As managed service providers (MSPs) continue to develop social media strategies be sure to ask yourself this question: Does your company have written policies for how employees use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media services? Not sure you need such policies? I beg to differ. Here's why.
Let's take a case in point: ESPN has suspended a writer from using Twitter because of a rather questionable tweet. Many media companies are developing social media policies for their staff members. And I think the trend will spill over into the mainstream business world.
Consider a few of the following scenarios:
- Twitter followers: Let's assume your VP of marketing launches his own Twitter account, writes daily about your company's services and milestones, and attracts a big following. Then, the VP moves onto a new company. Who "owns" those Twitter followers: Your company or your former VP? Will the VP essentially take "his" audience with him as he transitions to a new company?
- Business or Pleasure?: Quite a few folks successfully blend business insights with personal updates. Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior has nearly 1.3 million Twitter followers. And her updates range from vacation insights to technical updates. Warrior knows how to blend the two. But do you want your employees blending their personal lives with business updates on their social media accounts?
- When Something Goes Bad: Assume an employee posts business information to his Twitter account that you find in bad taste. But the employee considers the information legitimate and worthwhile. And you have no written policies in place. Do you have the nerve and the leverage to take any action?
- When Something Goes Good: Let's assume your company wins a big business engagement. But your CEO, VP of Marketing, VP of Sales and Communications Director all deliver a slightly different spin on their Twitter accounts. Is there a central Twitter feed that everyone can link to as the official, original information source? Or are you tripping over each employees' efforts?
- Retweets: Whether your employees write positive or negative commentary on Twitter, those tweets echo across the web, landing on third-party sites and dashboards (such as our own MSPtweet and VARtweet). My point: There's no controlling a message once it's out. So, you'd be wise to control the message before it goes viral.
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