Social Media Policy or Guideline – Which one should you have
What is the difference? Is there a difference?
Actually, the difference is fundamental to how you view social media. Do you look at social media as an opportunity to be leveraged or do you look at it as a threat to be guarded against?
Social Media as a Threat
If you view social media as a threat that you need to live with, you will primarily be concerned about the possible damage that can be caused be employee action. You will be concerned about:
- Any confidential information getting inadvertently leaked out
- You getting embarrassed because of an employee action
- Any claim arising out of an employee posting
- Employee expressing opinion which may not be in sync with the official position
You will need to focus on what the employee should not do. You will clearly identify the limits what is permissible and what is not. There will be no explicit encouragement to participate and the title of the document will contain the word “Policy“. Here are two examples:
|Oracle Social Media Participation Policy||
|Cisco’s Internet Postings Policy||
Social Media as an Opportunity
On the other hand if you view social media as an opportunity then you will want to encourage your employees to participate and you will guide them on the best way to participate. You will be interested in providing the best practices like:
- Being yourself and truthful
- Admitting mistakes
- Respect your audience
- Being transparent but judicious
You will focus on what they may do. Though you may mention what to avoid, it will be written in as an advice rather than as a sword hanging over your head. Finally, the title of the document will contain the word “Guideline“. Here are two examples:
|IBM Social Computing Guidelines||
|Intel Social Media Guidelines||
Oracle, Cisco, IBM and Intel – the four examples are from companies operating on the same market space. Therefore, what you make out of social media depends on your enterprise DNA and the result can be very different from company to company.
Does it remind you about theory “X” and theory “Y”?
[June, 2012] The federal agency that settles workplace disputes has issued new guidelines on what employees can and can’t say about their bosses and their companies on social media sites. The guideline seem to favor the employees.