Whilst the biggest bulk of companies are moderately adopting social media, the attitude of many IT managers towards social media is like that of entering a swamp.
Speaking at the Gartner Portals, Content and Collaboration summit, analyst Jeremy Mann explained the importance of implementing a social media policy in order to define participation from employees, the company’s representation of itself and how social tools will be used internally.
At the core of this adoption must be IT for there are alligators in the swamp, said Jones. Whilst the biggest risk, public-facing operations, should not be overblown, organisations need to take a management approach if they want to avoid drowning.
“Social media is a swap but there’re some very pretty parts of that swamp,” he explained. “Social media participation can be used to encourage good behaviour, not just to restrict people from doing things. It can also help nudge people in the right direction and help organisations benefit from the value it brings.”
Jones outlined four initial steps to take when adopting a social media policy:
- Point out that existing policies still apply: Most organisations have policies for topics like acceptable use, ethics and intellectual property. This baseline covers most social media situations.
- Discuss examples: Case studies can illustrate the good and bad sides of social media participation. The goal is to understand the issues, not memorise a list of prohibitions.
- Determine ‘hot zones’: Some topics deserve special attention. Warn employees to stay away from such topics as new products, acquisitions and financials.
- Give them somewhere to go: Policies cannot cover every situation so encourage a dialogue. Possible infractions should be reported and discussed openly.
And who should be involved in implementing this policy? Everyone from executive management, marketing and PR, customer service, legal, sales and, of course, IT.