You Need a Social Media Policy. No, Really, You Do

AdvertisingAge columnist B.L. Ochman has little patience with companies that are still afraid of jumping into social media.

That’s because most of the reasons cited by reluctant companies are lame. Ochman takes apart the half-dozen dumbest excuses in her column. Tops on her list is:

Employees will waste time with social media.

Yes, yes they will. Just as they waste time surfing the Internet, IMing, daydreaming, talking about Monday Night Football and complaining about boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives, bosses and neighbors. But at least there’s an upside to social media and accessing the vast amount of information on the Internet.

Other reasons Ochman cites are brand-control issues, costs and fear of being sued or giving away proprietary information.

Well, why don’t we all just bury our heads in the sand and wait for this social media and Internet “fad” to pass? Then we can all go back to banging on IBM Selectrics and using couriers. It can be just like an episode of Mad Men.

Or better yet, as Ochman suggests, how about creating a social media policy that works for your organization so you can effectively leverage this powerful tool?

If you don’t know where to begin, I found an excellent website (hat tip to social media marketing consultant Paul Gillin) called Social Media Governance whose creator, author Chris Boudreaux, has built a database of social media policies from nearly 100 organizations across numerous industries.

Among the companies whose social media policies are available on the site are, the BBC, Dell, Dow Jones, Gartner, Microsoft, the Smithsonian Institution, the U.S. Air Force, Wal-Mart and Yahoo!

So if your organization is fretting about social media and you want to get them into the modern age, show the top brass this site. And if your company already has a social media policy and wants to show it to the world, it can submit that policy for inclusion in the Social Media Governance database.