Dec 5, 2012

Corporate Social Media Policies

Recently, it has been found that social media sites like Twitter and LinkedIn have 175 million and 500 million profiles and followers respectively. Facebook still lead the way with over 1 billion users and growing even bigger day by day.  Business people at table

Respected Internet security firms have also conducted surveys and found almost ten percent of corporate bandwidth is used on YouTube, a video sharing site, owned by Google. It is also reported that almost seven percent of internet business traffic goes to Facebook. We published a review of the social networks and their stats here.

Due to the huge scale and intensity of these interactions on social media sites and video sharing sites by all corporate employees, it is necessary to implement Corporate Social Media Policies in the workplace. Any company that does not establish firm and clear guidelines for interaction on social networking for its employees exposes itself to significant risks. The risks are not limited to negative remarks or disparaging comments alone. In discrete interaction on these very sites may lead to the leaking out of trade secrets or confidential information. The press may also get hold of certain confidential information and leak it to the general public and that would be a public relations disaster.

As there are several possible venues for electronic and social media all image conscious businesses should have a comprehensive Corporate Social Media Policies in place that are capable of addressing all the issues which may arise.

The company may have one specific Twitter or Facebook page through which all the employees are allowed to interact with customers and receive feedback.

The same applies for blogging also. The corporate employees should know that blog commenting or blog posting at any blog site, video sharing site must be done while keeping the image and confidential information of the business quite intact.

Even when the employees are off duty and spending time on social networking sites such as chat rooms, forums etc. they should know what they are allowed to talk about and how company matters should be kept secret.

The electronic media includes all screens – computer, tablets, e-readers and mobile phones and the media policy governing it should cover many aspects, like how employees should use company property issued to them. The employees should know that since their mobile phones and PC’s are company issued property, they should not treat it as private property at all and they should not expect any privacy on these belongings.
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Peter Freer

Please feel free to follow me on Twitter @peterjamesfreer or connect on Peter Freer is a digital and social media strategist with deep experience in traditional agency branding and marketing communications for Canada's Fortune 100. Known as 'creative problem solver' by clients, he is a contributing writer and podcaster for PROFIT Guide's web and i-Pad application on technology and marketing for B2B business owners and entrepreneurs. Clients include Assante Wealth, LCBO, Oral-B and WIND Mobile. Peter is an undergraduate from York University and is certified in E-Marketing from Canadian Marketing Association. He is currently completing his MBA in Digital and Social Media from New England College.  

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