Apr 242009

Managing staff who participate in social networks.

This list also includes policies called; Staff blogging policies, enterprise social network guidelines, Employee Blogging Policies, Staff engagement in online communities, and so on. I’ve done a few press (radio, print) interviews this week re: Telstra so I thought I should have another look at how Enterprise, Government, Corporates, Not for Profits  are handling the fact that their staff are members of social networks too.

I once had to step in to calm down a forum that was off the charts with negativity and general unpleasant comments. To be even heard, I started to IP and MAC address ban anyone who posted under secondary IDs for the purpose of trolling (making up a temporary persona who’s only purpose is to create negative comments). I shouldn’t have been surprised – victim number one was the entire Customer Service department. Yep, they had been using their CSR PCs to create secondary accounts to attack members – customers – who were criticising them on their official, primary, Customer Service profiles. No-one got reinstated until we had “the talk”. Kinda cool that companies are now posting internal policies publicly. Not surprising – it goes a long way to protect the company from fallout if/when staff do ignore the social media guidelines in place.

Anyway, you could just read ONE – IBM’s (love the “don’t forget your day job”) OR you can read all these: (download PR Crisis Comms social media courseware)

Behavioural and Etiquette Guidelines for Organisation

It’s worth looking at the US Airforce one seperately, if just for the pictures alone.

enemy-blogsEnemy Media? ^.^
airforce-guidelines-policyI thought I blogged this chart before? Drat the internal search


Other lists: Christyweb, Beth Kantor, LGEO Research,

It’s worth, while working your way through these links not to just look at the usual topics

Topics covered in Social Media Policies

  • defamation, anti competitor, inaccuracies, disclosure, proprietary information, company secrets and IP, wasting time, inappropriate behaviour, rudeness, revealing personal information and so on
  • Look for the unusual
    eMail Forwards
    Jokes, urban legends and get-rich email forwards are the oldest form of Internet-based social media. When it comes to company email, we ask that you think twice before hitting send and be judicious with the number of items you forward. And, if you’re unsure whether the Prince of Nairobi really is being truthful about a promised fortune, a quick stop by Snopes.com might be in order. (Gretemangroup)

also look at

Fundamentals of Social Media Policies

  • is the policy collaborative – telling staff what they can and can’t do in their own time might require some discussion?
  • Is the policy positive teaching engagement in a satisfying way between staff and customers or is it negative with a bunch of Thou Shalt Not Post Pictures on Facebook During Your LunchBreak? Tone IS important – is it fun to read, informative and everyday speech? Do you engage with your staff as you would with customers on a blog – authentic personal respectful voice?
  • Is it truly public and does it serve the staff or the company. For example, if I trashtalk Widget company, a community member might point out I am a competitor and then send me to my own companies public guidelines. Yes, that does happen.
  • Does the policy extend to contractors? Pilots who fly the senior people around, can’t trashtalk them on the pilots forum. The advertising agency can’t post up a viral video of how their ex customer is a dick because they didn’t get their pitch? (both have happened, I have the screenshots, heh)>
  • Are the guidelines, now public, under creative commons so other companies can use them and help provide a fully informed educated ecosystem community?
  • Look at all the different names for basically one document? o.O Email Policies becomes Social Media Policies, no?
  • Check out how different industries – tech, education, military, government, art, public affairs – are prioritizing their guidelines. What is included, what is top of the list, how does it change?

That should keep you busy for a while…

The reason why I have the full link here, is because I print it up and hand it out with courseware in the Social Media Policies For Your Organisation workshops that I run If you want to do the same, please attribute me ‘n the other aggregators. Thanks :)

There’s not quite 40 Guidelines here. I guessed 40 cos I know that some of you will have others. I’m particularly looking for Australian social media guidelines for staff.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Follow @Silkcharm on Twitter. Or you could just dance nekkid around the room for me.
  • http://www.twitter.com/aden_76 Aden Davies

    What a fantastic resource many thanks for putting this together. I am keeping my eyes peeled for any social media guidelines by a bank or financial organisation, I will send them on if I find any.

    • Laurel Papworth

      thankyou, that would be much appreciated :)

  • http://twitter.com/alelvin Alexandra Pelvin

    It’s great having all this SM policy information in one place – thanks for this very valuable resource.

  • http://www.macinations.net Jon Biddell

    An excellent resource – I’ve only scanned a few of the policies, but the rest are a definate read this weekend.

    This is becoming a bigger and bigger problem in Australia, and not in a way that companies expect.

    Consider: you work for a company that has a blogging / twitter policy of THOU SHALT NOT – at all. How is this enforcable ? Is it enforcable at all ?

    Yes and no – your company / department can (as my former employer did) block access to Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, MySpace – the list is long but distinguished. We had NO ACCESS to anything, and this was their right to do. They can block anything on their network, and no-one is saying they can’t. Yes, they provided two machines in the staff lunchroom for “unmonitored” internet access, not connected to the corporate network, but blocked sites on those machines as well.

    But that power does not extend to any twittering / blogging I do in my own time on my own machine at my own premesis (or anywhere else – I love Maccas free Wifi !!). Please note we aren’t talking about publishing corporate secrets, etc. If I were to work for, say, Telstra (which would make me incredibly desperate) and I were to critisise their broadband prices in my blog, there’s very little they could do about it – legally or otherwise.

    Jon Biddell’s last blog post..Is Customer Service dead in Australia ?

    • http://sciotraining.wordpress.com Tim Grant

      Also the increasing uptake of mobile microblogging, Policy will be more and more reliant on the bottom-up integrity of the employees, rather than top-down draconian levels of control.

      Maybe I’m over optimistic, but I think a little perceived freedom does wonders for employee morale.

  • http://gianouts.blogspot.com Simon Gianoutsos

    This is an excellent list. Thanks for putting this together.

  • http://tiffanymonhollon.com/blog Tiffany

    Absolutely fantastic resource! Already getting so much out of it. Thanks for compiling!

    Tiffany’s last blog post..What Defines You

  • http://www.reviewpk.com a_usman

    great collection.. inspiring.

    a_usman’s last blog post..Fonts and Font Size

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  • http://beth.typepad.com beth kanter

    great resource

    I wonder how you ensure that the whole org embraces social media successfully. I know of org that have policy but it interfers with best practices

  • http://www.lisacast.com Lisa Padilla

    Lovely, thank you. Helpful to review the differences in how social media is actually embraced and the outcome.

  • http://beth.typepad.com Beth Kanter

    Fantastic aggregation of policy of links and analysis. Thank you for this very useful post.

    Beth Kanter’s last blog post..Washington Post Piece on Facebook Causes Prompts More Dissing and Some Brilliant Reflections

  • http://emilycagle.co.uk/blog Emily Cagle

    Thanks for pulling all these resources together in one place – really useful.

    The contrasting approaches of different countries/corporations makes for particularly interesting reading.

    Emily Cagle’s last blog post..Celebrate business excellence, innovation and success

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  • http://www.yrko.wikispaces.com Mervi Jansson

    Great collection! I attended a seminar on Friday and some of the speakers brought up the corporate guidelines issue.

    I’m from Finland and must say that a lot of Finnish companies are just taking baby steps and most are still in denial regarding use of social media.

    We’ve had some companies ban the use of facebook during company time (what time isn’t company time now a days!) while others encourage it.

    Finns typically keep to themselves, so we haven’t yet become a widely blogging nation.

    At present the challenge is in getting companies to look at social media seriously and understand the potential benefits. When ever speaking about social media, I seem to get the risk and threat oriented feedback. Maybe examples of guidelines will cut some of this resistance.

    Mervi Jansson’s last blog post..home

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  • http://www.judithlindenau.com Judith Lindenau

    Thanks for this! I am developing a generic social networking policy for association staff that will encourage the use of social networking as a community-building tool, but develop responsible guidelines for staff. This resource is great background!

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  • AnnLuck

    Thanks SilkCharm.

    I’ve been trying to create rules for Social Media engagement and this is a great resource.

    These are the rules I’ve come up with so far.

    Social Media Campaign Goals for Small Business:

    1. Have people engage in positive conversations about XYZ Company
    * In Social Networks, Forums, Twitter and Blogs
    2. Provide useful information
    * Teach people about the benefits of your products/services
    * Give people useful tips to deal with problems
    3. Create friendships and communities
    * Develop circles and connections in the online community
    * Have friends on Facebook
    4. Listen to customer feedback
    * Track both positive and negative feedback
    5. Become a trusted source!
    * You want to create so much trust that people in forums ask for your advice

    Rules of Engagement:

    1. Transparency
    * Never post as a ‘customer’
    * If someone asks who you are, tell them you are an XYZ Company Employee
    2. Never fight, provoke, flame or offend
    * Do not respond to criticism of the company unless specifically asked; even then, send the Marketing Manager an email first so you can respond appropriately
    * Do not enter controversial topics
    3. Inform – do not promote
    * You should never say “try our product’
    * You can suggest your types of products as long as you provide information. If someone says they have problems, don’t suggest your Brand Name Product, but give information about the products like yours– they will find your Brand Name when they search for what you told them to search for. You should also give tips that will help with their problem even if it doesn’t require buying a product.
    4. Don’t insert links in forum posts – allow the signature to act as a link
    5. Don’t respond to post more than 3 months old (use your judgment)
    6. Don’t answer a question that has already been answered unless you can honestly add something useful
    7. If you are posting as yourself or your own web personality, do it from home

  • http://www.griffinmktg.com Julie Arnold

    Thank you so much for this valuable information. I am currently working on two social media policies–one for our agency as a whole and one for a client. I have been searching for this type of information.

    This post has given me a lot of guidelines and I appreciate your time and effort.

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  • http://humanvoice.wordpress.com Tom O’Brien


    Great list – I am putting together a primer on SM for select clients right now and your list will be in there. (I’ll point them here.)

    Thanks – TO’B

    Tom O’Brien’s last blog post..Baking a social media cake

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  • http://www.govloop.com/profile/MaryDavie Mary Davie

    Thanks for the resources – great collection. We have started to collect examples of policy and other resources in the government space on govloop. http://www.govloop.com/profiles/blogs/federal-agency-social-media

    I also added a link to your page.

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  • http://studio-schiele.info Martin Schiele

    Great resource. Thank you!

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  • R

    “Enemy Media? ^.^”

    You doubt it exists?

    • Laurel Papworth

      I seem to have lost the feed to Osama’s Flickr photostream. Of course it exists. :) Just intriguing that we don’t often think about discoverable material from the bad guys.

  • http://www.dejan.com.au/ DejanSEO

    Fantastic resource. This is going into my staff training collection.

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  • http://blog.jodiem.com.au Jodie Miners

    Excellent Post Laurel! This is a valuable resource for every business as every business needs to know about this stuff.

    Jodie Miners’s last blog post..A Shared Calendar of Microsoft User Groups

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mario-Midas/1847166963 Mario aka @mmidas

    Great post, Laurel!

  • http://www.cybernaut.rs Miss Cybernaut

    This is the very best library of links Ive ever seen! Thanks for sharing it!

    If I may suggest one more resource about behavior on web and in any kind of networks and communities – http://www.themoderatorcommunity.com/ :)

    Miss Cybernaut’s last blog post..Ko je sledeći na Inbound Marketing Univerzitetu?

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  • Jai Maru

    What an awesome post! Thanks for sharing.

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  • http://www.searchenginerankings.com.au Anup

    very good description of the interface between social media and mass media

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  • http://www.idesigntutorials.com NIFT

    Thanks for the list, You can also add http://Ioch.org (Valid PR 4) social networking site that share & deliver News & enable user to publish & share their articles with other users.

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  • http://www.frontiering.com.au Ian Farmer

    Good list & post Laurel.

    You might also find this list of about 80 social media governance policies relevant, and you can filter the list by industry type.


    • Laurel Papworth

      as long as the fact that I spent literally days sorting out 40-50 of ‘em is recognised, good luck with it. :)

  • http://www.statistics-homework-tutor.com statistics help

    Very very good list of social networking sites. Probably the best so far i have seen on the internet.
    Thank you so much

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  • http://elearning.gunadarma.ac.id hanum

    Accelerated social media networking always invites pro and con. Over all social media for networking is changing the world for the better, for all kinds of reasons. Great posting. I really like it!

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  • http://www.rayatngo.blogspot.com Rayat NGO

    What volunteers looks from the Organizations:

    Organizations particularly not for profit should have some rules and regulations for registering and providing volunteers for social work.

    Try what we say in this article.

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  • http://www.ifrc.org Timo Luege

    Here is a link to the Social media staff guidelines for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies:

    .-= Timo Luege´s last blog ..Pakistan Red Crescent responds as escalating violence hits major cities =-.

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  • http://reducepollution.info tony

    Thanks for the list, you can also add the following social bookmarking site that is focused on UK/EU news.

  • http://watch-free-hollywood-online-movies.blogspot.com/ pramod

    Thanks for providing a good information.

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  • http://www.danskebank.com Susanne Faber

    Thank you very much for all the great SM policy info on one site. Greatings from Copenhagen.

  • http://www.diolt.com Webguy

    Awesome post .. thanks for enhancing my knowledge …

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  • Cashja

    Thanks for this, just what I’m looking for, making social media guidelines for my own organization.

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  • http://www.icanewfriend.com Marc LeVine


    This is an excellent piece of writing. Great effort deserves worthy praise…and additional “pass along.” To that end, I have included a link to your terrific article at my new web site. I hope others will benefit from your shared knowledge on responsible social media involvement, as much as I have. Keep up the good work. Thank you.


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  • Danielle
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  • http://www.intelegencia.com Intelegencia – Marketing Research

    Great posting… his is going into my staff training collection.

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  • Chris


    thanks for the post. I’m helping to craft a social media engagement policy for journalists at the news organisation I work at and I’m hoping to get some feedback on a draft that we’ve been working on for some time. Unfortunately, I’m afraid I have to keep this anonymous, as it is still a draft and we are still in the process of gathering feedback to fine-tune it.

    Here it is. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts… Thanks!
    Company policy for personal use of social media
    Note: The use of social media for professional purposes will be addressed in a separate policy to be announced.

    The following is the Company’s policy on the personal use of social media by staff. This covers staff’s personal web-pages and blogs, online forum postings, and all personal activities on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Yaari, Plaxo, Linked-In, Yammer and others including the company chatline.

    1. Staff must make every effort to distinguish between their personal and professional use of social media. Where staff employ social media as part of their work, this should be done with the full knowledge of their supervisors. (Guidelines on work-related use of social media, where applicable, will be established separately by individual divisions.)

    2. Staff’s personal social media activities should not be carried out during office hours.

    3. Where staff intend to derive revenue from their personal websites or blogs, they should seek prior approval from the Company. Staff should also not promote any particular product or service in return for a benefit. (Note: This does not affect the sale of personal items online or on the company chatline.).

    4. Staff are expected to exercise good judgment in their personal social media activities. Staff, especially those who are recognised by the public,must ensure that their personal social media activities do not reflect unfavourably on the Company.

    5. Staff must make it clear in their personal social media contributions that they are not speaking on behalf of the Company. Personal web-pages and blogs should have clear disclaimers that the views expressed are theirs alone and not the Company’s.

    6. Information published on any social media platforms by staff must comply with the Company’s confidentiality and disclosure policies. In particular, information communicated to staff in confidence should not be disclosed on any social media platform without express approval from the Company. Audio-video or photographic recordings of staff events should also not be posted on social media platforms unless expressly approved by the Company.

    7. On no account should any potential news-breaks or unpublished news information, including unpublished versions of stories, be published on any social media platform. Nor should any of the Company’s proprietary works be used or reproduced without the Company’s express permission.

    8. Personal social media contributions by staff must not make any reference to Company-related matters or work-related issues concerning their colleagues or their supervisors. Staff should also not make comments that jeopardise the Company’s dealings with newsmakers, customers, business partners, competitors and regulators.

    9. Staff should bear in mind that all of the country’s laws also apply to social media. They must therefore respect all laws and in particular avoid infringing any rights in relation to intellectual property, defamation and privacy. Staff must also respect religious, ethnic and other sensitivities.

    The omission of explicit reference to any specific media platform does not limit the extent of the application of this policy. Where no policy or guidelines exist, employees should use their judgment and take the most prudent course. Where they are uncertain, they should consult their supervisor or Head of Department.

  • Laurel Papworth

    A couple of points – I understand that you won’t be able to change much, but still, they need to be said.
    I think that “do not, do not, do not” policies are not conducive to team building or company loyalty. You could rework some of them to be “equal” e.g.
    2. Staff’s personal social media activities should not be carried out during office hours. In return, the company will not request that staff respond to business issues during family time this includes SMS and emails on weekends and out of hours. OR A small amount of time can be used each day for Facebook (10mins) in return for the occasional SMS or email during private time.
    Are there laws about moonlighting? I guess that is what number 3 is…
    4. ALL staff are now a Brand of One. It’s not the CEO you have to worry about, it’s the intern.
    5. That’s tough when they are chatting with their mum on Facebook “Hi mum, this next comment has nothing to do with my employer”. (sniggers)

    Point 1 is impossible to achieve. It doesn’t even work in real life “How are you, how’s the wife, have you thought about our business offer?”.

    To be honest, I like some of the social media guidelines in the post, that are more friendly and human-aware. But I guess Legal have already vetted this one? I’m not a lawyer so don’t how it sits legally…
    Gosh, was I too hard? :(

    • Laurel Papworth

      Caveat: my comments are predicated on this being an Australian company. Companies elsewhere including Asia have different corporate culture so you would need to take that into account….

  • http://twitter.com/sheiwah Shei

    What do you do if you have sales staff leveraging on social media as a platform to sell? Do we need separate policy for that?

  • http://www.topclick.com.au James

    Wow thanks! Great resource, I’m actually using some of the resources listed here for our own organisation. It’s always hard to decide what is acceptable for our organisation, as we do a lot of seo work for clients through social media networks, and our staff need access to social media networks, but following guidelines.

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  • http://bit.ly/cR80Al Kelly

    As an IT consultant I am fully aware that IT management is struggling with whether social media is productive or obstructive for companies and their employees. Software is being developed and policy and restrictions are being decided everyday by IT managers. The security of company networks are at stake but the potential for innovation using social media is a large enough carrot for the discussion of how to properly utilize the medium continues. Palo Alto networks came up with an webinar, http://bit.ly/cR80Al, that should be interesting exploring the issues surrounding social media in the workplace. It is important to not only understand the immediate benefits of doing business how one lives, but the threat it presents to a company’s greater ROI and productivity when it comes to the server’s safety and security.

  • http://www.icanewfriend.com/blog Marc LeVine


    My hat goes off to you after reading this excellent post, which I just retweeted to my followers. Kudos to you for all the research and gathering you had to perform in order to create such a comprehensive toolbox filled above the rim with more than enough links to social media policy information. This one is a definite keeper. It’s already in my Delicious folder, because it is absolutely Delicious. Thank you on behalf of many for doing the work to make the job of others much easier.

    Marc LeVine
    Director of Social Media
    RiaEnjolie, Inc.

  • http://www.blandslaw.com.au/ Vivienne Storey

    Hi Laurel

    Thank you for an excellent source of information on social media policies. I think you are spot on with your approach in terms of application, though as a law firm we tend to advise and assist with the risk management aspect of social media (both for employees and employers), as we do with other employment policies. For example, in Australia it is essential that you inform your employees if you are going to monitor them.

    One aspect of social media policies that is vastly under covered is the training; there is little point in having a social media policy in place without ensuring that the whole organisation is accross it. This from both ensuring a unified approach and a risk management perspective. Training also presents a great opportunity for collaboration and communication within an organisation.

    We have developed a sample social media policy that can be downloaded from our website http://www.blandslaw.com.au/checklist_ssmp.html which companies can reference. This sample social media policy is Australia centric as it references relevant Australian legislation (please don’t collapse in a heap) but it could easily be modified for international use. As it is developed by a law firm you may find the language a bit heavy handed (!) but we have attempted to ensure that it is in keeping with the spirit of social media – quite a challenge for lawyers.

    We hope the availability of this, as well as other, sample policies will encourage companies to become more involved in social media and less concerned about the percieved risks and more focussed on the potential benefits.


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  • http://www.elevateconsulting.com.au Sam James

    Great to see such a well summarized posting. I think it is time companies rethink their staff social networking activities. Harnessed correctly much insight and value might become available to the organisations supporting and encouraging a team to communicate.

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  • http://www.page1guaranteed.com.au Australian SEO Company

    great stuff
    nice of you to put these things together, and you have a pretty neat illustrations

  • http://www.ms-small-businesses.com/whoareyoursmallbusinesscompetitors.html Small Businesses Competitors

    very comprehensive. I have been looking for a similar model before with a comprehensive explanation and this is definitely it is. kudos to you for sharing this!

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  • http://charmingbeadz.blogspot.com Selina

    My god thats one huge list. I wonder how much time did it take for you to make it :)

  • http://www.dacou.com.au Gloria Petyarre

    Very Nice…

    Great collection of useful resource list of Social media optimization and blogging guidelines. No doubt, social media optimization is a great way to introduce your new product or brand in the market.

    Thank you for posting this useful list and keep it up!

    Best regards

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  • Ping

    Hi Laurel,
    Great list – thanks for going to the effort of sifting through a lot of material to put this list together.

    The ABC has a great, commonsense policy on use of social media that is encouraging rather than restrictive. It’s been in place for nearly a year and has worked very well to date.


    It’d be great to see this added to your Australian list if you’re updating at some stage.


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    Do you recommend publishing a Social Media Policy on your website?

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    Communications Intern

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