The Social Media Policy undercover

Social Media Policy is more than a document; it is a process and an attitude.

More and more but still too few companies are thinking about creating a social media policy. This however only the beginning. From experience I can say that within companies that have a social media policy less than 10% of all employees know about its existence. Even worse, earlier this year I even encountered HR managers (from ICT companies) that were unaware of their own policy even though it is publicly available on the internet. So there is a need for more than just a document.

The implementation of social media must be seen as an implementation of an ICT application. Remember, social media platforms are true Cloud Computing applications and require thus a good implementation plan. The creation of the policy document is only a little step in this process. Additionally, you can use the social media policy to create the necessary awareness of social media for all your employees. They can learn about the who, the what, the benefits and the dangers of social media. It is important to show them that the individual’s behavior cannot only influence the perception about them but also the company in both positive and negative sense. The guidelines mentioned in the policy will enlist your employees to be your best ambassadors. A benefit that is too often forgotten.

Every policy contains both traditional guidelines and policies about the use of social media during and after working hours. It is also good to include the different platforms and profiles where the company can be found. This often forgotten and leads to employees making all kinds of groups and profiles without any coordination or approvals. Another benefit of your social media policy is that you clearly state what training (platforms where the company is active sounds like a good rule) is made available to all employees to make the most of the platforms. Let’s be honest, who reads a book on how to set your facebook privacy settings?

And then there is the distribution of the policy within your organization. Do not just send an email or put it on the intranet. This is the quickest way to go into hiding and thus not to be understood or known by the employees. A personal presentation or creative approach will reap benefits and create excitement. Creating a video (Ministry of Justice of the state Victoria), a commented PowerPoint (Salesforce.com) or a cartoon strip (Adidas). Reaching the employees individually is key especially since you are handing them useful guidelines to protect their (and the company’s) reputation.


Now your policy is effective! Successful companies are those where the social media policy promotes ambassadorship and people are made aware through training and induction programs. If you have any questions or comments, please react via the comments field in this blog!

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