SNP – Marketing to lead the team effort…

I hear frequently the comment: “who is responsible for the creation of a social networking policy?”  I believe this is a team effort since no one holds the full answer.  Here is my take on it.

Social media is a marketing tool and since the company PR and communication are the responsibility of marketing, it would make sense that marketing leads this effort.  They are by all mean the best versed in the use of social media.  Marketers are now expanding the use of their reach to customer and thus have a good idea of which tools are available.  Their expertise can be beneficial to anyone who wants to be involved in social networking.

However, marketing is probably not the party when it comes putting it into guidelines and policies and that is where HR and legal come into play.  Their role will mainly consist of adapting, call it translating, the social media and networking policies to the standard of all HR policies.  The contribution of the legal department is one where they will make sure that all policies adhere to the law.

The only way a social media/networking policy will succeed as with any initiative within a company is when the management team sponsors and champions the effort.  It is even more important, because management can lead by example as well as encourage employees to participate to social networking.  Not that everyone has to befriend everybody because here there are dangers to.

Since social media and networking is using IT infrastructure, it is always a good idea to involve the IT department.  They will be able to advice on items such as bandwidth, security and both hardware and software requirements.  And very importantly, IT will sure the policy aligns up to the corporate governance strategy.

Finally, and not to say, most importantly, there is the input of the employees.  They major contribution will consist of identifying the type of social networking and media they want to or are participating to.  Since the policy will govern some of their behaviors, they need to well represented in the project group that makes up the policy.  They will also be able to advice HR in regards to possible training needs that people will need, which will also be a key element in the success of the implementation of a social networking policy.

Coming back to the marketing role in the project, leading this effort they will be responsible for the awareness creation and presentation on the policies to the whole company.  So, they will be sharing their experience and knowledge with the large audience and act as the subject matter expert to the users.

Does the creation of a social networking policy need to be a big undertaking?  No, there are sample policies available but still all the parties mentioned above need to go through them to adapt them to your organization or you can call in external experts to do this job.

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