Neal Schaffer’s blog on social media policies and internal communication.

You can read my articles for Neal’s blog here: 
Obeying the social media rules of the road.
How employees find their voice through social media
Why use enterprise social networks for internal communication?
Internal communication: Coping with the digital evolution

I am on the Social Media Panel of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR). You can read our guidance here:

Hundreds of social media policy examples

30 social media policies from the UK and Europe
Examples of 40 staff guidelines – by Laurel Papworth (2009)

Here are some more I’ve found online:

Abbott
About.com
Adidas Group

acas
American Institute of Architects
American Nurses Association
American Red Cross
Amp3 public relations
Australian Government
Australian public service commission
Baker & Daniels
Banco Sabadell
BBC News
BBC – updated March 2015
BBYO
Best Buy
Biba
Bread for the world
BT (British Telecom)
British Medical Association
British Psychological Society
Canadian Tourism
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Capgemini
City of Houston
City of Seattle
Chartered Institute of Public Relations
Children’s Hospital, LA
Cisco
Civil Service
Coca-Cola Company
Cornwall Council
Daimler
DePaul
Dell UK
Department of Justice
Devon County Council
Easter Seals
Eastern University
E.On
Edinburgh Council
Environmental Protection Agency
Exeter University
Eway Direct
FedEx
FINRA
Flickr
Ford
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Fudder
Gartner
General Medical Council
GLNC
Greteman Group
Hamilton College
Harvard Law School
Hill and Knowlton
Hill and Knowlton – principles
H&R Block
HP
iCrossing
IBM
Intel
International Olympic Committee
International Olympic Committee 2010
Iowa Hospital Assoc
JCB
Johnson & Johnson
Kansas Uni
Kirklees Council
Kodak Tips
L.A Times
Le Bonheur
LiveWorld
London Ambulance Service
London School of Economics
Malvern Hill District Council
Maryland Association
Mason Inc
Mayo Clinic
MDEEA
Media Law Resource Centre
Metropolitan Police
Microsoft Tweeting Guidelines
Microsoft Doctrine
Ministry of Defence
MITIE
Monmouthshire County Council
Monster
National Ice Skating
National Public Radio
Navitas
New York Times
New York
New York State Bar Association
NY City Department of Education
The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Norfolk Police
New Jersey Institute of Tech
New Zealand Government
New Zealand State Services
Nordstrom
Oce
Ohio State University
Ohio State Uni Medical Centre
Ontario College of Teachers
Open Society Foundations
Opera
Orange County
Oxford University Press
Parliament
Pfizer
Plaxo
Procter & Gamble
Porter Novelli
PR-Squared
PRSA
Queensland Gov
Razorfish
Reuters
Rhetorica
Robert Scoble
Roche
Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Trust
Royal Academy of Dance
Royal Mail
Salesforce.com
SAP
Scottish Women’s Football
Seattle University
Sentara
Socialfish
Southwest airlines
Telligent
Tesco
Thetrainline.com
Thomson Reuters
TNT
Translink
Twitter template for Gov departments
Unity Trust
UAE Government
UK Armed Forces
UK Civil Service
Unic
Uni of Michigan
Uni of Missouri
Uni of Oregon
Uni of Southern Mississippi
Uni of Virginia Library
US Medical Supplies
US Army
US Air Force
US EPA
US FTC
US Marine Corps
US Navy
Vodafone
Walmart
Warwickshire County Council
Well
Woodfield Community School
York University

Guidance and other resources

101 social media marketing resources via Heidi Cohen
Social Media Friendly Mark
Increasing staff engagement with social media
Chartered Institute of Public Relations’ social media best practice guide
Guide to using Twitter for comms pros
Charity Comms guide to using social media
Twitter directory

Some organisations publish their guidance as videos, such as the Football Association (FA). Some examples are below from Boehringer Ingelheim in the US, KPMG, the Department of Justice, Sage and lots more. You can see them below or via my YouTube playlist.

Enjoy! Rachel

UPS:

Boehringer Ingelheim:

KPMG:

Department of Justice:

Sage:

Quay Creative:

Australian Air Force Cadets:

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry:

Grant Thornton:

Treasury Wine Estates:

Citrix:

Amcol:

Dartmouth-Hitchcock:

Zurich:

Meltwater:

Sodexo:

Eurotours (in German):

City of Salisbury:

Infineon Technologies:

PwC Malaysia:

Department of Human Services:

Lancaster Schools:

St Luke’s Hospital:

Sutter Health:

Ramsey Health:

EMC:

Post author: Rachel Miller @AllthingsIC

First published 28 April 2013 – and updated multiple times since.

 

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6  responses on 300 social media policies

Pingback: Fluffy Links – Wednesday May 8th 2013 « Damien Mulley

Pingback: Is Your Company Social Media Friendly?

Pingback: Fluffy Links – Friday May 24th 2013 « Damien Mulley

Hi Rachel,

UBS also has a video to communicate their social media policy, which was developed by Lardi & Partner Consulting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQsEM0N1fk4&feature=share&list=PLo5pGzx8Lu4HIKScuwMjEl-pV_8tVjW4a&index=1

 

Thanks Kamales, have added it to the playlist on YouTube (embedding appears to be disabled). Hope you’re doing well, Rachel

 

Pingback: Is Your Company Social Media Friendly?

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