During recent conversations and presentations, the topic of best practices for social media came up a few times. Most companies do not have formal policies for social media participation. Well, I just saw a new checklist collection published by the Blog Council:
This document is a draft series of checklists to help companies, their employees, and their agencies learn the appropriate and transparent ways to interact with blogs, bloggers, and the people who interact with them.
The council has published six checklists in their document.
- Disclosure of Identity
Who’s the author? Who do they work for? How to communicate with them…
- Personal/Unofficial Blogging and Outreach
(clearly Identify business affiliations, say which posts are personal opinions vs. business position.
- Blogger Relations
Always be truthful, never ask bloggers for fake endorsements, never SPAM, be transparent about relationships with the author.
- Compensation and Incentives
What are policies for ‘review products’, clearly disclose paid reviews, no link manipulation for traffic,
- Agency and Contractor Disclosure
Disclose relationship with company with which you’re doing blogger relations, never deceive bloggers, enforce requirements on subcontractors.
- Creative Flexibility
Best practices for artistic/entertainment value where temporarily obscuring a sponsor of a site is necessary or appropriate, e.g. pretend blogs, clues to a mystery, etc. but not fake consumer blogs.
Whether you’re an independent blogger or a Fortune 500 company, I think the document is a good start in avoiding problems and reaping rewards… plus, since it’s open source it will surely evolve. I wish that the document (note: word doc) had been published as a wiki that we could all contribute to online. But they are soliciting participation and will be publishing policies from companies soon.