7 Oct 2010
Tait Social Media Guidelines
The following guidelines outline Tait’s policy regarding the use of social media both internally and, where appropriate and agreed upon, with its clients.
They cover all social media platforms including but not limited to:
- Social networking sites (Facebook, Myspace, Foursquare, LinkedIn)
- Micro-blogging sites (Twitter)
- Blogs (WordPress, including company blogs as well as comments)
- Video and photo sharing websites (Flickr, YouTube)
- Forums and discussion boards (Google Groups, Yahoo! Groups)
- Online encyclopedias (Wikipedia, Sidewiki)
The Guiding Principles of Social Media
- Assume that everything you write can be traced back to the company, if not you personally.
- Be aware that there is no longer a clear boundary between your personal life and your work life.
- The content, whether aural, visual, written or electronic, is the sole responsibility of the employee regardless of the location this content is posted – blog, social network, YouTube, etc.
5 Levels of Social Media Engagement
- Listen to and monitor social chatter
- Brand your organization across social media platforms
- Broadcast your message across social media
- Promote your social media profile and social bookmarking
- Engage your audience through social media
If someone responds to something we’ve said, we are responsive and follow-up quickly (e.g., 24 hours). Mistakes can happen, and if we say something in error, we do not take down the post, but simply go back and update it with the correct information. The web contains a permanent record of our mistakes (not matter what we do, it’s unlikely we can permanently delete it); so we do not try to change things retrospectively.
Do not lie or withhold the truth. Always be transparent about who you are and who you represent. Use your real name, identify that you work for Tait and what your role is. Provide your own unique and individual perspective.
Build a following
Promote yourself by finding and sharing information that will be interesting to your friends and followers and useful for them to share. We also encourage you to connect with other Tait employees and affiliates online.
You can have an edge without being obscene. We do not allow remarks that are off topic or offensive. We always demonstrate respect for others’ points of view, even when they’re not offering the same in return. We never pick fights and always take the high road. If we are sharing a negative experience or commenting on a brand or individual, we do so in a constructive way. We remain respectful to the company, fellow team members, clients and competitors. Cyber-bullying is not be tolerated. We do not post information on or links to pornographic or indecent content. The company has the right to remove any content.
Always give proper credit
We never attempt to pass off someone else’s language, photography or other information as our own, even if it’s a re-Tweet. All copyright, privacy, and other laws that apply offline apply online as well. We credit our sources when posting a link or information gathered from another source.
When using social media, always look at protecting yourself, your privacy, Tait’s confidential information as well as client information. We understand that what we publish is widely accessible and will be around for a long time, therefore we consider the content carefully.
Tait Specific Guidelines
We do not post about clients or potential clients without explicit permission from them. Our client relationships matter more than anything and we must protect their business. We understand and comply when the company asks that topics not be discussed for confidentiality or legal reasons. We also do not to discuss any of Tait’s or Tait’s clients’ proprietary financial or other inside information, including private knowledge regarding business performance, business plans or privileged financial information. This applies to conversations of any kind, but especially when talking to members of the media or other third party organizations, and includes conversations with friends, whether written, spoken or electronic. Not only is this good practice, each employee is contractually obligated to maintain client and Tait confidentiality. Breach of this confidentiality can get Tait employees fired!
Our employees represent Tait and/or clients at all times and that means our employees know that even personal social media use is visible to clients, managers and prospects. We ensure manage what and with whom you are sharing.
Individual social media
If Tait employees have permission and plan to discuss Tait-related information across their personal social properties, they must disclose on their “About” page or bio that they are a Tait employee and what their responsibilities include. They must also indicate that their opinions do not represent official positions of Tait.
Social media at work
Creating an online/social media presence for our clients is a big part of what we do at Tait, which is why our employees are allowed to use work related social media during office hours. However, they must ensure these are used solely for work related purposes and cannot take their focus from their primary responsibilities, which is delivering services to our clients.
If you are positioning yourself as a Tait expert on a personal social media account (e.g., not a Tait blog), please seek prior approval from Leanne.
Discussing Tait and/or clients
Sharing personal information about co-workers may affect them inside as well as outside of the office. That’s why all standard HR policies apply to interactions between colleagues across the social web. We are mindful of work-related information, photos, comments and videos that we share share. Individual Tait employees may not use the Tait brand or any client brand to endorse or promote any product, opinion, cause or political party/candidate without consent.
Client Specific Guidelines
Tait adheres to the above guidelines when using social media for its clients. We adhere to these two as well.
We only disclose information available publicly. Tait employees cannot use their personal blog to break news about clients or Tait.
When we have permission to share what a client is doing publicly (e.g., launching a web site or running a contest), we are transparent and disclose our relationship. For personal blogs this may include a few sentences fully explaining our relationship to the client.
- The most effective way to have your content distributed across Facebook is to encourage a large number of fans to complete the same action (posting a photo, commenting on a post, sharing a link with their friends) in a short time frame. Each “call to action” should be clear, concise and easy to achieve. As Facebook explains:
The News Feed on users’ home pages tells them what their friends are doing. When users become your fan, News Feed tells their friends and invites them to become fans as well. In turn, this can lead to the friends of their friends finding out about your [Page] through their News Feeds, and so on in a virtuous cycle.
- While this may seem burdensome, short messages (which are generally easy to write) work best.
- Use your own best judgment in deciding whether and how deeply to connect to clients, coworkers and supervisors on social networks.
- Only named accounts can be used for client work.
- Always keep in mind that Twitter is one of the most truly social networks currently in use.
- Real people – not brands – talk to each other and share relevant and fun stories.
- Maintaining a personal voice on Twitter is critical to the success of the account.
- It is similarly important to publish content that is not just self-serving: if the Tait Twitter account only publishes stories about Tait, it may as well be talking to itself. Twitter users generally follow others because they find some value in the messages broadcast.
- To that end, one should publish including:
o stories that help them communicate with their target audiences
o other success stories in the social media space
o human interest stories of exceptional individuals
o information about Tait
While fresh content is generally preferable, content flows quickly enough on Twitter that “evergreen” content – information that is relevant and interesting but not time-specific – can be pushed to the Twitter feed manually or automatically using free services such as SocialOomph. This service can also be used to store draft versions of tweets for later publication. This means one can create a social media editorial calendar and choose when to publish which stories, either on a schedule or by selecting pre-written Tweets from a dropdown menu. This will allow for effective management of the Twitter feed, ensuring that there is always fresh content for followers.
YouTube.com, is the most popular video-sharing social media site and provides a good platform to visually showcase a service or campaign, encourage participation, network and build recognition. The following guidelines are intended to help YouTube users conduct their online activities in a successful, productive and legal manner.
- Establish a user name that resonates with users and the client.
- Include a social media disclaimer (these guidelines, for instance) when you create your account. Clearly state the social media disclaimer in the Description section in Channel Information.
- Follow YouTube’s established terms and conditions.
- Use search engine optimization best practices when titling and describing uploaded videos.
- When embedding videos, turn off the display of related videos at the end of the video play.
- Keep videos short. YouTube only allows videos that are no longer than 10 minutes long or 1 GB in size, however videos that are 10 minutes long must have compelling content to keep audience attention.
- Have the first frame of the video contain a title, program’s name and web address.
- Have the last frame of the video contain your program’s name and web address.
- Select a dynamic image as the still frame image to attract viewers.
- Embed the videos in Facebook and other social networks to provide access to as wide of an audience as possible.
- Thank subscribers with wall comments.
- Allow comments to be posted on your channel wall.
- Generate subscribers to your channel by subscribing to other channels.
- Send Friend Requests on YouTube.
- Send Friend Requests to the Most Viewed channels.
Comment monitoring policy
Monitoring is an important component to social media. By moderating and monitoring, Tait can protect itself and its clients from consumer/visitor backlash, while protecting the conversation on the site from being derailed. Having clear, up-front rules allows for no complaints if visitors violate your terms. For Tait, this includes:
- Language and manners: Tait rejects all comments which include offensive or inappropriate language.
- Personal attacks: Tait allows visitors to question or argue the content but aggressive or personal attacks are not tolerated.
- On-topic comments: Tait will disregard comments that veer away from the topic of the post or other people’s comments.
- Comment spam: Tait will remove comments that appear to be spam.
- Number of links: Tait limits the number of links to three for each comment and will use the no-follow links.
- Blocking: Tait will block visitors that repeatedly disregard Tait’s comment moderation and online interaction policies.
An online interaction allows you to clearly state up-front what types of conversations you will engage in, and which you won’t. Having this posted publicly on your site gives you the ability to point to it if someone asks why you haven’t responded to their posting. An interaction policy also helps by adding some credibility to your approach, as you can publicly set clear standards for your interactions. The following will apply
- Spam and off-topic comments: Tait will not respond to spam or off-topic comments.
- Defamation: Tait will avoid responding to defamatory remarks.
- Misinformation: Tait will correct any misinformation as soon as possible.
- Dissent: Tait will treat comments on factuality rather than emotional response. Please refer to the Comment Assessment flowchart below.
- Timeliness: Tait will reply to online comments as soon as possible.
- Honesty and accuracy: Tait will take all possible steps to ensure that what we post is complete and accurate.
- Error correction: If Tait posts something that we discover is inaccurate, we will attempt to correct it immediately.
- Confidentiality: Tait will not discuss confidential information.
- Disclosure: When employees engage in public conversations about the organization, they will disclose their affiliation to Tait.
Using the assessment flowchart below, one should evaluate whether detractors should be engaged with the hope of correcting misinformation, keeping in mind that some people are passionate and misinformed and intend to stay that way. There is no benefit in engaging in a shouting match in the social media space: companies almost always end up on the losing side of emotional (versus rational) battles. Instead, focus on starting and encouraging the “right” conversations with target audiences using approaches such as:
- Evangelism: Connecting supporters with each other to foster word‐of‐mouth distribution of a program
- Engagement: Allow enthusiasts to make the brand their own
- Support/insight: quickly fixing small problems/gathering information to make future programs even stronger.
 Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a web site or a web page in a search engine via the “natural” or un-paid search results. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search and industry-specific vertical search engines. This gives a web site web presence. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization)
 No-follow is a value that can be assigned to the REL attribute of an HTML “a” element to instruct some search engines that a hyperlink should not influence the link target’s ranking in the search engine’s index. It is intended to reduce the effectiveness of certain types of search engine spam, thereby improving the quality of search engine results and preventing spamdexing from occurring. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nofollow)