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Employee use of social media and the pros and cons of a social media policy

Posted By Marketwired On November 13, 2010 @ 4:43 am In IR/PR | 1 Comment

smmeasure logo [1]

As the #smmeasure Twitter chat continues to grow as a community, I am grateful for those social media enthusiasts who participate and help spread the word. 

Last week’s #smmeasure chat was on identifying and quantifying your influencers online [2], a highly debatable measurement topic.  However, for this week we decided to focus our chat on employee use of social media.   Thanks to @sabrina_scott [3] for asking a question that so many people wanted to know about.

#smmeasure chat #16 recap

Creating a cultural environment that embraces social media is the initial step in incorporating social media into a company’s strategy.  The #smmeasure community chimed in about best practices of creating a social media policy.  If you have any questions, tweet @smmeasure without the #smmeasure hashtag.  Take a look at the full #smmeasure chat transcript [4]. Here are a few highlights:

Q1: What are the pros and cons of creating a social media policy?


  • @brightmatrix:  “Pros of a social media policy: give employees clear guidance on how they should represent themselves as part of the company”
  • @imamike:  “SM policy essential to preventing future liabilities and ensuring employees know exactly what is expected of them”
  • @sabrina_scott:  “Pro: What employees are allowed to say about the company is clearly defined.”
  • @djwald:  “Pros – Co.’s have solid backing for reprimand.”
  • @agardina:  “A SM policy is only as effective as how up to date it’s kept. Imagine what a policy from ’06 might look like.”
  • @clarqui:  “We’re beyond ‘banning’ SM sites – too many smart phones out there. Need to decide how to manage their use” “problem with big co’s is they write policy and then fail to update.”
  • @clouts:  “Best policies are the ones that encourage use of social media and guide them to follow same “culture” and mission”


  • @ellerich:  “policy con – often limits employees’ freedom of expression, can be intimidating and employees may opt to avoid #SM altogether”
  • @jgombita: “How on earth could there be a ‘con’ to creating a SM policy?” “perhaps it’s not the right ‘cultural fit’ all around….”
  • @djwald:  “Cons – Limiting the freedom, and trust of employees.”

Q2:  What are some guidelines you have included (or would include) into a social media policy? Via @sabrina_scott [3]

  • @Wedding_crasher:  “Disclosure guidelines, Crisis Management guidelines, Rules of Engagement”
  • @brightmatrix:  “Ideal SM policy would include best practices for major channels, common sense advice”  “At base, an SM policy should already tie into existing code of conduct policies, which has a clear tie-in to HR.”
  • @sabrina_scott:  “I think that photo guidelines are also applicable ie: ensuring if the company’s logo is in a picture the photo is in good taste.”
  • @jgombita:  “Specify whether social media guidelines apply to work platforms & equipment or also extend to personal blogs, etc”
  • @amfunderburk1:  “Include how you want your employees to treat their personal social media accounts.”
  • @JanetRobbins:  “SM policy–guidance on how to handle negative comments about business”
  • @marketwire:  “guidelines that are controversial like religion, politics, etc.”
  • @PRWestcoast:  “Include clear SM policy guidelines on protection of privacy and freedom of information to protect clients, patients, etc”

Q3:  Should a hierarchy of social media positions (CSO, VP) exist or is this limiting employees to become less “social”?

  • @sabrina_scott:  “Titles may be a bit overboard. It may be more helpful to identify certain people as resources that can answer q’s or even teach.”
  • @accuconference:  “I don’t think titles really make a difference in SM. It’s about trust, knowledge, and training.”
  • @marketwire:  “I am seeing more and more companies creating social media positions as high as the ‘VP’ level.”  “I also see more companies putting sm roles into “audience engagement” and “community management” roles.”
  • @paulgailey:  “corp. social media is much more Venn diagramy than tree hierarchical”
  • @amfunderburk1:  “I think it really depends on the size of the company. If it is a smaller company one SM position would work.”

Q4:  How do employees using social media help a company’s external outreach efforts?

  • @djwald:  “This is where co.’s have HUGE potential to leverage their employees SM influence. Give em a voice and see what happens”  “‘Not letting your employees talk about your co. on SM is insanity’ – Gary Vaynerchuck”
  • @sabrina_scott:  “I think they need the right training to be helpful in certain industries/types of business, otherwise they may be a liability.”  “If the company is looking for name recognition/brand awareness though, the more employees the merrier in online discussions…”
  • @clarqui:  “helps to personalize a brand and causes discussion of it”
  • @amfunderburk1:  “If employees are talking about the company on their personal accounts it shows they love what they do! Looks great for comp”
  • @Clouts:  “Companies with a solid culture show it this way and connect regional successes” 

Helpful Links:

Check back here every Friday for chat recaps and transcripts.  Join the Marketwire Facebook page [9] to get #smmeasure weekly topics.  If you have any questions for the community, tweet @smmeasure [10] or @marketwire [11] or send me an email nshin[at]marketwire.com.  Keep track of all the #smmeasure chat recaps [12].

Join the #smmeasure LinkedIn Group [13] to connect with others interested in social media and measurement.  See you next week at 9:00 am PST, 11:00 am CST, 12:00 pm EST, 5:00 pm if you’re in London, and 3:00 am Friday if you’re in Melbourne.

See you next Thursday.

Related posts:

How to Find Work-Life Balance as a Mompreneur
Can the Medium be the Message?
US Government Still Shutdown, But Much Less Social Chatter About It
Why YouTube Might Not Be Your Best Bet for Video

Article printed from @Marketwired Blog: http://blog.marketwired.com

URL to article: http://blog.marketwired.com/2010/11/13/employee-use-of-social-media-and-the-pros-and-cons-of-a-social-media-policy/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://blog.marketwired.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/smmeasure-reflection2.jpg

[2] identifying and quantifying your influencers online: http://blog.marketwired.com/2010/11/05/how-to-identify-and-quantify-your-influencers-online/

[3] @sabrina_scott: http://www.twitter.com/sabrina_scott

[4] #smmeasure chat transcript: http://wthashtag.com/transcript.php?page_id=16193&start_date=2010-11-11&end_date=2010-11-11&export_type=HTML

[5] http://goo.gl/n1h3W: http://goo.gl/n1h3W

[6] @garyvee: http://twitter.com/garyvee

[7] http://bit.ly/bVRUJF: http://bit.ly/bVRUJF

[8] http://socialmediagovernance.com/policies.php: http://socialmediagovernance.com/policies.php

[9] Marketwire Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/marketwire

[10] @smmeasure: http://www.twitter.com/smmeasure

[11] @marketwire: http://www.twitter.com/marketwire

[12] #smmeasure chat recaps: http://blog.marketwired.com/tag/smmeasure/

[13] #smmeasure LinkedIn Group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?mostPopular=&gid=3258194


How to Find Work-Life Balance as a Mompreneur
: http://blog.marketwired.com/2013/07/02/how-to-find-work-life-balance-as-a-mompreneur/


Can the Medium be the Message?
: http://blog.marketwired.com/2012/08/27/medium-the-message/


US Government Still Shutdown, But Much Less Social Chatter About It
: http://blog.marketwired.com/2013/10/17/us-government-still-shutdown-but-much-less-social-chatter-about-it/


Why YouTube Might Not Be Your Best Bet for Video
: http://blog.marketwired.com/2014/11/04/video-facebook-youtube-might-best-bet/

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