Nordstrom Social Media Policy

Image representing Nordstrom as depicted in Cr...
Image via CrunchBase

One of my favorite places to shop is Nordstrom. Unfortunately, there are not too many of those giant department stores in central Nebraska. For my analysis of a company’s social media policy, I chose to look at Nordstrom’s in the hope that some of their fashion and style could be transmitted to my brain via the internet.

The policy, which was written one year ago (Feb. 2012), begins with a short introduction. This paragraph does not contain the values or the mission of the Nordstrom company, but states how they want social media to be used, and the company’s goals for social media usage.  It wants them to connect and engage with customers, and to provide great service to each customer. One sentence that stands out to me is “The purpose for you to become more actively involved with social media is to find additional opportunities to connect with your customers and share information with them that they enjoy receiving.” This completely sums up what I would want to see in a retail company‘s social media presence.

English: Nordstrom at Washington Square (Orego...
English: Nordstrom at Washington Square (Oregon) Español: Nordstrom en Washington Square (Oregón) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The policy directly says, “we encourage approved employees to use social networking and media…” That sounds pretty open (read: awesome) to me. One piece I found slightly strange  is that the company wants employees to do social media only during work hours. In fact, you must get approved to be able to do social media on behalf on Nordstrom during non-working hours.

I understand that this makes sense, as it is billable work  hours. However, it seems to be the opposite of what an average company would think- that social media is on your own time.

Whoever crafted this policy took much care to ensure that most of the “rules” are positively worded. For example, under the “Be humble” section, they write “Our number-one goal is to offer each customer great service, but we’re certainly not perfect and we do make mistakes. Let’s stay focused on working to deliver great service instead of bragging about it.” This feels very effective, as it leaves the reader on a positive note instead of wagging a finger at the employee.

The only “NOs” concern issues of confidentiality, which would be difficult to express in a positive light.

The policy says that employees who are authorized to use social media must know and follow the Code of Conduct, Privacy Policy and Conflict of Interest policy. while there may not be a section that explicitly focuses on legal issues and ramifications of misuse, I am sure that they are spelled out in these other policies.

The policy is written in plain language that would be simple for anybody to follow. It is constructed with bold headings and bullet points which break up the policy, which is rather short to begin with.

The policy itself is short— about one page. It does cite the existence of other conduct rules and policy, but it does not expressly state their language or terms.

I feel like this policy is fantastic and should serve as a model for other companies. I do have a few suggestions, however. I would include more examples of what is and isn’t allowed. While the policy is relatively simple and easy to understand, concrete examples would help to reinforce the ideas expressed.

Well done, Nordstrom! Now it is time to check out the online clearance section…

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