Social media rules: 101

Social media, love it or hate it,  it's a cost effective means of communicating your messages and building relationships. According to the July/August issue of Sleep Savvy Magazine, Technology Forecaster Daniel Burrus says it's important to determine why your company is using social media–is it to improve customer service or to talk about the company's charitable efforts? Then, create a clear-cut list of social media guidelines for your blogging and tweeting employees.

  • Build trust. Employees should use their posts to build a reputation of trust with consumers. Take every opportunity to reach out ina credible, open, honest manner.
  • Be transparent.When participating in any online community, employees should disclose their identity and affiliation with your company. When posting, they should use their real name, not an alias. But they should never use a consumer's real name in a post unless they have written permission to do so.
  • Be direct. Posts should be as informative and brief as possible, and written in a reasonable, factual tone.
  • Give due credit. When posting copyrighted material–quotations, photos, videos–get permission and identify the original source. If that's not feasible, it may be possible to simply link to the material.
  • Self-edit.Don't forget to spell-check before clicking "publish." Employees should carefully edit their copy for accuracy. If a glaring error is made, have the employee publicly apologize, correct the mistake, then move on.
  • Take responsibility. Employees should understand they are responsible for what they write. Don't tolerate negative or questionable posts.
  • Be professional. Avoid comments on inflammatory subjects such as politics, sex or religion. Always be respectful and never escalate a conversation into a heated argument.
  • Maintain privacy. Never disclose proprietary or confidential company information to the public.
  • Obey the rules. Make sure employees are aware of and follow all local, state and federal laws, company policies and the rules of each social networking site.

What are your views on social media? We'd love to hear your opinions!

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