Let’s start in 2009
2009 is the year that social media breaks through on a large scale. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the likes are adding members quickly. I would like to call this the age of “consumersation of Social Media”.
But 2009 is also the year that we start seeing how naif people are. They post anything and everything on social media. They tarnish not only their own reputation but also that of the companies they work for. Some even get fired for their behavior. But also companies make mistakes with this young and new medium. And then companies do what companies do best: the lock down and lockout social media on the work floor!
They did however not count on the fact that mobile was also becoming a commodity. People creative as they are fled to these mobile devices to take part in social media during work hours. Companies had to do something: The social media policy was born!
2011 – 2012
When I did my survey about social media policies in companies, I found that only 1 in 5 companies had one. Even worse: within those companies less than 10% of the employees knew about it. This still holds true today. Social Media policies were merely a tick in the box.
Companies only made one when disaster struck. They created them as insurance policies.
2015: Time for a social media policy renaissance
We are now 2015 and there 3 important reasons why companies should revisit their social media policy or create one.
Reason #1: We all know that 2015 is the year of the video more specifically live-streaming. Apps such as Meerkat, Periscope or even Blab give every employee a live camera in their hand. What if they start live streaming your production process? What if they stream paying events? And this is just the beginning.
Reason #2: For years companies have been looking for ambassadors. They kept looking outside the company and forgot their biggest assets, the employees. Today Employee Advocacy is stepping into the limelight. Employees can amplify company approved content and get a higher organic reach. Today companies are using a number of tools from rFactr, over GaggleAmp to Sociabble or Smarpshare just to name a few. But what if your employee add comments to post that are not appropriate?
Reason #3: More and more companies are embracing Social Selling (aka the use of social media by sales to find leads and build relationships). We all know how disciplined sales people are and things can go wrong very quickly (and yes, this is black & white). You really need a policy to help this people with their social media.
And finally, people are still naif in this day and age. They are still being fired for posting stupid stuff.
So time for the renaissance of the social media policy. If yours is more than 2 years old, it is time for a revision.
From my current research, it looks like about 50% of the companies have as policy of which some are more than 2 years old. With social election in many companies coming up, it might be a good idea to include some paragraphs about union behavior and use of social within your enterprise.
In my next article I will focus on the how you make/update your current social media policy.