For the last 5 years, a recurring topic has been approached within companies: there would be a need for Social Media Guidelines, in order to clarify companies' statements, commitments and policies. Some necessary rules towards consumers, employees and any stakeholder with the corporate reputation.
And here comes the problem: Social Media guidelines tend to focus on static & vertical messages. It's not about "what should I say" but more about "what shouldn't I say". Guidelines are rules, laws...and it's a misunderstanding of what Social Media is all about. In a democracy, you need rules for sure...But more explicitely, you need objectives, commitments, mandates.
At the moment, most of Social Media Guidelines are about prisons and coercitive power, and are disconnected from real business goals: if you copy, let's say, Cap Gemini Social Media policy, you could paste it in many other companies' statements. "Transparency", "Reponsibility" are two buzz-words, but sound like empty bottles.
If you compare Social Media Guidelines to another interesting field, Sustainable Development, you realize how far we are from a concrete "social business".In Sustainable Development policies, many differences occur:
- it's not only "rules" or "attitudes", guidelines are based on tangible programmes: reducing air pollution, encouraging education etc.
- tangibles programmes are related to tangible organizations: project groups are implemented to reach the diverse goals. In Social Media, policies don't mention any concrete goal. When will a fashion company declare that they want to help young fashion designers through digital monitoring as a real social mean?
- tangible goals are related to tangible metrics: you can follow the diverse results, thanks to open metrics
So Sustainable Development Policies empower people, organizations, companies' missions and a kind of "better living" for the world. At this stage, Social Media policies empower corporate headquarters. Is it time for a revolution?