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Only 29% Of Companies Have A Social Media Policy: Is Your Company At Risk?

Companies are coming to terms with the growth and use of Social Media within and without their organisations and some of the companies that I deal with are grappling with its implications and how to use it in a positive way.

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Currently only 29% of companies have a Social Media Policy, so I thought it would be good to put together a list of resources that would assist the other 71% to create one.

Firstly, What is a social media policy? Very simply without getting too complicated

“A social media policy outlines for employees the corporate guidelines or principles of communicating in the online world”.

Why Have a Social Media Policy?

According to Eric B. Meyer, who’s an Associate in the Labor and Employment Group of Dilworth Paxson LLP, what companies should consider from a legal perspective in developing a social media policy are.

  • “Employers need to be upfront with employees that they have no right to privacy with respect to social networking. “Employers reserve the right to monitor employee use of social media regardless of location (i.e. at work on a company computer or on personal time with a home computer).”
  • Employees “should be made aware that company policies on anti-harassment, ethics and company loyalty extend to all forms of communication (including social media) both inside and outside the workplace.” People need to remember that bashing your organization/boss/co-workers online can lead to consequences at work.”

1. 10 Must Haves For A Social Media Policy – Courtesy of Sharlyn Lauby

She says -“Whether you’re writing your social media policy from the get-go, or letting it develop organically in reaction to situations as they arise, here are 10 things you should definitely consider. These 10 tips will help you steer clear of pitfalls and allow you to focus on what’s important: engaging the customer.”

2. IBM’s Social Computing Guidelines

In the spring of 2005, IBMers used a wiki to create a set of guidelines for all IBMers who wanted to blog. These guidelines aimed to provide helpful, practical advice—and also to protect both IBM bloggers and IBM itself, as the company sought to embrace the blogosphere. Since then, many new forms of social media have emerged. So we turned to IBMers again to re-examine our guidelines and determine what needed to be modified. The effort has broadened the scope of the existing guidelines to include all forms of social computing.

3. 117 Social Media Policies – By Social Media Governance

Here is a list of and access to, social policies and protocols from organisations with documents rivalling “War and Peace” to light and brief.

4. Enterprise: List of 40 Social Media Staff Guidelines – by Laurel Papworth

She says “This list also includes policies called; Staff blogging policies, enterprise social network guidelines, Employee Blogging Policies, Staff engagement in online communities, and so on. I’ve done a few press (radio, print) interviews this week re: Telstra so I thought I should have another look at how Enterprise, Government, Corporates, Not for Profits  are handling the fact that their staff are members of social networks too”

5. Corporate Top 10 Social Media Guidelines – from Todd Defren’s Blog

He covers how corporate employees’ participation in Social Media can be dealt with and managed in a way that liberates them — without putting the company at risk.

So , what is revealing is that  a lot of common sense .. which is what a good policy is based upon, certainly seems to prevail through most of the social media policies, though the length of the policies can vary from the sublime to the adventurous.

What were your challenges in creating a Social Media Policy for your organisation?

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