According to a study by Russell Herder and Ethos Business Law, senior US marketing, management and HR executives are concerned about the risks of increased use of social networks within their companies. 51% percent of these executives fear social media could be detrimental to employee productivity, while 49% assert that using social media could damage company reputation.
Part of managing these concerns is getting processes in place so that both employer and employee know what is acceptable. Every organization should have a social media policy — a set of guidelines and rules that help employees understand what is acceptable and unacceptable when representing you in the social media space.
Your social media policy should be complimentary to your corporate culture. As you write your policy, consider these items:
- Make a status assessment. Involve all areas of the organization. Identify what is already happening (good and bad) throughout the organization.
- Stay open to opportunities. Social media offers new options for business. Be open to how it can help you engage with your constituents, collaborate, solve problems, provide customer services, increase efficiency and more.
- Make sure your policy flexible enough to adapt as the world around you evolves.
- Take acceptable risks. Risks lead to innovation and growth. But be sure you cover legal liabilities and are compliant with the law.
- Keep it general. Social media isn’t just Facebook and MySpace. It includes blogs, groups and communities, file and link sharing, wikis, applications, mobile platforms and more. Set policies that apply to what exists now and what will exist in the future.