How Far Would You Go to Control Employee Social Media Use?

Enforcing Social Media Compliance

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CareerBuilder released some survey findings this week, indicating that over a third of employers in the U.S. are using social media to promote their company, but it’s employee use that still has some businesses worried.

A lot of companies are afraid to let their employees use social media freely, but they’re also afraid not to. On the one hand, there are obvious reputation and brand issues that could come up from irresponsible employees social media use, but on the flipside, some of those issues can be avoided with responsible employee social media use. Of course there are many other benefits as well.

This week, FaceTime Communications introduced a new tool called Socialite, which is a security management and compliance solution for social networks. Available in Software-as-a-service form or as on premises solution, its aim is to give companies control over social media features and communications for users on corporate networks.

A rep for the company says key benefits include the ability to: track users across multiple social media platforms; prevent data from leaving the company, either maliciously or inadvertently; empower IT admin to manage access to Facebook and its thousands of “applets” by category or individual application; manage access to features (ie, who can read, like, comment upon or access 95 distinct features on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter); control Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, so content is required to be pre-approved by corporate communications or other third party; empower IT admin to capture all posts, messages and commentary in context; and export to an archive of choice for eDiscovery.

Social Network Compliance "Organizations in regulated industries are faced with the need to manage the features used and content posted on social networks in order to protect themselves and their customers," said Erin Traudt, Research Director, Enterprise Collaboration and Social Solutions for IDC. "FaceTime’s heritage in the IM and Unified Communications markets should play well as communications move into the social arena, but still require security and compliance controls."

A lot of companies are simply creating social media policies and hoping employees abide. There’s no telling how often or how strictly these are actually enforced. I would guess that a lot of infractions get overlooked until they cause real damage.

Earlier this month, Megan C. Winter with law firm Fisher & Phillips LLP, suggested these 10 tips for employers who want to be proactive about employee issues arising out of social media:

1.  Get familiar with Facebook, LinkedIn or other sites that are popular with your employees.
2. Update current company policies.
3. Consider whether your company environment needs a specific social media policy.
4. Prohibit use of the employee’s company e-mail address.
5. Discourage your managers from "friending" their subordinate employees.
6. Immediately get a copy of any post that is the subject of a complaint.
7. Only use social media for employment screening in a consistent way.
8. Warn managers to follow standard policies for recommendations on LinkedIn or other professional sites.
9. Be aware of possible protected, concerted activity.
10. Above all, use common sense. 

Mashable posted another 10 tips for social media policies about a year ago, but they’re still relevant today:

1. Introduce the purpose of social media
2. Be responsible for what you write
3. Be authentic
4. Consider your audience
5. Exercise good judgment
6. Understand the concept of community
7. Respect copyrights and fair use
8. Remember to protect confidential & proprietary info
9. Bring value
10. Productivity matters

It will be interesting to see if more services like FaceTime’s start being used in corporations as time goes on and social media continues to become more unavoidable.

Would you use monitoring software to track employee social media use? Do you already? Let us know.

How Far Would You Go to Control Employee Social Media Use?
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  • http://www.unique-seo-services.com freelance seo

    some companies allow employees to use socail media networks for business promotion. But due to company security policies, reputed business organisations restrict employees to use social media networks to promote their companeis. it is true that social media will be a viral marketing tool for bussiness marketers to promote products and online branding.

  • http://www.asianfashion4u.com wholesale korean fashion

    How Far Will Employers Go to Control Employee Social Media Use?
    That is an interseting topic.

    • Guest01

      Yes that’s a good one … the employees sometimes abuse with those social media apps. however, social media are for entertainment and as it is, those social media sites just sells entertainment products such as cosmetics, music, movies, night life clubs and similars.

      So for me social media are a distracting issue, and not for promoting my business because my business do not requires social media promotion … so when my employees said that we have to use Facebook and others to promote sells I said ok lets do it …. but when I dicovered that my employees fooled me …

      Social Media are for entertainment, not for business, at leats not for a general industry.

  • http://www.EZopolis.com EZopolis Blank Apparel

    Our employees use Social Networking and Media to promote our blank apparel, however using such services for personal use is not allowed while on the clock. This subject falls into the category as receiving personal phone calls while on the clock. So for us it’s not that big of an issue at this time.

  • http://www.infowars.com hope

    BILDERBERG GROUP, to shed some light on the subject…….

    Haven’t you had enough of all this bombardment of everyone peaking into your underwear everywhere you go? Have you had enough? Isn’t it time all this SPYING STOPS!!!

    You can’t avoid it these days, everyone from Google, to Facebook is spying on you. You Government has their own crew WATCHING EVERY MOVE YOU MAKE. They don’t physically watch each person, but when the Government wants to set you up, couldn’t they just READ ALL YOUR EMAILS, SCAN YOUR PHONE CALLS and then try to find one little thing and then send you to the Detention Camp!?

    You do KNOW that the PATRIOT ACT was ABOLISHED, You know that, RIGHT!? You are less powerful than you ever could imagine, go look up BILDERBERG GROUP, to shed some light on the subject…….

  • http://www.snerdey.com Snerdey

    As with any project assigned to the staff members you’ll want to have some training for both the biz and the employee to better understand the overall goals, tone, direction. Most importantly what not to do with the social media tool.

    Companies have people taking calls, meeting clients in person, emails .. this is just another tool but the only difference is they are not talking to one client.

    I’d also suggest daily, weekly meetings to go over the results etc.. But, remote monitor monitoring can’t hurt to keep it policed.

    Have a great day!

    Follow me on Twitter.

  • http://www.the-system.org Social Media Marketing System

    The majority of companies have totally underestimated the power that their workforce presents them. Corporate blogging for example if done correctly under controls, can boost a companies website to the top of the Search Engine rankings.
    Similarly why pay thousands every month to an SEO company when you can get all your employees to do it for next to nothing!
    Likewise get your workers to use your company facebook pages while they are at work!
    Just make sure that whatever the workers are doing on-line, that they include a link back to your company website!

  • http://www.vocationvillage.com Workplace Psychologist

    Others have commented on the business wisdom of ensuring employees follow smart strategies about promoting the organizational brand. I am interested in the retention implications for companies that fall on a continuum of trust about personal use of social media during the work day. I predict that the best employees will gravitate toward employers who are the most trusting, just as has happened with policies regarding flexible scheduling. Because social media is increasingly woven into the fabric of every day life, employers who forbid personal use will start to seem very out of touch. The only employees who will be interested in rigid workplaces will be the ones who aren’t marketable enough to find better jobs.

  • http://www.lubedealer.com/hiebert R. Hiebert

    If I were an employer I would give my employees incentives to use social media to make sales and promote the company. In other words, the more sales and new account using social media, more bonus and/or time off. If you’re an employee ask your boss if he’s interested in this idea. If he likes it, who knows where it could lead.

  • http://christianityetc.org Bob

    Since “word of mouth” was the first media used to promote anything, I think that it is going to be very difficult to control its use, particularly since the tools for its use have been made so simple and extensive. At no time in history has the words of so many people been available to the world as is now our communication situation, and thousands of new people are getting involved in the process every day. To silence or to control many in such a situation cannot probably be effectively done.

  • http://www.trafficfundi.com/ Trafficfundi SEO South Africa

    This is interesting…
    I wonder how many companies % wise actually block social media usage?

  • http://bizmd.blogspot.com Chris

    It’s an evolving wired world and ever-changing social community, and the tools that we tentatively use today will be the foundation of an entirely new set tomorrow. A business owner or manager has to be very careful both with traditional and leading edge methods of communication.

    I talk about this and other topics valuable to the modern business leader on the Ingenious Business blog at http://bizmd.blogspot.com. Check it out.


  • http://aurumwriters.com Freelance article writer

    we all need to be more responsible and understand our duties instead of putting bans and restrictions. Today is the age of social media where we can’t literally restrict as most of the time we need to promote our business using such services. Responsible use is key here, in my eyes!

  • http://www.pdfpal.org Hero Keinsten

    Some of the wealthiest and most fulfilled people I know are senior employees. They enjoy the status of bring at the top of their chosen field and only got there because they joined and developed an existing organisation. I found some good articles about employee manual at pdfpal.org.

  • http://www.artofstorytellingshow.com Storytelling

    In my own professional practice I struggle with the rabbit hole of the internet – for get even the social media angle – there are so man hours in the day. In the end it’s still about building something and rarely have I seen Social Media help with that – getting the word out YES – but creating the business no – in fact social media is a real distraction.

  • http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk gtwcmt

    Paranoia in business, well we have heard the story of people setting up hate groups about certain products and companies. We are also aware that companies setup applications and groups on social networking websites.

    So to summerise this; Business want to control the freedom of speech of people and their employess, when something bad is said about them, they want it removed so that they can give a clean image no matter if it true or not. I think this just comes under controlled marketing, nothing new there.
    As you may have noticed companies have changed their marketing tactics over the decades and now paint more of a false image than ever before.

    if something bad happens, its going to happen regardless of where it comes from or if they have limited control.

  • http://business-website.webs.com/mobilemarketing.htm Mohann

    If companies are getting worried, it is their foolishness. You can’t prevent people from hopping from site to site (including porn sites!). Companies want the cake and eat it too. They should ask only their PR guys to get involved in social media officially to promote the company. Others may do at their own risk.

    The basic problem is that people are wasting a lot of time during office hours. Recently, I came across a blog written by a well-known internet marketer where he mentioned how he was working for only an hour and doing his own home business promotion online for seven hours daily!

  • http://www.plutocrazy.com Len

    Due to the nature of my business, I encourage my staff to use every available social network while on the job. Each have TweetDeck on their desktops running a half dozen, synced, social networks at once. As well, all have company hosted blogs they can use anytime to post whatever they want (with reason), even while on the clock.

    Although I’m in my mid 50s, most of my staff are under 25. This age group consider social networking to be the equivalent of my generation’s water cooler gossip sessions. An employer needs to realize that times and technology change but employees will always spend time to socialize. So instead of trying to stem the tide, embrace it and find ways to channel it’s use towards productivity. What I’ve done is focused what many employers consider a non productive pastime into a tool for creating awareness of my company, it’s services and it’s people, and it’s working very well.

    I also offer employees flexible hours, no dress code, permit dogs to be brought to the office, and have accounts at most area restaurant for staff working late to order in from or eat at. Again, my business differs from most in that work is tasked, so it’s not necessary anyone punch a clock as long as what needs to get done, gets done within the timetable set.

    I doubt my business model would work for everyone, but I have a steady stream of emailed resumes using the local university and college email servers. This affords me first pick of some very talented applicants. I ask every interviewee why they would want to work for me and all say they know someone I employ or had, and feel the work environment would suit them more than any other employment opportunities… and these talented kids have choices for sure, even in this job market. So I have no plans to rock a boat that is sailing straight and true towards my goal, and have a team now working on a next generation social networking service.


  • http://www.bikeeurope.org/ Bikes Europe

    Usually employees can lose a lot of time on the social web sites like face book and similar.
    Actually I thing this web sites are NO 1 time consumers and the access to this web sites need to be highly restricted.

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