One of the biggest questions I get from fitness industry leaders including YMCA executives and health club managers and owners is this: "Can We Control How Our Employees Use Social Media and How Do We Do It ?" The main point of the question is concern over what an employee might do given how that could reflect on the business.
its a good question and it really involves a few issues rolled into one.
The first is this: "What is your social media strategy?;
The second is, "What is your culture?"; and
The third question is, "Where is your business located?"
Many organization's don't really have a clear social media strategy and until one is established how you might benefit from or be harmed by employees participation in the strategy will be unclear. You need a plan with defined outcomes. If your employees are very clear about what your brand represents and how you want and need to communicate that to the world, implementing an integrated policy around that strategy is much easier (see my post on the transformation of customers and organizations - Empowered).
The first point closely relates to the second of culture. How much control do you really want to have ? Some organizations are far more controlling than others. They might chose to govern and control ALL content regarding their business in the social space. While this often is very short cited and limits the upside of social media, it would have a significant implication on the rules. Some organizations have more open cultures. I've actually seen a social media policy for employees that simply said, ""Be on brand, be interesting".There isn't a cookie cutter answer and what is even more challenging is that good social media strategy requires continual learning, so policy and practice is going to change over time. You need flexibility.
Finally, the legal rules on employment policies vary from state to state. You will need to reference your legal counsel to take a look at the policy initiatives you have to confirm they are enforcable and act in tandem with your overall employment policy practices.
So tell me, Bryan O'Rourke, does your organization have a social media policy ? What is your culture like and how has social media played into it ? Watch the video below.