Written by Tomash Devenishek on October 12, 2012
in Social Media Marketing

Catchy title right? This is what Gap Inc. — the retailer behind the Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy — called their “Social Media Guide .” (What those of us who work in marketing departments and agencies might refer to as the company’s social media policy, or governance model.)

In a world where refrigerator-brand interns tweet offensive jokes about a president’s dead grandmother using the company profile , a need for such a document couldn’t be greater.

But creating it and creating it right are two different things. After all, any such policy has to be an amalgamation of legal, marketing, brand standards, and other requirements. Most importantly, it has to truly hit home with employees in order for them to follow the guidelines. Getting that part wrong increases the risk of a PR catastrophe, exposed trade secrets or worse.

Thus, a catchy title was a must if Gap Inc. was going to grab the attention of the 135,000+ employees their “social guide” was created for. The document was as straightforward as a conversation between friends, with sections such as “If you $%# up…”, “How to be the best…” and “Don’t even think about it…” — all of which were presented on a small, five-fold brochure the size of an iPhone.

This informal, conversational language is carried throughout the guide and provides an effective mechanism for not only introducing employees to the company’s official stance on social media, but also helping them retain that information over time. Let’s face it, a section called, “There’s really no such thing as ‘delete’ on the Internet, so please — think before you post” does stick over time.

For details or questions about the Gap Inc. example, find me on Twitter (@tomashd). But remember, I can’t give out any trade secrets.

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