When it comes to discussing the role of social media in large enterprises, many HR managers today remain oddly fixated on creating and enforcing social media policies and determining the right sorts of internal penal codes for violations. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of punitive policies that seem to be designed specifically to catch people doing something that people who created the policy do not approve of.
The irony, of course, is that the vast majority of people who work in these organizations will never do anything on social media that will reflect poorly on the company. Yet companies feel compelled to spend hundreds of hours crafting and rolling out more policies. Which is why I found it refreshing when I came across this webinar from the Altimeter Group, “Building a Corporate Media Education Program.” The message of the webinar is not about establishing and enforcing a policy — it’s much more about educating employees in large enterprises about the benefits and proper ways to use social media.
Here are three takeaways from the webinar worth sharing:
1. Teach Good Judgment
The first point is about the importance of an education program to develop knowledge and skills about the positive use of social media. It is far better is help people use good judgment in how to do something than it is to tell people what they are forbidden to do. As has been said, “Trust is cheaper than control.”
2. Develop Your Social Media Stars
Part of any social media training program should be about finding employees who are experienced in social media to help promote its adoption throughout the company. These advocates can be taught how to engage other employees in social and collaborative behaviors to their benefit. This was the approach that the Pepperdine University Business School took when it launched Yammer. It enlisted early adopter students to promote use among all students. It worked in terms of high participation rates and students saying they felt a much higher connection with other students.
3. Create Business Value
The use of social media in enterprises can have enormous business benefits, and a good social media education program can cover these benefits. One example is the use of internal blogging to write about projects employees are working on. If customer service employees could read internal blog posts about product features that marketing is working on, customer service could comment in customer calls they take every day.This could vastly improve the products.
One overlooked benefit of a social media education program is that your employees will learn about the many ways their work can improve as a result of using social media. Who knows? They might also learn that social media does not just mean using Facebook. Does your company have a social media education program or a social media policy? How does it impact your personal use of social media and your opinion of your employer?