Social Media Guidelines

“Establishing Social Media Guidelines of the Organization” from Social Media ROI by Blanchard proved to be a very relevant chapter as we are all preparing to move on to the real world and social media has been on the rise and an industry that does not seem slowing down any time soon. I found it especially interesting because I am currently working to start a non-profit organization and although I am not super active on social media, it has made me occasionally stop and think twice about what I am posting and how people are going to react to it. Currently, it is a very small start-up organization, but I would not want to post anything to hinder our growth. This also caught my attention and gave me new insight considering previous jobs I have encountered have not been concerned with social media at all.

While reading this chapter, I kept catching myself thinking “does this really happen?” or “this seems a little extreme to have in the social media guidelines.” This chapters goes in depth about what should be included in a company’s guide to social media and made me aware of many things I had never thought about.

The first part this talks about is the employee social media bill of rights, your basic rights to social media usage in regards to the company. Mainly, it determines that you can have your own personal social media accounts but you must be careful about what you say and make sure that it will not hurt the company in any way. The chapter goes on to talk about internal and external guidelines, using social media during the workday and how the lines are blurred between professional use for the company and personal opinions. In discussing the external social media usage guidelines, an interesting point was brought up. the time something is posted can determine whether is detached to the company. However, because the time distinction between work hours and personal use is not clear to the general public and will not be perceived that way and therefore, they represent their employer 24/7/365. To me, this makes sense but also seems unfair because it is essentially saying that you should never be posting anything personal as it could potentially cause an issue with your company. This creates an extremely restricted use of social media, regardless of it being related to work at all.

Within the external guideline, having a disclaimer was discussed. This is to clarify that opinions in expressed by a personal account are personal in nature and in no way reflect the views and opinions of the employer. This was something that I could personally relate to. Personally, I have not had to worry about this too much because non of my previous jobs have had any social media guideline handbooks. However, it did get me thinking about my own non-profit and how we have to be careful about what we post personally. Also, if we had other people working, how we would construct our guidelines. This is an example of someone including that disclaimer in their twitter bio:

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Anti-Defamation Guidelines
The chapter describes anti-defamation guidelines as a way to help protect employees and the organization from unnecessary lawsuits from offended parties. It describes libel, slander and defamation and how employees can avoid getting in trouble with this. I think this is something that we experience daily without even realizing it, This about how many people you see going on twitter to complain about a company or a brand and just destroying any good reputation they had. Sometimes this can happen with employees if they had a bad day at work or not longer work for a certain company. Although, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, it is important that one does not give the company a negative image. And they should be aware of serious consequences that can result. The following tweets may not fall into these categories specifically but they are the same idea:

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This is from someone who used to write for the Odyssey. This is completely putting a negative image not the site and anyone who read this would be driven away from it. Some of these posts were made after she stopped working, but regardless, it think this is a form of defamation and it may not be taken as seriously because it is not a huge corporation, it could turn into an issue.

Overall, this chapter was helping and interesting in thinking about what we have to think about when posting on social media and starting a new job at companies that have all these guidelines. I was surprised to see that there is such a large “handbook” for this when social media is such a new industry. However, it is quickly growing and while I find some parts of these guidelines extreme, it does make sense as to why they are important.

And here’s a link with examples of companies with good social media guidelines:


Personal Branding

When we talk about personal branding online, I think some of us have a hard time defining our personal brand. What makes your social media posts different from everyone else? How would someone know that it is you posting if it didn’t have your username? Do your posts on social media consistently reflect your personal brand or does it seem to be all over the place and depend on what platform you are using? I personally didn’t realize I had a personal brand and when asked to write about it, I wasn’t sure what to say or how I would define my brand. Not only does your personal social media determine your personal brand, but also your professional brand. As the reading from Shields mentions, employers can directly source job through social media and do social media background checks, so everything you post has the potential to affect your career opportunities.

The main platform that employers look at is LinkedIn. This is the most professional platform and the best way to network with people who can help you in your career path. Shields mentions a couple pointers that show complete LinkedIn profile and those include: your industry and location, current position, two past positions, education, at least three skills, a profile photo and at least fifty connections. I’m sure we can all think of profiles that are not professional. For example, this profile with the current position as “the coolest guy in Nashville”Untitled 4

There are endless examples of poor LinkedIn profiles and this hurt employment opportunities greatly. But what about the rest of social media and how we react and interact there.

Shields goes on to talk about the different levels of models of branding. He discusses The Standard Model which includes sharing an participating on platforms, having active engagement. This becomes more interesting because it allows one to create a personal brand rather than a professional brand. While there are guidelines that should be followed and ettiquete rules, this is a much more creative opportunity. Shields focuses on the types of profiles for professional brands, however, how does this translate into a personal brand?

Most of us have personal social media account, but what do we use them for. Do you use Facebook or Twitter to share personal experience?. Are you posting dog pictures or selfies on Instagram? What makes your social media, YOUR social media? We explored an endless number of social media guidelines among various companies and they all have pretty standard rules about what you can and can’t post about the company and what use is appropriate for social media. But what if we forget about the idea that employers look at social media as a way to decide whether to hire you. I like to think of personal branding as a way to stand out from other people and in a business such as music (where I am interested) this is a way to get noticed and gain more traction. Take the band The 1975 for example; they have definitely established a personal brand on Twitter:

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They post every tweet the same way: beginning and ending with two forward slashes and a space in between every letter. Also, rarely do they tweet without a picture. But you would know who this was even if there was no username. This personal branding is a way for people to remember them. With social media being a huge way that bands are discovered (although they don’t need discovering at this point), this type of branding is important.

This goes for Instagram too. One can personally brand themselves based on what they post or the way they post. Jonny who founded a company called Qriket uses emojis to brand himself on social media.


He rarely posts without including the blue and yellow heart and the blue and gold “Qriket emoji.” This a way for his Instagram posts to stand out to people. When you continuously see something like this, you start to remember it and it becomes familiar and if it is something you are interested in, you will stop to look closer and potentially interact.

Overall, not only is branding important for professional purposes (although the last two examples could be argued to be professional because they are businesses), but also personally. And it’s not all about following guidelines and rules while creating your personal brand. Sometimes it is important to do something that other people do not in order to make yourself a brand and stand out to people who can help you in your career path. It is once you are there and employed that it becomes more important what you post.