Employee use of social media and the pros and cons of a social media policy
Published on November 13th, 2010 by Nick Shin
As the #smmeasure Twitter chat continues to grow as a community, I am grateful for those social media enthusiasts who participate and help spread the word.
Last week’s #smmeasure chat was on identifying and quantifying your influencers online, a highly debatable measurement topic. However, for this week we decided to focus our chat on employee use of social media. Thanks to @sabrina_scott for asking a question that so many people wanted to know about.
#smmeasure chat #16 recap
Creating a cultural environment that embraces social media is the initial step in incorporating social media into a company’s strategy. The #smmeasure community chimed in about best practices of creating a social media policy. If you have any questions, tweet @smmeasure without the #smmeasure hashtag. Take a look at the full #smmeasure chat transcript. Here are a few highlights:
Q1: What are the pros and cons of creating a social media policy?
- @brightmatrix: “Pros of a social media policy: give employees clear guidance on how they should represent themselves as part of the company”
- @imamike: “SM policy essential to preventing future liabilities and ensuring employees know exactly what is expected of them”
- @sabrina_scott: “Pro: What employees are allowed to say about the company is clearly defined.”
- @djwald: “Pros – Co.’s have solid backing for reprimand.”
- @agardina: “A SM policy is only as effective as how up to date it’s kept. Imagine what a policy from ’06 might look like.”
- @clarqui: “We’re beyond ‘banning’ SM sites – too many smart phones out there. Need to decide how to manage their use” “problem with big co’s is they write policy and then fail to update.”
- @clouts: “Best policies are the ones that encourage use of social media and guide them to follow same “culture” and mission”
- @ellerich: “policy con – often limits employees’ freedom of expression, can be intimidating and employees may opt to avoid #SM altogether”
- @jgombita: “How on earth could there be a ‘con’ to creating a SM policy?” “perhaps it’s not the right ‘cultural fit’ all around….”
- @djwald: “Cons – Limiting the freedom, and trust of employees.”
Q2: What are some guidelines you have included (or would include) into a social media policy? Via @sabrina_scott
- @Wedding_crasher: “Disclosure guidelines, Crisis Management guidelines, Rules of Engagement”
- @brightmatrix: “Ideal SM policy would include best practices for major channels, common sense advice” “At base, an SM policy should already tie into existing code of conduct policies, which has a clear tie-in to HR.”
- @sabrina_scott: “I think that photo guidelines are also applicable ie: ensuring if the company’s logo is in a picture the photo is in good taste.”
- @jgombita: “Specify whether social media guidelines apply to work platforms & equipment or also extend to personal blogs, etc”
- @amfunderburk1: “Include how you want your employees to treat their personal social media accounts.”
- @JanetRobbins: “SM policy–guidance on how to handle negative comments about business”
- @marketwire: “guidelines that are controversial like religion, politics, etc.”
- @PRWestcoast: “Include clear SM policy guidelines on protection of privacy and freedom of information to protect clients, patients, etc”
Q3: Should a hierarchy of social media positions (CSO, VP) exist or is this limiting employees to become less “social”?
- @sabrina_scott: “Titles may be a bit overboard. It may be more helpful to identify certain people as resources that can answer q’s or even teach.”
- @accuconference: “I don’t think titles really make a difference in SM. It’s about trust, knowledge, and training.”
- @marketwire: “I am seeing more and more companies creating social media positions as high as the ‘VP’ level.” “I also see more companies putting sm roles into “audience engagement” and “community management” roles.”
- @paulgailey: “corp. social media is much more Venn diagramy than tree hierarchical”
- @amfunderburk1: “I think it really depends on the size of the company. If it is a smaller company one SM position would work.”
Q4: How do employees using social media help a company’s external outreach efforts?
- @djwald: “This is where co.’s have HUGE potential to leverage their employees SM influence. Give em a voice and see what happens” “‘Not letting your employees talk about your co. on SM is insanity’ – Gary Vaynerchuck”
- @sabrina_scott: “I think they need the right training to be helpful in certain industries/types of business, otherwise they may be a liability.” “If the company is looking for name recognition/brand awareness though, the more employees the merrier in online discussions…”
- @clarqui: “helps to personalize a brand and causes discussion of it”
- @amfunderburk1: “If employees are talking about the company on their personal accounts it shows they love what they do! Looks great for comp”
- @Clouts: “Companies with a solid culture show it this way and connect regional successes”
- @paulgailey: “I discovered one of those SM policy generators today after a peek of #smsurvey results. http://goo.gl/n1h3W
- @djwald: “MUST SEE: Gary Vaynerchuck (@garyvee) on letting employees talk about the co. on SM http://bit.ly/bVRUJF”
- @marketwire: “An online database of social media policies http://socialmediagovernance.com/policies.php”
Check back here every Friday for chat recaps and transcripts. Join the Marketwire Facebook page to get #smmeasure weekly topics. If you have any questions for the community, tweet @smmeasure or @marketwire or send me an email nshin[at]marketwire.com. Keep track of all the #smmeasure chat recaps.
Join the #smmeasure LinkedIn Group to connect with others interested in social media and measurement. See you next week at 9:00 am PST, 11:00 am CST, 12:00 pm EST, 5:00 pm if you’re in London, and 3:00 am Friday if you’re in Melbourne.
See you next Thursday.