SYDNEY: Telstra, the Australian telecoms provider, has issued a new set of guidelines to its employees, offering directions as to how they should use social networking services like Facebook and Twitter.

As argued in a recent best practice paper on marketing on social networks, there are a "number of reasons for advertiser caution about social media," most frequently related to effectiveness.

Telstra has been working on its policy document for around five months, and emphasises "respect", "responsibility" and "representation".

Employees should also declare they work for Telstra when posting related comments, ensure the accuracy of online entries they make concerning the company, and avoid casting the firm in a negative light.

David Quilty, the telecoms giant's group managing director for public policy and communications, argued Telstra needed to encourage its staff to "make maximum use of these innovative internet tools," but also to "get the balance right."

One of its members of staff has recently been disciplined after writing negative posts about the company, and satirising Australia's broadband and communications minister Stephen Conroy, on Twitter.

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff