Online Social Media principles– Coca-Cola style

I like the transparency of Coca – Cola in its social media conversations online. It published its social media principles for online behaviour last year – but its worth having a look at why these principles work so well.

Coca-Cola works around its shared values which it uses throughout the organisation:


LEADERSHIP : The courage to shape a better future;
COLLABORATION : Leveraging our collective genius;
INTEGRITY : Being real;
ACCOUNTABILITY : Recognizing that if it is to be, it’s up to me;
PASSION : Showing commitment in heart and mind;
DIVERSITY : Being as inclusive as our brands; and
QUALITY : Ensuring what we do, we do well.

And in its social media activities, these values are articulated and summarised as:

Transparency in every social media engagement. The Company does not condone manipulating the social media flow by creating "fake" destinations and posts designed to mislead followers and control a conversation. 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.

Protection of our consumers’ privacy. 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.

Responsibility in our use of technology. 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 behaviour.

These values, whilst similar to other companies that have an online presence show clearly and with transparency  — how the brand interacts with its customers.  The company uses social media successfully as an advertising tool and demonstrates its commitments to its customers by publishing its  online shows just how much it wants to follow its own guidelines and make a success.

If only other companies would do the same…

Eileen is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.