Developing and embedding a social media policy is an integral component of implementing your social network and blog plans. Policy needs to be supported by adequate resourcing and training and monitoring to ensure it is complied with.
When writing your social media policy, it is important to include employees as well as stakeholders from Quality Assurance, Marketing /Public Relations and IT functions.
Your social media policy should not duplicate existing policy. However, it should reference other relevant policies such as privacy and security, intellectual property and confidentiality.
Your social media policy will only work if supported by adequate training, resources and suitably enforced using monitoring tools. Monitoring tools identified in the Social Network Marketing Tip Sheet are used by organisations to monitor policy compliance by picking up information employees and stakeholders publish about your organisation.
Below are several examples of best practice social media policies. When developing your guide we recommend that your organisation’s culture and values dictate the depth and style of policy that will work best with your employees.
For more information and examples of social media policies please visit the following websites:
Example: a non-technical social media policy template
Top Ten Guidelines for Social Media Participation at [COMPANY]
These guidelines apply to [COMPANY] employees or contractors who create or contribute to blogs, wikis, social networks, virtual worlds, or any other kind of Social Media. Whether you log into Twitter, Yelp, Wikipedia, MySpace or Facebook pages, or comment on online media stories — these guidelines are for you.
While all [COMPANY] employees are welcome to participate in Social Media, we expect everyone who participates in online commentary to understand and to follow these simple but important guidelines. These rules might sound strict and contain a bit of legal-sounding jargon but please keep in mind that our overall goal is simple: to participate online in a respectful, relevant way that protects our reputation and of course follows the letter and spirit of the law.
Be transparent and state that you work at [COMPANY]. Your honesty will be noted in the Social Media environment. If you are writing about [COMPANY] or a competitor, use your real name, identify that you work for [COMPANY], and be clear about your role. If you have a vested interest in what you are discussing, be the first to say so.
Never represent yourself or [COMPANY] in a false or misleading way. All statements must be true and not misleading; all claims must be substantiated.
Post meaningful, respectful comments — in other words, please, no spam and no remarks that are off-topic or offensive.
Use common sense and common courtesy: for example, it’s best to ask permission to publish or report on conversations that are meant to be private or internal to [COMPANY]. Make sure your efforts to be transparent don't violate [COMPANY] 's privacy, confidentiality, and legal guidelines for external commercial speech.
When disagreeing with others' opinions, keep it appropriate and polite. If you find yourself in a situation online that looks as if it’s becoming antagonistic, do not get overly defensive and do not disengage from the conversation abruptly: feel free to ask the PR Director for advice and/or to disengage from the dialogue in a polite manner that reflects well on [COMPANY].
If you want to write about the competition, make sure you behave diplomatically, have the facts straight and that you have the appropriate permissions.
Please never comment on anything related to legal matters, litigation, or any parties [COMPANY] may be in litigation with.
Never participate in Social Media when the topic being discussed may be considered a crisis situation. Even anonymous comments may be traced back to your or [COMPANY]’s IP address. Refer all Social Media activity around crisis topics to PR and/or Legal Affairs Director.
Be smart about protecting yourself, your privacy, and [COMPANY]’s confidential information. What you publish is widely accessible and will be around for a long time, so consider the content carefully. Google has a long memory.
NOTE: Mainstream media inquiries must be referred to the Director of Public Relations or Marketing.
Example: a more technical social media policy template
Social media is changing the way we work, offering a new model to engage with customers, colleagues, and the world at large. We believe this kind of interaction can help you to build stronger, more successful business relationships. And it’s a way for you to take part in global conversations related to the work we are doing at Intel and the things we care about.
These are the official guidelines for participating in social media for Intel. If you’re an Intel employee or contractor creating or contributing to blogs, wikis, social networks, virtual worlds or any other kind of social media, these guidelines are for you. They will evolve as new social networking tools emerge, so check back regularly to make sure you’re up to date.
Participation in social computing on behalf of Intel is not a right but an opportunity, so please treat it seriously and with respect. If you want to participate on behalf of Intel, take the Social Media@Intel training and contact the Social Media Centre of Excellence. Please know and follow the Intel Code of Conduct. Failure to abide by these guidelines and the Intel Code of Conduct could put your participation at risk. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Please also follow the terms and conditions for any third-party sites.
Three rules of engagement
Your honesty—or dishonesty—will be quickly noticed in the social media environment. Please represent Intel ethically and with integrity.
Be transparent: use your real name, identify that you work for Intel and be clear about your role.
Be truthful: if you have a vested interest in something you are discussing, be the first to point it out and be specific about what it is.
Be yourself: stick to your area of expertise; write what you know. If you publish to a website outside Intel, please use a disclaimer such as this: “The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent Intel’s positions, strategies or opinions.”
Make sure that being transparent doesn’t violate Intel’s confidentiality or legal guidelines for commercial speech—or your own privacy. Remember, if you’re online, you’re on the record—everything on the Internet is public and searchable. And what you write is ultimately your responsibility.
Don’t tell secrets: never reveal Intel-classified or confidential information. If you’re unsure, check with Intel PR or Global Communications Group. Off-limit topics include: litigation, non-published financials and unreleased product info. Also, please respect brand, trademark, copyright, fair use and trade secrets. If it gives you pause…pause rather than publish.
Don’t slam the competition (or Intel): play nice. Anything you publish must be true and not misleading, and all claims must be substantiated and approved. Product benchmarks must be approved for external posting by the appropriate product benchmarking team.
Don’t overshare: Be careful out there—once you hit share, you usually can’t get it back. Plus being judicious will help make your content more crisp and audience-relevant.
3. Use common sense
Perception is reality and in online social networks, the lines between public and private, personal and professional are blurred. Just by identifying yourself as an Intel employee, you are creating perceptions about your expertise and about Intel. Do us all proud.
Add value: there are millions of words out there—make yours helpful and thought-provoking. Remember, it’s a conversation, so keep it real. Build community by posting content that invites responses—then stay engaged. You can also broaden the dialogue by citing others who are writing about the same topic and allowing your content to be shared.
Keep it cool: there can be a fine line between healthy debate and incendiary reaction. Try to frame what you write to invite differing points of view without inflaming others. And you don’t need to respond to every criticism or barb. Be careful and considerate.
Did you screw up?If you make a mistake, admit it. Be upfront and quick with your correction. If you're posting to a blog, you may choose to modify an earlier post—just make it clear that you have done so.
Contractors and endorsements
As the Intel Social Media Guidelines describe, we support transparency and are committed to clear disclosure of relationships and endorsements. If you are contracted, seeded or in any way compensated by Intel to create social media, please be sure to read and follow the Intel sponsored, seeded, or incentivised social media practitioner guidelines. As part of these guidelines, you need to disclose that you have been seeded or otherwise compensated by Intel. Your blog will be monitored for compliance with our guidelines and accurate descriptions of products and claims.
Moderation (reviewing and approving content) applies to any social media content written on behalf of Intel by people outside the company, whether the site is on or off intel.com. We do not endorse or take responsibility for content posted by third parties, aka user-generated content (UGC). This includes text input and uploaded files, including video, images, audio, executables and documents. While we strongly encourage user participation, there are some guidelines we ask third parties to follow to keep it safe for everyone.
Post-moderation: even when a site requires the user to register before posting, simple user name and email entry doesn't really validate the person. So to ensure least risk/most security, we require moderation of all UGC posts. The designated moderator scans all posts to be sure they adhere to Intel’s guidelines.
Community moderation (aka reactive moderation): for established, healthy communities, group moderation by regular users can work well. This will sometimes be allowed to take the place of post-moderation—but it must be applied for and approved.
The “house rules”: whether content is post-moderated or community moderated, we use this rule of thumb: the Good, the Bad, but not the Ugly. If the content is positive or negative and in context to the conversation, then it can be approved, regardless of whether it’s favourable or unfavourable to Intel. But if the content is either ugly, offensive, denigrating or completely out of context, then we ask our moderators and communities to reject the content.
Intel sponsored, seeded, or incentivised social media practitioner guidelines
Intel supports transparency. We are committed to ensuring that our social media practitioners (SMPs) clearly disclose relationships and endorsements, and that statements about Intel products are truthful and substantiated. If you are a social media practitioner who has been seeded with product, incentivised, or otherwise have an ongoing relationship with Intel, these guidelines apply to you. If you have any questions or concerns about them, get in touch with your Intel sponsor.
Please keep in mind that Intel monitors social media related to our business including the activities of our sponsored, seeded, or incentivised SMPs. If we find any non-disclosed relationships or statements that are false or misleading, we will contact you for correction. If as a sponsored SMP, you are found to repetitively make inaccurate statements about Intel, Intel products or Intel services, we may discontinue our relationship with you.
Rules of engagement for Intel sponsored, seeded, or incentivised SMPs
Be transparent: please clearly and conspicuously disclose your relationship to Intel, including any incentives or sponsorships. Be sure this information is readily apparent to the public and to readers of each of your posts.
Be specific: do not make general claims about Intel products, but talk specifically about what you experienced.
Be yourself: we encourage you to write in the first person and stick to your area of expertise as it relates to Intel technology.
Be conscientious: keep in mind that what you write is your responsibility and failure to abide by these guidelines could put your Intel sponsorship or incentive at risk. Also, always follow the terms and conditions for any third-party sites in which you participate.