Thursday, January 7, 2010

Who Needs a Social Media Policy?

The answer, in a word, is "everybody." Every company should have a social media policy to guide managers and employees in determining what they can and can't say online, to help them protect proprietary info without discouraging dialogue and engagement with stakeholders. Giving organization members a framework within which to communicate in social media will go a long way toward promoting transparency and building trust with customers and other audiences.

To see what a social media policy looks like, click through some of the links in the Social Media Governance policy database. IBM's Social Computing Guidelines, for instance, are just that--guidelines that rely on common sense and call for disclosure of company connections. From a marketing perspective, I especially like guideline #12:
Try to add value. Provide worthwhile information and perspective. IBM's brand is best represented by its people and what you publish may reflect on IBM's brand.
Coca-C0la just announced a new policy, also emphasizing full disclosure and reminding employees: "When in doubt, do not post." Good idea.

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