5 steps to implement a social networking policy

As I recently read, controlling Social Networking is like herding sheep.  You can close them in but beware some might escape and you will have to chase them back in; or you let it open and some will run away and do dangerous things.  In any case you need guidelines and this as of the first employee that uses Social Media and Networking!

Have you seen the number of articles appear that tell us of social networking sites, especially Facebook and Twitter) being closed down by IT – the hard way!  Actually, a study done by the Belgian IT magazine (Smart Business Strategies) this week confirms this.  But this does not really solve the problem as employees will look for other ways to participate and companies will have to sit back and be reactive.  Why not being proactive?

Rather than being reactive or repressive, would it not make more sense to provide guidance to your employees?  But how do you start this?  I have come up with a simple 5 step approach:

Step 1: Create awareness of what social networking is, who are the providers, what are the benefits and what are the dangers.

Step 2: Create an Inventory of where the company and its employees are active today in social media and networking.  You will be amazed about the number of platforms you get!

Step 3: Create Social Networking Policies.

Step 4: Provide the necessary Training on the platforms that are most common and fall within the guidelines of the policy.

Step 5: Monitor the progress from a brand and person point of view.

Going through these 5 steps and working with the employees, companies will be able to create proactive and constructive guidelines that work.

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