What guidelines are needed for businesses wanting to introduce social media into their marketing and comms mix?
It’s a good question. On the one hand you could argue you don’t really need any. If you and your employees are representing the brand, then the already accepted and implemented communications guidelines in existence should be enough. As an example at a recent event a representative from Dell computers said ‘ we expect our social media reps to operate online in exactly the same manner they would when answering an email or phonecall’ Makes sense.
But social media online is such a new area and there are no precedents set yet on the accepted ways of working and communicating. Everyday I am receiving invites to events on ‘the legalities of twitter’ and ‘the pitfalls for social networkers to avoid’, demonstrating there is still some confusion in this area and definitely a demand for more knowledge.
We know from experience that telling people what to do, doesn’t always get the best results but…
My advice? Be clear at the outset about how social media fits in with your overall communications policies. Create a best practice guide for all who are taking part and regularly update it. And most of all be willing to be flexible but never compromise something online that you wouldn’t offline.
And just to be helpful here’s a link to Coca Cola’s social media principles… A good example of a company hitting the mark just right.