Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Does your company have a social media policy?

By: Susan Finco, President, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

In recent weeks, a number of people have asked if our clients have social media policies. My answer: “Many do, but not all of them.” The next question is, inevitably, why not? Usually it’s because the companies or organizations are grappling with just how to use social media as well as whether or not to allow employees to use social media during work hours. We work with them to sort out those issues, but it’s always an interesting discussion with some widely varying opinions. Here’s what we’re seeing and hearing among our contacts and clients:
  • Some simply refuse to allow any employees access to social media. Big mistake. Whether you like it or not, someone in your organization is using social media during work time. People just find ways to do it.
  • Most companies are developing / implementing social media policies that will allow some use of social media among employees as well making it part of their communications efforts.
  • A smaller number of organizations allow all of their employees to use social media with the understanding it needs to be appropriate, professional, not divulge any proprietary information about the company or its clients, or make subjective, judgmental statements about the company or its clients.
  • And there are companies that allow social media use by clearly spelling out their policies, educating their staff about social media and the responsibility that goes with it. They also spell out what is prohibited (confidential information, threats, etc.) and what the consequences will be for violating the policy.

As you might guess, my preference leans toward the last bullet point. You aren’t going to stop the social media train, so it makes sense to identify appropriate use of it and clearly communicate your policies, procedures and consequences. Like just about everything else at work and at home, good communications are the key to success. What is your organization or business social media policy? I’d love to have you weigh in with your thoughts and comments.


Tom Schoffelman said...

I don't believe a specific social media policy is necessary. Instead, an overall policy regarding communications should be in place. Policies should hold people accountable to acceptable behavior, not the technology they are using because technology will always continue to evolve. The technology really isn't important. Its the behavior people invoke that needs to be addressed.

Susan Finco said...

Found a great article on this very topic:

Susan Finco