Social Media: Make the Most of It with These Policies and Guidelines

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Social Media: Measure, Monitor and Mean It

Highlights and suggestions from Burson-Marsteller's Global Social Media Check-up.

If you are under the delusion that you can somehow stop your employees from using social media while they are at work, get over it. Social media is here to stay, and the smart business needs to be thinking about ways to cultivate blogs, Twitter and social networks as a positive for its employees and its brand.


Of course, part of that process is laying down some ground rules making sure employees don't do anything stupid, like using Facebook to send sensitive or confidential information outside the company. Our Mike Vizard suggests that companies should begin evaluating data loss prevention (DLP) systems and other technologies to monitor communications that don't run off the email server, in addition - of course - to setting meaningful policies on employee use of social media.


Here in the IT Downloads library, we have compiled a pretty impressive (if we do say so ourselves) collection of social media policy templates and samples that you can modify for use in your own organization. What follows is a quick look at four of them. All these tools are available free to IT Business Edge members.


The Blogging Disclosure Form from our partners at Toolkit Cafe is a simple Word-based template that you should ask all employees to evaluate and sign off on. It simply requires team members to let you know about the blogs they participate in, and to guarantee that they will make any appropriate disclosures and disclaimers about their role within your organization.


A simple 10-point set of social media guidelines from PR firm Mason Inc. includes a wealth of common-sense guidance for staff members' activities online. Key point #1: Always accurately identify yourself. Key point #2: "Don't pick fights, and accept and correct any mistakes you have made."


The Top 10 Guidelines for Social Media Participation from SHIFT Communications also includes a ton of smart pointers that might not occur to you. For example: Avoid talking about legal matters like the plague. And stick to your area of expertise. As with any other form of media, not having a clue about what you are saying does not look good on Twitter.


The five-page Social Media Policy and Procedures Template from Jaffe PR offers a comprehensive policy and guidelines for effective social media use. Among the pointers you will find are:


  • Never use a firm client's name in a blog posting, unless you have written permission to do so.
  • Don't use your own personal online relationships or the firm's network to influence polls, rankings, or Web traffic.
  • Check your state's particular prohibitions against and/or limitations on testimonials before posting them online.

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