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Cision’s Social Media Guidelines: How we did it

In May, I wrote 5 best practices for creating a corporate social media policy here on Cision Blog. Since that post, questions about creating social media guidelines have abounded on the blog, in webinars and in person when I am at events.

Cision recently published a free white paper, Rules of Engagement: Developing Effective Social Media Guidelines for Your Company and Employees (click the link for download instructions). I was asked to put together a description of how Cision came up with our guidelines. Here’s what I wrote:

“Cision’s North American team had been engaging on the social web both professionally and personally for some time before our company had official social media guidelines in place for employees. Starting in 2007, early adopters were engaging on behalf of the company in blog comments, on Twitter, LinkedIn and other social sites.

They came from across the company – from client services to product management, from research to marketing – and were familiar with our messaging and best practices for engagement with clients, prospects and the media.

However, as social media exploded throughout 2008 and 2009, it became evident that our unofficial representation needed some organization, thought and planning.

We formed the Cision Social Media Group, consisting of about a dozen employees with knowledge, passion and excitement about social media. We met (and still meet) several times a month to discuss changes in the social media landscape, Cision’s messaging and our evolving plans for engagement. We outlined how we should respond to fans and detractors alike, who would represent Cision on particular sites, how monitoring would be conducted, and more.

We also took on the task of composing social media guidelines. Although original to Cision, our guidelines were developed through discussion of best practices, research on publicly posted protocols and consideration of Cision’s and our external communities’ cultures. Drafts circulated throughout the company (including Human Resources) for feedback and refinement. They produced our current set of nine guidelines.

Our goal was to have the guidelines reflect our culture, and we hope that the process of creating (and renewing) them will help all our employees carry our culture through to the social web.””

The white paper includes a copy of our guidelines as well as best practices in developing your guidelines. Do you have any social media guidelines success stories? How did your organization create their guidelines? Please share in the comments below.

Tags : social media

About Heidi Sullivan

One of PRWeek’s 40 under 40 in 2012, Heidi Sullivan is Senior Vice President of Digital Content for Cision and a self-proclaimed social media metrics nerd. She leads the company’s digital and broadcast content teams, the global research team for Cision’s media database, Cision’s social media community team and the company’s content marketing strategy. You can find her on Twitter @hksully.

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