Social Enterprise

Intel publishes social media guidelines for its employees

Businesses are just beginning to understand the opportunities that social media provide for engaging customers at a much deeper level. One of the companies that has figured this out is Intel, which recently published its "Social Media Guidelines" for employees.

Businesses are just beginning to understand the opportunities that social media and social networking provide for engaging customers at a much deeper level than traditional marketing and advertising. Naturally, many companies are treading very softly in their social media experiments because it typically means allowing employees to go out and engage the public at a grassroots level and that usually scares the heck out of the PR and marketing departments.

However, the companies that figure out the right balance (skewed more toward openness) and train their employees appropriately have an opportunity to use social media to leapfrog in the market because they will be able to create stronger relationships with customers.

One of the companies that has figured this out is Intel. The company has created a Social Media department and offers training for employees who are interested in blogging and participating in online forums and other social media venues where they represent Intel. Intel has also recently published its "Social Media Guidelines" for employees. This document states:

"If you're an Intel employee or contractor creating or contributing to blogs, wikis, social networks, virtual worlds, or any other kind of social media both on and off intel.com-these guidelines are for you. We expect all who participate in social media on behalf of Intel to be trained, to understand and to follow these guidelines. Failure to do so could put your future participation at risk. These guidelines will continually evolve as new technologies and social networking tools emerge-so check back once in awhile to make sure you're up to date."

Intel also provides the following general principles for employees to remember when participating in social media:

- Stick to your area of expertise and provide unique, individual perspectives on what's going on at Intel and in the world.

- Post meaningful, respectful comments-in other words, no spam and no remarks that are off-topic or offensive.

- Always pause and think before posting. That said, reply to comments in a timely manner, when a response is appropriate.

- Respect proprietary information and content, and confidentiality.

- When disagreeing with others' opinions, keep it appropriate and polite.

- Know and follow the Intel Code of Conduct and the Intel Privacy Policy.

In addition, the company offers some general "rules of engagement" for social media, including:

  • Be transparent
  • Be judicious
  • Write what you know
  • Perception is reality
  • It's a conversation
  • Create some excitement
  • Be a leader
  • If it gives you pause, pause

Any businesses and IT departments who are wrestling with social media guidelines for their employees, should take a look at the Intel document. It strikes a pretty good balance between maintaining corporate control while opening up to allow employees to become an army of grassroots brand advocates.

For more insights on social media in business and other tech topics, follow my Twitter stream at twitter.com/jasonhiner

About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).

13 comments
smithmarie1231
smithmarie1231

Would you like to understand your customers better or be able to build a stronger brand loyalty with them? You may be in need of a social media consultants. Check out http://bertmartinez.com a comprehensive workshop that can help you to understand and utilize social media to enhance your business relationships and in result increase your sales and profit!

bryanrhoads
bryanrhoads

After evolving Intel's social media programs for over 3 years, there's been a constant thread with employees, i.e. they want to participate, but not sure how, why, when... what?s the ROI, will HR care, will my manager freak-out etc. etc. Its a framework to scale participation, to make our subject matter experts comfortable enough to participate, a chance for everyone to get involved. To me, its more scaling participation than corporate control. @bryanrhoads - Intel Social Media Center of Excellence.

g01d4
g01d4

Indeed, as one guideline states "there [often] is a fine line." Where the corporate types like, or feel compelled to draw it often leave these venues as rather bland. Nevertheless, I think they are a useful compendium of common sense in this area.

b4real
b4real

You can't control what employees do online - so you are forced to A) permit it and B) manage it as best as you can. The policy is the first step. Vigilance and monitoring - that is another topic!

rmagahiz
rmagahiz

The key is the phrase "on behalf of Intel," as most employees who use social media are likely to use them in a non-official capacity which might be perceived as being a professional one if they are not careful. If someone tweets that they are having a problem with some brand of computer, is it possible that that might displease corporate partners (never mind if they let slip that they might be using an AMD device)? Stranger things have happened.

rdtraversi
rdtraversi

I think two key parts are the requirement to identify yourself and make your expertise, or lack of it, clear. If I am not a company recognized expert then who is really going to care what I say on a subject. Maybe reading and internalizing these guidelines will keep a few people from saying stupid things, and that's always good.

mandviwa
mandviwa

These are excellent guidelines and your article is a very good summary. But. I am not convinced that the average corporate employee has the communication skills, sense of empowerment, and cultural background to follow these guidelines. I can see new professionals who are used to Facebook as being better qualified to follow these guidelines. Adopting guidelines will likely increase the reluctance of average employees to take advantage of new web 2.0 tools.

C F USA
C F USA

...that everyone should follow those guidelines which used to be common sense.

smithmarie1231
smithmarie1231

Would you like to understand your customers better or be able to build a stronger brand loyalty with them? You may be in need of a social media consultants. Check out http://bertmartinez.com a comprehensive workshop that can help you to understand and utilize social media to enhance your business relationships and in result increase your sales and profit!

g01d4
g01d4

If one thinks of "scale" in the sense of regulate - which I may be off on. Not that this is this necessarily bad though I think the result can often be anodyne posts that at best mirror information/content obtained elsewhere.

kellybriefworld
kellybriefworld

I am an IT management consultant and trust me when I say that when approaching your IT department about social media you should arrive armed with knowledge and facts. This is a whitepaper in a language they may understand best... http://bit.ly/d2NZRp. It's an interesting whitepaper on the safety and security of your network and why employees should have access to their social media apps. Pass it along to your IT department for a little education if you are an employer or an employee. Best of luck! Let me know what you think... kelly@briefworld.com

robo_dev
robo_dev

just like how guidelines were needed so 'casual day' did not get out of hand, it makes sense that some guidance is given regarding how you Twitter and Facebook the day away.

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