Without a comprehensive social media policy and set of guidelines in place, businesses can be faced with lost revenue, exposure of industry regulated information, lawsuits, and even the loss of clientele.
Though we all may be sick of hearing it, social media is here to stay; it’s a fluid environment and businesses need to keep in pace with the changing atmosphere of the medium by having policies and guidelines in place for their company.
Video can include recorded presentations, YouTube, Skype, etc. Audio includes Podcasts, recorded skype conversations, recorded conference calls; Text includes Forums, Facebook, blogs, Micro-blogging, etc. Sharing can be Internet based or shared via mobile phones, text, phone or other forms of mass sharing technology.
Without a guide, you’re a lone wolf howling in the dark. Social media includes Public Relations, Communications, marketing, research and discovery; Your staff of social media users should understand not only the platform being used, but also the message they are trying to share via communications, marketing and public relations; No social media is complete without a strategy in place. Without strategy, the only thing being used is tactics. We all know that tactics alone are nothing. To be sure all of the aforementioned elements are in place, you must have an overreaching social media policy.
In the past year, a local business had all of these things happen to them. I will share more in just a moment.
No policy leads to regulation and industry violations, company client protocol violations which may lead to job loss.
Wal-Marting Across America was a campaign by the Walmart corporation where they hired a Washington Post photographer and writer to RV to Wal-marts nationwide and innocently blog on their experiences. It started as a sharing of their plans and ended with a full disclosure - to the detriment of both the hired freelancers who were fired from the Washington Post and the tarnishment of Wal-mart’s reputation in the eyes of their target audience, the working class. Transparency is expected in social media spaces. Nestle had issues with Peta over an oil they were using. Nestle was being accused that the oil was replenishing rain forests. Peta shared their view on the Peta website and social media spaces. Peta’s community started fighting Nestle by changing their profile pictures to represent the Nestle logo with negative connotations. Peta began to bombard Nestle on its Facebook page. In refutal, Nestle’s Facebook spokesperson began quoting legalize and tried to censor their audience. Needless to say, this fueled the fire and Nestle’s reputation began to spiral out of control. Skittles decided to use the newest technology to share their community on their website. They posted a widget that streamed every mention of “Skittles,” but their community soon caught on and started mentioning Skittles among some not-so-kind references to Skittles. Finally, a locally-based successful business recently dealt with lack of policy. No policy allowed their employees to visit the social media spaces they felt compelled to visit - email, Facebook, etc. In the past year, 4 computers contracted viruses from opening attachments which worked much like an STD, effecting each computer in the network. The most recent issue was a Trojon horse which was traced back to FB malware. It attached their email system, blacklisting the company without their knowing. Evenutally, clients began calling, concerned about not receiving emails for orders. It jeopardized a new multi-level client and potentially damaged their reputation. Additionally, they found that by allowing their employees to visit social sites on work breaks at their stations, they were breaking labor laws by allowing “working breaks”
Each platform may not be right for your business. By determining the best locations for your business in the social media atmosphere and then adding that to the policy, you stop rash decisions in their tracks. Monitoring is a key tool to social media that MUST be a part of your policy.
Who - Determine who will be speaking on your company’s behalf; What - What information will be shared? What information is NOT to be shared? What information is not to be shared without explicit permission? Where- what platforms are to be used. Though you may only be using one platform, ALL PLATFORMS SHOULD BE MONITORED. Determine who will be monitoring online mentions and what responses are necessary. When will sharing be done? Only after work hours? That is considered a closed policy. During work hours? How much sharing should be done? What portion of the work day should be dedicated to sharing and what portion should be dedicated to monitoring? Is sharing encouraged? Is it not encouraged? Either way, users must be aware that legal implications of their posts are their responsibility. Why? The why of social media starts and ends with strategy. The center strategy interlines with mission and vision.
One of the top shared reasons an employee didn’t follow policy (when there is a policy) is that they were unaware of it. If you are implementing a new policy, make sure to have a meeting where you share the reasons behind the policy and the consequences of a policy not followed. VERY IMPORTANT. Do not attempt to create a policy on your own Though you may be completely capable, the more heads, the more options that will be reviewed. Garner the help of stockholders, attorneys and the management team for input and final edits.
Unspoken rules of the internet atmosphere are social graces similar to those at a cocktail party. Just as you wouldn’t come up to someone and start trying to sell them when you haven’t even developed a relationship, you should listen to conversations, feel out the dynamics and begin creating a relationship based on your audience preferences. This is the difference between inbound and outbound marketing; prior to social media usage, companies use predominately outbound messages where they could choose the content to share; now people choose to follow them based on the content their audience wants to hear. They can tune you out if there are any wrong moves.
I have shared with you a closed social media policy of which I found little reference in my research. I have also shared an overreaching, basic guidelines for social media. I’ve chosen not to share a copy of policies I’ve found, but instead encourage you to visit Social Media Governance dot com - Policies to review over 150 policies. You can download, review and use one as a template to develop a policy for your company.
Social media policy in the workplace
Tweeting? Use #HeliSM
Social Media is: <ul><li>Video </li></ul><ul><li>Audio </li></ul><ul><li>Text </li></ul><ul><li>multimedia </li></ul><ul><li>Shared via blogs, wiki, video hosting sites, email, forums, social media AND platforms such as ustream, skype and slide-share </li></ul>10/04/2010 EDC Marketing Campaigns
Social Media is: <ul><li>A permanent change in communications </li></ul><ul><li>the most popular movement for media since television </li></ul>10/04/2010 EDC Marketing Campaigns A place for: <ul><li>An Expert Guide </li></ul><ul><li>Trained Staff </li></ul><ul><li>Good Strategy 1 st , tactics second </li></ul><ul><li>An Overreaching Policy </li></ul>
What if I told you that in 3 weeks, you could have: <ul><li>Financial Loss●Damaged Property </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of established client base ● Job loss </li></ul>10/04/2010 EDC Marketing Campaigns
No Policy ->Violations -> Job loss <ul><li>52 percent of U.S. employers fired workers for e-mail and web violations. </li></ul><ul><li>However, 40-50% of organizations have not addressed policy issues related to social media use </li></ul>10/04/2010 EDC Marketing Campaigns
What are the implications? <ul><li>Wal-Mart – Hired news reporters portrayed mommy bloggers (2007) </li></ul><ul><li>Nestle – Big Brother control gone out of control (2008) </li></ul><ul><li>Skittles Twitter – Widget without reason (2009) </li></ul><ul><li>Small Business blacklisted – Business to resonate (2010) </li></ul>10/04/2010 EDC Marketing Campaigns
Social media must be part of a comprehensive communications plan. <ul><li>Avoid the “shiny new object syndrome” </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrate planned participation </li></ul><ul><li>Monitor your brand and run interference </li></ul>10/04/2010 EDC Marketing Campaigns
3 Essential Elements for any Social Media Policy <ul><li>Strategy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use the values and mission of your organization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Know the expectations of those involved </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Determine Social Spaces </li></ul><ul><li>Permissions and responsibilities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>-- Training -- Daily, Weekly, Monthly -- Monitoring </li></ul></ul>10/04/2010 EDC Marketing Campaigns
Develop the Details <ul><li>Determine your policy: Open or closed? </li></ul><ul><li>Who – Do you have a select few or does everyone participate? </li></ul><ul><li>What – Are their industry or company regulations limiting the information that can be shared? </li></ul><ul><li>Where – In what spaces are you sharing? </li></ul><ul><li>When – During work hours? After work hours? </li></ul><ul><li>Why – Strategy, Strategy, Strategy </li></ul>10/04/2010 EDC Marketing Campaigns
Successful Policies <ul><li>Share your policy as part of your Employee Handbook </li></ul><ul><li>Recruit a Policy Chair including stockholders, attorneys and the Management team </li></ul>10/04/2010 EDC Marketing Campaigns
Important things to consider <ul><li>Understand Safety, Security and Appropriateness </li></ul><ul><li>Have a PLAN and designate users </li></ul><ul><li>Be aware of the unspoken rules </li></ul><ul><li>Social media is fluid and constantly changing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Stay Educated -- Stay On Course – Go with the flow </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Learn about and use the tools most suited for YOUR ORGANIZATION. </li></ul><ul><li>Monitor </li></ul>10/04/2010 EDC Marketing Campaigns
Sources and Resources <ul><li>Stats: 2009 Policy Survey by American Management Association </li></ul><ul><li>Policy Database (154 policies) socialmediagovernance.com/policies.php </li></ul><ul><li>Electronic Communications Privacy Act http://www.usiia.org/legis/ecpa.html </li></ul><ul><li>Monitoring Tools: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Search.twitter.com, Monitter.com </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>MonitorThis.info, Samepoint.com; Boardtracker.com, technorati.com </li></ul></ul>10/04/2010 EDC Marketing Campaigns
THANK YOU <ul><li>Need more help? </li></ul><ul><li>Speak with me after the presentation. </li></ul>10/04/2010 EDC Marketing Campaigns