I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of CIOs from The Circuit CIO circle about social media. It was a very interesting discussion, as CIOs have some specific concerns about social media for their organizations.
Some of the key take-aways that I got from the presentation were:
- Blocking Social Media Sites – is a big decision, but is often made quickly and without a lot of thought. While it can become a time drain for employees, so can the phone or water cooler. Depending on your organization and your employees, it may or may not be appropriate to block social sites in the work place. Everyone needs down time and to periodically dis-engage from their work – if it doesn’t show up in performance, it is truly an issue?
- Social Media Policy – Organizations need to develop strong social media policies for their organizations. The policy should cover three areas:
- 1 – What is and isn’t appropriate use in the work place – What is the expectation for social media usage while at work? What will and will not be tolerated?
- 2 -How should employees reference the company on their personal social sites – this requires both training and policy. What can your employees say or not say? Can you empower them to be your biggest advocates? Who should they refer questions/comments about the company to? How should they reference their employment? What disclosures do they need?
- 3) – Who internally “owns” social media for your organization – The reality is that people will probably reference your company in the social space. Who is going to represent your organization in the social space? They should have responsibility to monitor and respond on behalf of the organization.
Social Media can be your biggest asset or your biggest nightmare. The reality is that social media is big and growing right now and you can’t afford to ignore it. If you empower your employees to advocate on your behalf within their social circles you can see great returns. At the same time, you need to provide employees with the guidelines and tools they need to be successful.
Fish where the Fish are.
Is social media a fad? Will it be here forever?
I don’t have a crystal ball, but social media is just a new medium for an old marketing principle – word of mouth. The reality is that people have always and will always talk to people about companies. Social Media is just the new way that they do it.
While specific sites may not be around forever (a few years ago we would have talked about MySpace), the basic human need to discuss, share and communicate will. The fish are in social media sites today (like Facebook and Twitter).
If you build a fishing rod and throw it in the water today, you may need to move upstream when the fish move, and you may even have to change your bait, but at least you already know how to fish and you have the pole. Would you rather change bait and locations, or not fish at all?