Social media policy for organizations

The ubiquity of social media has necessitated organization to adopt a policy for social media usage. Here is an essential set of pointers to help you craft such a policy.
Arun Nair - Author

For organizations, social media has gone well beyond its nascent stages and it wouldn't be an exaggeration if I said that social media is becoming an integral part of the organization. Formulating a social media policy/guideline thus becomes as important to an enterprise to ensure the social media etiquettes, responses are formalized. Besides being a broad set of guidelines to be followed, the policy also acts as a deterrent against indiscretion on social media, for clearly the repercussions can be damaging.

Here is what you need to keep in mind when formulating a social media policy for your organization...

  • Inclusivity

    During the process of drafting, ensure that the process is an enterprise wide activity and not restricted to the traditional custodians of social media (marketing communications, customer service). This gives legitimacy and instant acceptance to the policy and there is a sense of shared ownership.

  • Freedom of speech

    For many organizations that have treaded the very thin line of policing communication, social media is a paradox.

    On one hand the strength of social media lies in its ability to facilitate chatter and co-creation of content and on the other hand it can also be a Pandora's Box of all the nasty things that employees can say about the organization, out in the open. The social media policy must hence reflect the same, and the degree of the freedom (and the granularity) stems from the organization's tolerance to rants.

  • Simplicity and clarity

    Remember that the social media policy is an important policy for employees, as it serves as the guidepost for all their social media communication. Hence, keep the language simple to understand, clear and free of ambiguities. Keep the style of the document conversational, avoid "legalese" as much as possible and strive to keep the policy crisp and to the point.