How to Build a Social Networking Policy

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Monitoring and Follow-Up

The conventional management adage that “What cannot be measured cannot be managed” is certainly appropriate with social networking. As such, it makes sense to put proper monitoring measures in place to monitor whether desired outcomes are panning out.

The metrics here will obviously differ from conventional ones, but are hardly rocket science. Basic examples could be tracking the number of followers or fans, as well as audience engagement level in terms of comments or word of mouth. Conventional tools can also be brought to bear in many cases, such as using Web analytics to determine the click-through rates, or relying on URL-shortening services to gain a better insight on the geographical spread of referrers, for example.

Where ensuring adherence to the company’s social networking policy is concerned, one way is to set up a monitored IM (instant messaging) channel or dedicated e-mail account where employees can report inappropriate social media interactions by their colleagues. This should help ensure a greater accountability and help rein in communications that goes against the company policy – before they spiral out of control.


Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom – Excerpt
This book offers a detailed view on the ways social networking affects the world of business and work.

Applied properly, the strategic use of social networks will allow a David to outmaneuver and outrun Goliaths, or for heavyweights to propel their reputation and brand awareness to greater heights. As social media gurus Matthew Fraser and Soumitra Dutta summed up in their book Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom: How Online Social Networking Will Transform Your Life, Work and World: “The unique characteristics of disembodied identities in the virtual world can radically transform rules that traditionally govern social groups.”

Social media engagement is about radically transforming the traditional battlefield of marketing and PR. Your social networking policy, in turn, is the rule book that defines the guidelines used to wage and win this war of the new media. While beginners new to the scene might mistake the presence of a policy for social networking as nothing more than a protective mechanism, the truth is that it exists not to limit but really to liberate participants.

The season is still early for the great social networking race, and the opportunities are aplenty. So fasten your seatbelts, start your social media engines, and have a blast of a ride.

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