Online Social Media Principles — Coca-Cola
Every day, people discuss, debate and embrace The Coca‐Cola Company and our brands in thousands of online conversations. We recognize the vital importance of participating in these online conversations and are committed to ensuring that we participate in online social media the right way.
These Online Social Media Principles have been developed to help empower our associates to participate in this new frontier of marketing and communications, represent our Company, and share the optimistic and positive spirits of our brands.
The vision of the Company to achieve sustainable growth online and offline is guided by certain shared values that we live by as an organization and as individuals:
These Online Social Media Principles are intended to outline how these values should be demonstrated in the online social media space and to guide your participation in this area, both when you are participating personally, as well as when you are acting on behalf of the Company.
It is critical that we always remember who we are (a marketing company) and what our role is in the social media community (to build our brands). The same rules that apply to our messaging and communications in traditional media still apply in the online social media space; simply because the development and implementation of an online social media program can be fast, easy, and inexpensive doesn’t mean that different rules apply.
The Company encourages all of its associates to explore and engage in social media communities at a level at which they feel comfortable.
Have fun, but be smart.
The best advice is to approach online worlds in the same way we do the physical one – by using sound judgment and common sense, by adhering to the Company’s values, and by following the Code of Business Conduct and all other applicable policies.
The Company adheres strongly to its core values in the online social media community, and we expect the same commitment from all Company representatives – including Company associates, and associates of our agencies, vendors and suppliers.
Any deviation from these commitments may be subject to disciplinary review or other appropriate action.
The Company does not condone manipulating the social media flow by creating “fake” destinations and posts designed to mislead followers and control a conversation.
Every Web site, “fan page”, or other online destination that is ultimately controlled by the Company must make that fact known to users and must be authorized according to applicable internal protocols in order to track and monitor the Company’s online presence.
We also require bloggers and social media influencers to disclose to their readers when we’re associating with them, whether by providing them with product samples or hosting them at Company events, and we need to monitor whether they are complying with this requirement.
This means that we should be conscientious regarding any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) that we collect, including how we collect, store, use, or share that PII, all of which should be done pursuant to applicable Privacy Policies, laws and IT policies.
Respect of copyrights, trademarks, rights of publicity, and other third‐party rights in the online social media space, including with regard to user‐generated content (UGC).
How exactly you do this may depend on your particular situation, so work with your cross‐functional teams to make informed, appropriate decisions.
We will not use or align the Company with any organizations or Web sites that deploy the use of excessive tracking software, adware, malware or spyware.
Utilization of best practices, listening to the online community, and compliance with applicable regulations to ensure that these Online Social Media Principles remain current and reflect the most up‐ to‐date and appropriate standards of behavior.
The Company respects the rights of its associates and its authorized agencies’ associates to use blogs and other social media tools not only as a form of self‐expression, but also as a means to further the Company’s business.
It is important that all associates are aware of the implications of engaging in forms of social media and online conversations that reference the Company and/or the associate’s relationship with the Company and its brands, and that associates recognize when the Company might be held responsible for their behavior.
All Company associates, from the Chairman to every intern, are subject to the Company’s Code of Business Conduct in every public setting. In addition, other policies, including the Information Protection Policy and the Insider Trading Policy, govern associates’ behavior with respect to the disclosure of information; these policies are applicable to your personal activities online.
Anything you post that can potentially tarnish the Company’s image will ultimately be your responsibility. We do encourage you to participate in the online social media space, but urge you to do so properly, exercising sound judgment and common sense.
Even if you are not an official online spokesperson for the Company, you are one of our most vital assets for monitoring the social media landscape.
If you come across positive or negative remarks about the Company or its brands online that you believe are important, consider sharing them by forwarding them to email@example.com.
You may come across negative or disparaging posts about the Company or its brands, or see third parties trying to spark negative conversations. Unless you are a certified online spokesperson, avoid the temptation to react yourself. Pass the post(s) along to our official in‐market spokespersons who are trained to address such comments, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online, your personal and business personas are likely to intersect. The Company respects the free speech rights of all of its associates, but you must remember that customers, colleagues and supervisors often have access to the online content you post.
Keep this in mind when publishing information online that can be seen by more than friends and family, and know that information originally intended just for friends and family can be forwarded on. Remember NEVER to disclose non‐public information of the Company (including confidential information), and be aware that taking public positions online that are counter to the Company’s interests might cause conflict.
Just as with traditional media, we have an opportunity – and a responsibility – to effectively manage the Company’s reputation online and to selectively engage and participate in the thousands of online conversations that mention us every day.
The following 10 principles guide how our Certified Online Spokespeople should represent the Company in an online, official capacity when they are speaking “on behalf of the Company:”
All associates who wish to officially represent the Company online must complete the Social Media Certification Program prior to beginning or continuing these activities.
Our Code of Business Conduct provides the foundation for these Online Social Media Principles:
“As a representative of [the Company], you must act with honesty and integrity in all matters.”
This commitment is true for all forms of social media. In addition, several other policies govern your behavior as a Company spokesperson in the online social media space, including the Information Protection Policy and the Insider Trading Policy.
As a Company representative, it is important that your posts convey the same positive, optimistic spirit that the Company instills in all of its communications. Be respectful of all individuals, races, religions and cultures; how you conduct yourself in the online social media space not only reflects on you – it is a direct reflection on the Company.
The Company requires all associates who are communicating on behalf of the Company to always disclose their name and their affiliation. It is never acceptable to use aliases or otherwise deceive people.
State your relationship with the Company from the outset, e.g., “Hi, I’m John and I work for The Coca‐Cola Company....” This disclosure is equally important for any agency/vendor/partner/third party who is representing the Company online. They must disclose that they work “with The Coca‐Cola Company.”
It is critical that we keep records of our interactions in the online social media space and monitor the activities of those with whom we engage. Because online conversations are often fleeting and immediate, it is important for you to keep track of them when you’re officially representing the Company.
Remember that online Company statements can be held to the same legal standards as traditional media communications. Keep records of any online dialogue pertaining to the Company and send a copy to email@example.com.
Associates are personally responsible for their words and actions, wherever they are. As online spokespeople, you must ensure that your posts are completely accurate and not misleading, and that they do not reveal non‐public information of the Company.
Exercise sound judgment and common sense, and if there is any doubt, DO NOT POST IT. In any circumstance in which you are uncertain about how to respond to a post, send the link to firstname.lastname@example.org.
DO NOT claim authorship of something that is not yours. If you are using another party’s content, make certain that they are credited for it in your post and that they approve of you utilizing their content.
Do not use the copyrights, trademarks, publicity rights, or other rights of others without the necessary permissions of the rightsholder(s).
The Company understands that associates engage in online social media activities at work for legitimate purposes and that these activities may be helpful for Company affairs. However, the Company encourages all associates to exercise sound judgment and common sense to prevent online social media sites from becoming a distraction at work.
The way that you answer an online question might be accurate in some parts of the world, but inaccurate (or even illegal) in others. Keep that “world view” in mind when you are participating in online conversations.
Once information is published online, it is essentially part of a permanent record, even if you “remove/delete” it later or attempt to make it anonymous. If your complete thought, along with its context, cannot be squeezed into a character‐restricted space (such as Twitter), provide a link to an online space where the message can be expressed completely and accurately.