Monday, February 6, 2012

The Social Media Policy Tightrope

As the social media scene changes policy becomes more important. Some companies will fall behind and some will become the cutting edge of social media policy. But almost everyone will try to over control their employees or members when walking the policy tightrope.

This is the age of smart phones and tablets and you will see more and more people interacting with social media to talk about their company, association or events that they attend. It is no longer considered forbidden to have your cell phone out during a lecture or to tweet from a networking event. But how do we control everything people say about our companies or events? We can’t.

Trying to over control the output of employees, members and attendees can create disgruntled social media gurus who will in turn post negative things about you. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t restrict posting at all, it just means your policy should be realistic. If your employees want to tweet about a long day at work you can’t stop them. But you can make it a policy not to disclose client information or confidential company information.

Trying to stop all conversations from people that interact with you can actually be a detriment. This stops the genuine conversations that now happen predominantly online. These conversations actually help to give your brand credibility and bring a human aspect when needed. Starting the conversation can be as easy as interacting with employees you already have via social media.

When walking the tightrope of policy, make sure to think about all the consequences of your restrictions and rethink any that don’t align with your company values or your goals for social media. A policy is necessary but it’s up to you how to use it.

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