Thursday, January 29, 2015

8 Reasons Your Organization MUST Have A Social Media Policy

Should your organization have a social media policy?
Social media policies at organizations large and small were, as recently as 2012, quite rare. Like telephone, personal computer and email policies of earlier generations they were put in place to guide everyone in the organization through the use of a new technology.

But just as with those earlier policies some businesses and other organizations held out – refusing to commit the time to develop a policy. And just like those earlier instances some came to regret their tardiness. 

What percentage of businesses worldwide now have policies? According to a 2014 survey by international law firm Proskauer 79 percent of businesses have social media policies … that means 21 percent of businesses have yet to wake up to the need for one.

Some organizations that do have policies have inadequate or outdated policies.

So what should a good, current social media policy do?

8 Musts For a Social Media Policy

1. Explain the new workplace reality: Many, if not most, employees consider their private and work lives separate, but social media has effectively erased that distinction. No matter how “walled-off” an individual’s social accounts may seem to be ultimately someone, somewhere will tie that person to your organization. Therefore they need to understand that this means anything they post on social media or elsewhere online may reflect on them and the company.

2. Protect your organization’s reputation: A good social media policy spells out what is and is not appropriate for employees to post about their company on social networks. Generally, the policy will state that employees shouldn't write anything they wouldn’t want splashed across the public media. This section may include the consequences of posting unflattering information about the organization. It will also remind employees that anything posted online – even posts marked as private – can, and will, be used against them and their employer.

3. Raise awareness of your organization and what it does: The best social media policies have more "dos" than "don’ts. " They have clear guidelines to help employees understand ways they can use social media to help achieve business goals. They also help employees reflect organizational values in their online behavior and explain the best kind of material to share on social media

4. Outline what's considered confidential or private information: Employees appreciate having clear guidelines about what the organization considers public information about its business and its employees. This section will also describe the consequences for sharing company secrets on social media.

5. Spell out who in the organization is the official voice: Employees need to know who they should refer online questions about your organization to, so they don’t answer themselves. This section designates a company spokesperson and the circumstances under which he or she must be the person answering questions on social media.

6. Discuss the proper way to engage with others online: It may seem like stating the obvious but this section reminds employees that they should be polite and agreeable. If they must disagree with someone they should agree to disagree with others on social media because disagreements can quickly blow up and go viral

7. Educate and train employees: Show them what good social media can do for the organization … and the bad. Use real-life examples to show them what happens when people don’t follow the rules and/or don’t use common sense. This is the ounce of prevention that can get them to think before they click.

8. Remove any confusion about legal issues: Clearly spell out which social media use in the workplace is acceptable and which is not. Explain the consequences of deviating from the rules and if that includes the “up to and including termination” language say it here. This is no time for equivocation.

An up-to-date and active social media policy is as essential today as telephone and personal computer policies were in earlier times. Until people have a lot of experience in social media they are going to make mistakes unless they get good guidance ... the kind of guidance social media policies provide.

What do you think? Is the social media policy where you work up to date and effective?

From Fast Company: Corporate Social Media Policies: The Good, the Mediocre, and the Ugly
From Fast Company: More Social Media Policies: LA Times, Harvard Law, Microsoft and Cisco
Entrepreneur magazine video hangout: Crafting Your Social Media Policy - What Experts Advise
Free Download: Employee Social Media Policy Template

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Does Facebook’s anti-fake news approach create a new problem?

Social media still has a bit of a reputation as the Wild West of the communications world.

Facebook has added the ability to tag a post as fake newsSo Facebook’s recent announcement that it would empower users to flag hoax news seemed like a step in the right direction.

In a post on its blog Facebook said the new feature would help it police the proliferation of fake news making its way onto the platform.

But like most things on Facebook, how you mark a post as fake is complicated:
  • First you go to the top-right corner of a post and select "I don’t like this post."
  • That brings up a window titled "Help Us Understand What's Happening."
  • Then you select "I think it shouldn't be on Facebook."
  • That brings up several choices including "It's a false news story."
If enough people flag a piece of content as a hoax Facebook’s algorithm will tag it as such and save the rest of us from wondering if it's real or not.

So this would all seem to be a good thing, right? As the Washington Post wondered: Did Facebook just kill the Web’s burgeoning fake-news industry? 

But what about abuse of this system? You need only look back to November to see how it could be abused.

It happened when The New York Times was reporting on Florida State University football players seemingly getting preferential treatment when local police ticketed them. When the Times’ official Twitter account tweeted out a link to the story, according to a report in USA Today, the tweet was quickly marked as spam.

The story says it is believed many FSU fans tagged the tweet as spam so that it would disappear from Twitter.

Upon being contacted by Times staffers Twitter restored the tweet, but not before hundreds, if not thousands of users, had seen it marked as spam.

So, could this happen on Facebook? Could hundreds or thousands of advocates for some cause mark a legitimate post as a hoax and have it flagged as such? Of course.

How do Facebook, Twitter and other social networks fight this virtual whack-a-mole approach to dealing with hoaxes? They have to have humans at the controls. No algorithm on its own can solve this problem.

So, what do you think? Will Facebook’s new ability to flag news items as fake be abused? Will it create other problems?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Social Media 2015: 10 Perspectives

Social media saw some big shifts in 2014, but what will 2015 bring? 

The only thing that is certain is that change will continue and at least one new network will come along and surprise everyone with how quickly it gets broadly adopted. In the meantime here are … 

10 Views of What 2015 Will Bring in Social Media

What will 2015 hold for social media? A roundup of predictions
Heidi Cohen (@heidicohen on Twitter) of Heidi Cohen’s Actionable Marketing Guide says in 2015 Facebook will retain its social media marketing dominance, but continue to lose its key demographic, namely teens and twentysomethings. Among her other predictions: Amazon will rock social commerce, Twitter will continue to lose market share and importance, and Instagram and Pinterest will keep growing in importance. Read more at: 2015 Social Media Predictions: 10 Forecasts You Need.

Neal Schaffer (@NealSchaffer on Twitter) of Maximize Social Business gathered the opinions of 11 social media CEOS into a SlideShare presentation. Among the more interesting predictions are that "…schools will recognize social media as an asset, rather than a liability" (from Ryan Holmes, CEO at Hootsuite) and "Social Media Marketers are being phased out in favor of Community Managers that understand social media in context of a broader ecosystem. " Read more at: 11 Social Media Predictions for 2015

Stephanie Frasco (@StephanieFrasco on Twitter) writes that in 2015 Facebook will see a lot more "pay to play" … i.e. more advertising. As brands try to stand out on the crowded platform they will need to spend more money to do so. She also says: Hashtags will have a heyday, consumers will seek more online privacy, online influencers will be more important than ever for brands and everyone’s decreasing attention spans means anyone on social media must use more and better visuals. Read more at: 15 Digital Marketing & Social Media Trends That Will Shape 2015.

Angela Hausman (@MarketingLetter on Twitter), an Associate Professor of Marketing at Howard University, writing for Business 2 Community says big trends in 2015 will include brands merging the notion of a customer journey with content marketing, brands understanding the value of building social media community and increase in paid advertising in social. Other things she notes include mobile finally living up to its potential and visuals dominating social networks even more. Read more at: 5 Megatrends: Social Media Predictions For 2015.

Rob Nightingale (@robnights on Twitter) writing for says the next year in social media will see more video, more paid posts, more use of big data and even more use of mobile. It will also see hashtagging become more mainstream and LinkedIn having a renaissance… at last. Read more at: Social Media In 2015, Predictions and Potential.

Adele Halsall is the lead writer and researcher at Customer Service Guru (@gurucustomers on Twitter), a customer service blog based in Britain, predicts a rise in interest-based, not people-based, social networks. "Newer platforms like Foodie, Fitocracy and PlantWorking are geared towards individual audiences rather than taking a ‘everything, everyone, everywhere’ approach," she says in a guest post on the Jeff Bullas’ blog. She also predicts mobile will continue to grow as a priority for brands, social shopping will become far more common and vlogging (video blogging) will become an increasingly common advertising channel for brands. Read more at: The 7 Top Social Media Trends That Will Impact Your Marketing In 2015

Bill Sussman (@BillGSussman on Twitter) CEO of Collective Bias, a publisher of user-generated content, writing for Entrepreneur magazine says 2015 will see a rise in location-based mobile marketing along with personalized media. It will also see the aligning of SEO and social media strategies and marketers creating their own newsrooms to cut through content clutter. Read more at: 3 Social-Marketing Predictions for 2015.

Elena Nicosia (@Numerounoweb on Twitter) is Project Manager at Numero Uno Web Solutions and in writing for Business 2 Community predicts that consuming information on smartphones and tablets will really take off in 2015. She says trends by definition are fleeting, but "the one bet you can bank on in 2015 is that social media will officially become the most important tool for marketers and advertisers." Read more at: Social Media Trends Set To Dominate 2015.

Kimberlee Morrison (@KymleeIsAwesome on Twitter) a writer and editor with the Freedom Writers Foundation writing for Social Times gathered some expert opinions and says 2015 will bring – Apple’s power as a social identity manager will increase while Yahoo’s will continue to decline, so-called native advertising will crease on social media, niche networks will continue to grow and the full power of YouTube will finally be realized and utilized by marketers. Read more at: 10 Social Media Predictions for 2015

My 5 Predictions:
  • Niche social networks will continue to gain strength – the days of the one network for everything are numbered. Therefore … 
  • Facebook’s dominance will begin to show more (and bigger) cracks 
  • Twitter, sadly, will continue to struggle to grow
  • Linkedin will build on its 2014 success and become a dominant network
  • Social media will continued to be "normalized" as a set of communication channels 

What do you think 2015 holds for social media?