Applying Coca-Cola’s Social Media Principles to Your Business
Coca-Cola embraces the 5,000 or so conversations it estimates people have daily about the company on social media channels.
That’s why their Online Social Media Principles provide a solid framework any company could use to help employees determine what’s allowed and what isn’t in online conversations.
The most important part of the guidelines is the distinction Coca-Cola makes between employees speaking “on behalf of the company” and employees speaking “about” the company.
Here are five principles Coca-Cola urges employees to follow in personal or unofficial online activities where they might speak “about” Coca-Cola.
1. Adhere to the Code of Business Conduct and other applicable policies.
2. We do encourage you to participate in the online social media space, but urge you to do so properly, exercising sound judgment and common sense.
3. If you come across positive or negative remarks about the Company or its brands online that you believe are important, consider sharing them by forwarding them to the internal email address that you have been provided.
4. Let the subject matter experts respond to negative posts. … Avoid the temptation to react yourself.
5. Remember NEVER to disclose non-public information of the Company (including confidential information), and be aware that taking public positions online that are counter to the company’s interests might cause conflict.
Coca-Cola has more expectations of official online spokespeople speaking “on behalf of the company.”
1. Be certified in the Social Media Certification Program.
2. Follow our Code of Business Conduct and all other Company policies.
3. Be mindful that you are representing the company. As a Company representative, it is important that your posts convey the same positive, optimistic spirit that the company instills in all of its communications.
4. Fully disclose your affiliation with the company.
5. Keep records. It is critical that we keep records of our interactions in the online social media space and monitor the activities of those with whom we engage.
6. When in doubt, do not post. Associates are personally responsible for their words and actions, wherever they are.
7. Give credit where credit is due and don’t violate others’ rights. DO NOT claim authorship of something that is not yours.
8. Be responsible to your work. The company encourages all associates to exercise sound judgment and common sense to prevent online social media sites from becoming a distraction at work.
9. Remember that your local posts can have global significance. Keep that “world view” in mind when you are participating in online conversations.
10. Know that the Internet is permanent. Once information is published online, it is essentially part of a permanent record.
What do you think of the guidelines? Does your company have a social media policy?
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For over 10 years, I’ve been helping companies tell a story that is relevant. The views expressed on this site are mine alone and don’t necessarily reflect those of my employer, Roche.
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