Social Media Policies

As prevalent as social media is, there are plenty of companies that are ignoring what we all recognize as the future of communication. This is mostly based on fear; fear of the unknown and fear of how SM could impact their business in a negative way. To combat that fear, more companies are implementing social media policies for their employees. I would say the greatest fear in SM is the lack of control that the company has over their brand. Mark Eber, from IMRE Baltimore said, “When it comes to social marketing, legal tends instinctively to want to shut things down by enforcing very restrictive policies on employee participation. Yet given the right tools and guidelines, employees can serve as excellent brand ambassadors on sites like Facebook and Twitter, and in any case, they’re going to take part in the discussion whether you try to prevent them or not.” You can’t stop the discussion from happening and who says what. But you can train your employees to respond in a proactive and timely manner that can turn an angry comment into a lifelong customer.

SM has been a nightmare for legal teams everywhere because it makes a once clearly-defined line, blurry. In terms of campaigning and recruiting, how do you engage someone online without being seen as a direct solicitation? These rules are still being put in place and usually created when someone questions another’s intentions. Andrew Careaga, director of communications at Missouri University of Science and Technology, and Teresa Valerio Parrot, vice president for higher education at Widmeyer Communications, both agree that SM policies need to include certain things such as: the objectives of your SM presence, the kind of content your employees put out, the tone of information and the actions taken when someone responds to your content.

To inform your company of your newly created policy, the director/manager of the SM presence should hold an interactive meeting to get their employees excited and engaged. Be sure to let them know that their role is not to be seen as a company drone, their individual voice is important and valuable to the success of the SM presence, as long as it is in compliance with the policy. But also be vigilant and monitor all SM communication to make sure your brand is not being jeopardized.

Source: “Creating a Social Media Policy” by Daniel Fusch

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