Associations have lots of policies and guidelines. Your employee handbook is full of such documents and should also include social media guidelines. The mere process of writing policies and guidelines serves is helpful in clarifying your intent and tell people what you expect them to do.
photo © 2008 Lauren Manning | more info (via: Wylio)One of the things that can be used to separate the haves from the have-nots in business regarding social media tools is how close an organization is to having a social media guideline addition to their corporate policy. If policy has been considered, you can fairly bet there’s a strategy behind the scenes, a plan to make sure things happen smoothly and profitably. If there’s not, then the social media plans might exist, but there’s more of a change of things being hodgepodge in nature, and more of a risk that things won’t turn out exactly pristine down the road.
First, look at your existing company policies, looking for things like internet use, website visits, ownership of online communication (emails, tweets, posts), and how to interact “on behalf of the company” when it comes to media and news outlets. For the most part, the specifics of those bulletpoints will cover your organization legally in the realms of social media online.
However, the second thing needed will help steady the foundation much more. Find a way to codify those pieces into a new section of the employee handbook. Having a specified section of the book to consult makes it easier to you and your associates:
- to find and access the DOs and DON’Ts as outlined by management;
- to read up on goals, plans, and vision for interacting in social space online;
- to be a part of the community growing internally and the one being fostered externally;
- and to become brand champions for the company, knowing best practices in personal and professional interaction.
What would you expect to see in a social media policy for your company? What would you add? What would you hope it left out?
Further Reading: just saw this one come through my feed reader this afternoon, another great take on what’s needed corporately to make these tools/platforms profitable - Creating a Corporate Blogging Policy | MackCollier.com