You Don’t Need A Social Media Policy

by Etienne Besson on 22 March 2012

in My musings

This article will be short. I don’t think that you need a social media policy. And maybe you should first ask yourself why you think that you need one or revise your existing personnel policies.

Of course we could talk for hours about the necessity of policies. But today I’d rather tell you why I think that a social media policy isn’t necessary.

Social Media Is Already Covered

Your company certainly has policies that already cover how employees should communicate internally and externally. If not, then you should first fix the existing policies before creating an additional one.

And if you already have solid policies in place, you could always add something like “this also applies to Internet communication including all social media channels”.

Better Not Use Social Media At All

Now this is a completely different situation. But can you remember how companies used to worry about their employees abusing email for brainlessly or even maliciously distributing confidential information all over the place?

In the meantime we realized that just because employees have the technical means for potential mayhem, most of them will still behave responsibly.

I know that many disagree with me, but I’m convinced that in a couple of years prohibiting your employees from using social media will seem just as weird as not allowing them to use email today.

What If Somebody Misbehaves?

If you want something for your lawyers in case of trouble, then a policy might be what you need. Although the law, at least in Switzerland, already covers this.

And please don’t confuse a policy with training or guidelines. After all, this kind of policy is not meant to help your employees, but rather to protect you from them.

We Need To Train Our Employees

Training is great as it empowers your people to do things or do them better.

But nobody was ever “trained” by a policy. Instead, explain to your staff how social media works, what the opportunities and threats are and provide them with useful and actionable guidelines.

Be A Grown Up

This is nothing new and here’s a tweet by Bill Boorman (@BillBoorman) from December 2010:

My social media policy: Be a grown up!

Makes sense, don’t you agree?


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