Thursday, 20 September 2012

Social media policies

Session on Social Media Policies. Will be interesting to see if it convinces me that we need one.

Biggest risk in social media is in public facing communications. Are risks, but need to understand what the real ones are, and not overblow them. Policies should encourage good behaviour as well.

So, why do you need one?
Employees can be too enthusiastic, eg product manager caught praising his own car on a forum, retailer tried to get complaining customer fired.
Some just don't think :
Dominos example of youTube video fairly famous.
Chinese official didn't realise twitter was public and was using it to arrange meeting with mistress.
Some retailers used Arab Spring tweets to promote lines
Quantas promoted luxury during nasty labour strike

None of above have anything to do with social media policies. Policy cannot prevent stupidity.

You need to Inform everyone of what is expected of them, prevent what you can and deal with the rest

More important to deal with things quickly and effectively than attempting total prevention.

Policies should describe desired outcomes. What is the behaviour we want? What are the values we're trying to express? More important than detailed rules. Describing good outcomes make them more Iikely.

Adoption of social media is usually a bigger issue than misuse. Policies which have too many rules, risks etc, less likely to use it.

Things to include in a policy:
Need to point out that existing policies still apply, eg acceptable use, codes of ethics, confidentiality, privacy, harassment, bullying. These should cover most social media situations.
Use case studies of good and bad to promote discussion and understand the issues.
May need to determine "hot zones", ie stuff that is very sensitive. Could include compliance issues, scandals (!), financial and commercial information.
Give people somewhere to go for advice, or to report something.
Discuss goals, intentions, purpose, why are we doing this
Guidance on personal vs business personas. What can you tell an employee not to do? Anything?

Not everyone in an organisation are the same. You might want different policies for them:
Forbidden: no access to social media, cannot comment on company business. To be avoided if possible
Neutral: no blocking, but not expected to participate on behalf of the business
Encouraged: not really their job but encouraged to participate, eg thought leaders in senior management blogging ( does that make me a thought leader?)
Tasked: usually in PR and Marketing, job includes social media monitoring and participation

Long list of do's and don'ts won't work. Use values, eg we respect our colleagues, we value confidentiality. This allows a discussion based on
content, not rules. Rules can never cover everything.

Interesting discussion on blocking access to social media sites. Used to be common, but getting better. Blocking blinds the organisation to social media activity, drives the use of personal systems eg own mobile phones, sends bad messages about innovation and trust, and is using technology to solve a management problem. Biggest reason for blocking is time wasting. This is not a technology issue. We don't ban newspapers, or suduko books!
What I've been saying, especially to local authorities, for years!

I've always though that famous quote " Don't be a dick" is the main, if not only, thing to include in a policy.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

1 comment:

Andy Tattersall said...

I think you hit the nail on the head - "Policy cannot prevent stupidity". As with data security, copyright etc, you can't legislate for maliciousness, stupidity, lack of interaction. I think nobody knows where Social Media is going - which makes it hard to gauge where to pitch this as these kind of policies can soon date. At least with social media copyright and security you can point to good practice - and try to ensure that those who are driving these technologies have some idea of why they are doing what. With social media they need to have an interest - the worst kind of social media presence is the one driven by the poor secretary who has been told to Tweet. We'll still get people posting videos, Tweets whilst under the influence. Interesting times indeed