Pam Sahota recently provided a useful post, Examples of Corporate Social Media Policies, that actually contained links to 14 examples. While it is always good to look at what others are doing, Pam started with the proper caution that there’s no right policy. Your company needs to find what is right for your culture and needs. Here are a few.

Best Buy has received a lot of press using Twitter for customer service. It has a social media policy in place in order to avoid issues regarding privacy and other topics. Their policy begins with the statement: “If you are an hourly (non-exempt) employee, you may participate in Twelpforce, with your manager’s approval, during your regular work hours. This includes time spent reading the Twelpforce Twitter feed and composing messages sent using the ‘#twelpforce’ hashtag, and all other work related to Twelpforce.” Anything done outside work hours does not count.

Content is broadly defined as “as anything you have placed on your website, blog, microblog, or video sharing account.” By doing this you grant Best Buy “an irrevocable and unrestricted worldwide license to use, modify, reproduce, transmit, display, and distribute the Content (defined below) on Your Site for any purpose whatsoever to the extent permitted by law.” So they can modify as they want which is interesting. You are expected to follow the social media policy that is extensive and has the tagline: “Be smart. Be respectful. Be human.” Those are all good ideas.

You are expected to disclose your affiliation and, at the same time, state this your writing is your opinion. There is a lot more in Best Buy policies and they seem both useful and appropriate.

Pam finds Ford’s policy to be subtle, “human”, and sensible. They feel that that social media follows the same rules (as other communication channels), just in a new playground. You need to use your common sense, beware of privacy issues, play nice and be honest. They seem similar to Best Buy from a quick look. You need to be respectful and aware that what you say is permanent.

General Motors policy states that it likes Charlene Li’s blogger code of ethics and have adapted it for gmblogs.com. They ask bloggers to tell the truth and acknowledge and correct any mistakes promptly. They will not delete comments unless they are spam, off-topic, or defamatory and reply to comments when appropriate as promptly as possible. They will link to online references and original source materials directly. They will disagree with other opinions respectfully. I like the ongoing reference to respect in these policies.

Blog and social media policies have come a long way since I wrote these posts in 2005, Blog-Linked Firings Prompt Calls for Better Policies – CNN and What’s On and Off the Record for Bloggers? This is a good thing.

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