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Do you have a social media policy for your organization

how to develop social media policy for your organization Do you have a social media policy for your organizationI am a firm believer of using social media to aid organizational productivity and I always advocate and encourage use of various social media applications like blogs, networking sites, wiki’s within my organization. Past couple of months I have been analyzing time spent by my employees on these social networking sites and measuring its effectiveness against increase in productivity or against generating / facilitating business.  The analysis was based on social media and its direct impact on productivity. Though the over results are positive but there were some areas of concerns that I would like to highlight in this article.  My analysis pointed out that in certain cases there was a high percentage of unproductive time spent on these sites which lead to loss in productivity.  I am not sure if there should be a clear cut policy that restricts the usage of social media sites or should one adopt an evolutionary process by making the employees realize the good and bad of it and treat it accordingly. My analysis was I have conducted

Areas of concern:

  • Excessive time spent networking sites: leads to loss of focus and loss of time. These activities include chatting with friends, updating social profiles of sites like Facebook , MySpace and other such sites and not really focusing on work realted interactions.
  • High usage of bandwidth: people upload pictures, presentations, videos purely for purpose to add fun element in their social media adventure which leads to high usage of bandwidth and time.
  • Public image of the company: people will have to be very careful about what they say about your company, the projects that they work  on and the team that they are involved in as this can really damage your reputation. This is the most important as the internet world consists of your potential clients and employees
  • Viral effect: once someone gets a message/ pictures they keep involving the rest of the employees and the viral keeps on viraling leading to again loss of time

My analysis has made me realise that there has to be a social media policy for every organization.  Please do not confuse it with your IT policy as the major difference is you ideally want to restrict users from abusing your IT infrastructure and hence strict guidelines of Do’s and Don’ts is possible but in case of social media you want to encourage interaction of employees internally and externally to derive benefits for your business.  In this scenario you will have to develop a policy which encourages yet restrict use of social media.

Points to be considered while formulating social media policy:

  • Explain why you need this policy, this will help get buy in from your employees
  • How will you provide access to your employees, pointers could be:
    • Hierarchy wise access (Sr Manages, Managers, Juniors)
    • Time bound usage (An hour a day at one time or spread during the day)
    • Department wise access
    • Roles wise access and usage (Marketing , operations, customer support, PR)
  • Set measurement mechanism connecting use of social media and productivity based on the above mentioned access
  • Create guidelines where people take responsibility of what they write about the organisation
  • If the employee is using the sites for work purpose then they represent them by name of the organization as compared to personal names.

I suggest you conduct an exercise to measure the use of networking sites within your organisation and start acting on creating a policy for usage of social media before its too late.

If this article got you thinking on how to develop social media policy then these resources can help you develop Social media policy for your organizations:

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Comments

Actually, socializing is good, because many ideas come from this, but, sometimes time is flying so fast and you conclude that you've waste your day. Here are the results of a study which analyzes the effects of Facebook over employee productivity.

Thanks for sharing the study on Facebook i am in the process of formulating policy for our organization and i am sure it will help.

Great suggestions and links here Amit. I agree that having an IT policy is a very different animal than your Social Media guidelines. There is just something organic about social media that requires broader strokes and risk to be successful. The same cannot be said about IT and security practices. Thanks for the post link and we hope to see you in the Connected community.

Amit,

Thank you for your response on our blog. Your analysis on social media is through and well thought out especially your areas of concern, which really high lights the sometimes un-noticed dangers of social media.

–So Fla Web
http://blog.soflaweb.com/

Social media policies has to evolutionary in nature and it cannot be the same for all organizations. every organizations will have to understand their requirements and constraints and take one small baby step at a time in formulating the policy

Hi Amit – Agree, nice post and you identify some key points about the crucial importance of identifying a clear outline of ensuring employees are using social media at work for the sake of business. This line can really get blurred as we continue to experience a dynamic shift towards relationship building being a core factor of strategic online communications. Good to identify these challenges upfront and find a balance that works for each company.

Hello Scott,Excellent point on summarizing the whole article the key is to be prepared by countering the challenged upfront and find a solution that meets your need.Thanks for your views, i have been following your blog and i must recommend people to visit it as there is good amount of information on social media.Amit

If someone uses Web networking in their business development mix, then what’s the difference between spending an hour working your online networks or spending 2 hours out of the office attending a luncheon or other networking function? The difference is 1 hour in the plus column for the person who efficiently used online networking.

Of course one could argue that posting photos of your vacation or playing around with facebook apps isn’t exactly business networking, I would respectfully disagree. It can be the catalyst for a developing relationships based on shared interests. Building relationships takes many touch points and they vary. So, while it will likely take an offline conversation to truly conduct a business transaction online gives you greater exposure with a more efficient investment of time. Also, what’s the difference between chit chat over cocktails or a half day away from the office for a golf outing and 30 minutes posting the top 50 rock concerts you’ve seen in response to a facebook conversation, a lot of productivitiy. It’s all perspective.

Bottom line, in my opinion, is that organizations need to place some trust in their employees —after the policies are in place and leaders clearly communicate what is expected.

Thanks for your insights Jayne. you have covered a very sensitive yet important aspect of generating trust amongst employees.

For anyone developing or researching social media policies, I created this database containing links to more than 60 policies, and you can filter by industry:

http://socialmediagovernance.com/policies.php

Chris,

thanks so much for sharing this information this is the icing on the cake ;-)

Of course, it is always important to keep in mind that the social media policy addresses what employees have always done – talk to other people about their jobs and personal lives. The only thing that has changed is that employees now have more tools to reach wider audiences. Thus, before implementing a social media policy, the views and opinions of the employees of an organization should be considered in order to build a consensus regarding the use of the Web and social media tools.

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