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Social Media

Is A Social Media Policy Necessary?

By: Kimberley Dart

This article first appeared in my March 2012 newsletter.

 

I love social media.  I can't think of the last time when a day went by that I didn't connect with my friends on Facebook, my colleagues on LinkedIn, or with complete strangers on Twitter (recently I've become quite fond of Pinterest).  Even so, I still believe that there's a time and a place to use social media.

As our corporate cultures evolve to become more social media friendly, more and more companies are using Facebook as a marketing tool.  Recruiters often use LinkedIn to source for passive candidates, and many service companies even hire staff whose job it is to watch Twitter for any offensive "tweets" about their company.  So how do you draw the line on what is acceptable business use and what is not?

Think about when your employees are using social media - for example, is it acceptable to update your Facebook status during your lunch break, or not at all during working hours? 

Is it considered work-related to connect with a supplier or client on LinkedIn?

How much time are your employees spending on the Internet for personal use?

Is social media / Internet use only a problem if the work isn't getting done?

The decision on whether or not to create a social media policy is yours to make.  Here is an article that notes 5 Noteworthy Examples of Social Media Policies

Here is another article on 5 Social Media Policy Mistakes to Avoid

And here's one more link from About.com on How to Create a Social Media Policy.

Personally I think that it's understandable to expect that some time is going to be wasted at work by employees.  That time may be spent on social media sites or it may be spent visiting with coworkers at the water cooler.  Having a strict "no social media" policy will probably not be effective as most people now have smart phones and can easily check their friends Facebook statuses from there.

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