Social Marketing Fella

5 Steps to Ethics

social media ethics for business

Social Media Ethics

So your company has taken on social media as no longer being merely a “nice to have” concept, or dismissing it as a passing phase. Social media is now part of your reality, and social media marketing, even part of your comprehensive corporate marketing strategy. You now need to establish your corporate social media “code of ethics,” which can be done in five steps.

Step 1
Develop a social media code of ethics consistent with your company’s overall code of ethics, so that your brand is represented consistently across all channels.  This keeps is easier to remember and abide by, as well.  Logically, your social media code of ethics should include topics such as writing honestly, avoiding unrelated controversial subjects like politics and religion.  It’s okay to borrow and be inspired from different sources, but it’s important to properly crediting others for their work when doing so.

Step 2
Establish a lexicon of social media terms and tools.  This reference should be available to everyone in your organization, and should be updatable, to reflect evolving trends.  References I like to use are:

Having this resource readily available will help maintain organizational common-speak and expand your team’s knowledge of  the “do’s” and “don’ts” of social media.

Step 3
Establish your business’ social media profiles and accounts on the necessary social networking sites, as well as with key social networking tools.

Step 4
Assign a cross-functional team of people to review your social media policy.  Even partially outsource this activity to ensure you have the necessary input from social media experts to legal and human resource interests.

Step 5
Select and deploy a company-wide version of your preferred social media monitoring tool.  Conduct training on it, and have the appropriate resources assigned to it’s management.

7 comments on “5 Steps to Ethics”

  1. Vicente

    Maybe #6 needs to be “Police your policies”? It just seems some businesses in particular are going to need to keep an eye on enforcement.

  2. Tricia Dukhovny

    Arrived at your site through Digg. You know I will be signing up to your rss.

  3. James Clinton

    In the companies I’ve worked with, I’ve found that the tension between the need for immediacy and the need to be ‘on message’ is a challenge. Do you have someone reviewing every tweet to make sure it meets the code of ethics, or do you empower every employee to post and hope for the best?

    Having written policies, and an established code of ethics as you recommend, seems like the best solution – make sure everyone reads and understands it, and hopeflly you’ll avoid any disasters!

  4. Kumar Gauraw

    This is awesome stuff! I just landed here through Twitter and it’s amazing how quickly you’ve established such great credibility with your SEO. I will visit you again.

  5. Sechaba

    I am still learning the ropes with social media management and strategy development and this article came in very handy.

    Thank you.

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Andre Bourque (SocialMarketingFella) is Editor Emeritus of Technorati.

He covers emerging trends and news in social, mobile, cloud, and related technologies.

Based in San Francisco, he can be contacted via his social channels and at:


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