Recently I have been speaking to several colleagues who work at firms that have strict controls on social media usage. These employees work in highly regulated markets with firms that see social media only in terms of its potential legal/regulatory risks. Management’s myopic view of social media leaves them at a serious disadvantage vs. their competitors who embrace the power of social media. Framing social media as simply a threat is misunderstanding the entire potential and power of embracing social software. Our world has changed and people have embraced social media in nearly every form as the way they consume information, communicate and connect. Failing to see the opportunity to connect with customers/clients where they are and in a method of their choosing is the digital equivalent of burying ones head in the sand. A better course of action would be to do the following 3 steps:
- Create a Social Media Plan
All organizations should have a social media plan. It is like a guidebook for your social media act ivies that keeps you on track. Much like your business plan, a social media plan keeps you on track with using this powerful medium while helping you measure your effectivity vs. your desired outcomes.
- Create a Social Media Policy
Policies are powerful tool to keep your people and processes in alignment. Educating your employees on proper usage of social media can be an important asset. Almost daily we hear of employees improperly using social media in ways that weaken the credibility of your organization, violate regulatory requirements or simply damage your brand. Again, these are the very thing that can be mitigated by creating a social media policy.
- Training Your Users
Training can be used to bring your employees up to par with your social media plans and policy. Employees should be aware of what they can and cannot engage in and the clear consequences of violating policies to the firm. Arming them with the knowledge to properly engage will greatly positively impact your potential in the world of social media.
A better course of action on the issue would be drawing up a clear social media plan and social media usage policy while embracing the potential of the media. We don’t usually throw the baby out with the bath water – so why then social media? Try looking at these social media issues from this new angle and your visage of the social media landscape may change.