Ten Social Media Law and Governance Tips for Social Business

Introducing the topic of “Social Media Governance,” marketing strategist and attorney Glen Gilmore explained, “Governance is about how a company establishes and sustains social networking best practices by integrating social media into its corporate culture. It’s the evolution of ‘social media’ into ‘social business’.” Ever the attorney, Gilmore added his own disclaimer: “Nothing in this post should be considered legal advice as that would require a consultation with an attorney from your own jurisdiction. These ten tips are should help companies create sustainable best practices in new media marketing.”

1. Create a Governance Team.

2012 should be the year in which business gets serious about social media governance, integrating social business into corporate culture.

Your governance team should reflect a cross section of your organization and it should become a center of excellence for your business. Silos do not work.

A governance team should bring together diverse talent, including marketing, customer service, IT, legal, and human relations, to share in learning, establish best practices, and create benchmarks for excellence, while humanizing your brand and driving business results.

2. Establish/Update A Social Media Policy.

If your organization doesn’t have a social networking policy, you are courting disaster as you are inviting even a single employee to have the power to redefine your brand in one inadvertent or ill-conceived post.

If, on the other hand, your organization was an early adopter of new media (or at least an early adopter of a social media policy!), it is likely time to update your policy. In the past year, the National Labor Relations Board has rendered over a hundred decisions touching on the topic of employee use of social media, with many of the Board’s actions prompted by overly broad social networking policies that were deemed to having a “chilling effect” on employee protected speed.

The law is finally catching up to the implications of the huge amount of communication, marketing and conversation taking place on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, vlogs, etc. Your policy and guidelines should reflect those changes and clarifications.

An abundance of model policies exists online. Be mindful that some of the policies you may find online may also be in need of updating or just plain wrong. You need to invest in getting your policy right and the proper policy for your organization may vary immensely depending on they type of organization you are and the degree of existing regulatory guidelines you must follow.

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