The key to a strong social media policy

by HCA13 Mar 2014
Regardless of whether your business transacts online or not, a ‘head in the sand’ approach to social media won’t cut it – and can actually prove disastrous if a negative situation develops online.
 
“Many companies don’t establish policies to govern social media usage, or can find their policy difficult to enforce due to lack of employee engagement and training on the topic,” said Karen Isaacson, author of the KPMG report ‘Human Resources and Social Media’.
 
“Given these challenges, it’s not surprising that many executives prefer to avoid the topic by saying that they have no need for social media or policies to manage it.”
 
However, the development of a strong social media policy is “essential”, Isaacson added, particularly in consideration of “workforce risk for avoidance of loss of employee goodwill, information breaches and reputational damage.”
 
The creation and enforcement of a social media policy (SMP) often falls to HR. Isaacson’s top 5 tips for getting it right upfront are:
 
  1. Designate a SMP manager.
KPMG reports that while HR is usually responsible for creating the SM policy (43%), Marketing is usually in charge of running the account (35%). The two departments must communicate.
 
  1. Create metrics to review its effectiveness.
Monitor your company’s official use of social media, so you can measure its effectiveness and impact.
 
  1. Focus on the positives.
“Many companies’ social media policies are negatively oriented, directing employees on what not to do,” Isaacson said. “Consider the impact to your organisation of a positive social media policy with a positive orientation.”
 
  1. Create brand advocates in your employees.
Establish a formal SMP that engages and empowers your staff. “When [social media policies] are defined and well-communicated, a new set of evangelists is created, who… carry messages to the marketplace regarding the quality of your products and services.”
 
  1. Encourage innovation.
Your social media policy has the potential to become an extension and reflection of your company’s culture. “Allow employees to demonstrate the nature of the workplace itself [as] being a collaborative environment, where creativity and expression of new ideas is both welcomed and encouraged,” Isaacson advised.

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