Monday, January 26, 2009

Corporate Social Media Management

The more mainstream social media becomes, the more people start coming out of the woodworks who want to use it for corporate purposes or what they interpret as corporate uses. Whether or not they actually know what the purpose of social media is can be another story.

When social media is used for personal use, it's a relatively easy proposition: Create a username, password and agree to the 20-page terms and conditions. That's it. You're responsible for yourself and only yourself.

But when it comes to corporate use of social media, it involves a lot more. A lot more in terms of strategy, policies, guidelines, people, accountability, branding, committees . . . I'm getting a headache again just thinking about it.

Now if you have a team of social media mavens or you're working at a new media firm, it's not that daunting a task. But what if you're the only one in the company or in the minority who actually know what social media is and can use it effectively?

I don't have the full answer to that, but I do have my safety net: CONTROLS. I'm referring to the tools that most social media sites either come with or are available via third parties. Take blogs for example. I can use WordPress and setup a master account, several blogs and several levels of publishing rights, including workflows.

And when it comes to Twitter, I have sites such as Brightkit or EasyTweets to create the same set of controls. By having these management controls it also sets up a safety net or buddy system of sorts in case one person gets hit by a bus.

Not the perfect solution, but at least until more people in the company are up to speed and learn the best ways to consistently use social media, you can monitor how staff are using it. And more importantly you're able to ensure your brand isn't harmed in the process.

It's "social" media so it's OK if big brother is watching.


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