Wanted: Social Media Policy

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Many, if not most, brands today are grappling with the social Web. Some insights can be found in Digital Brand Expressions’ new study on companies’ use of (and wish list for) social media.

Surveying executives from 100 companies, the market researcher found that while 78% of respondents’ companies are actively using social media, although only 41% reported that these activities are executed through a corporate social media plan.

As for companies with a social media plan in place, 94% include marketing within the plan, but only 16% include human resources or recruiting activities. Companies without strategic plans think it’s important to create one, and list allocating resources for social marketing as their top priority.

The confusion should come as no surprise. As last week’s Corporate Social Media Summit in New York indicated, companies and brands are testing a variety of approaches, from in-house to agency to a mixture of both, with social media policies as varied as the companies themselves.[more]

Digital Brand Expressions CEO Veronica Fielding commented, “It’s fairly well established that social media is a channel that businesses must participate in, leaving CEOs with the new challenge of planning and implementing brand aligned initiatives enterprise-wide. This leaves the majority of organizations exposed to problems arising from employees saying the wrong things in the wrong ways to the wrong people at the wrong time.”

This leaves a majority of companies “shooting from the hip, with no cohesive game plan or measurement systems in place. Even among those with a plan, few have written policies and communications protocols in place, leaving the organization exposed to problems arising out of employees communicating in ways that inadvertently hurt — rather than help — their company brands.” 

A lack of clear internal accountability leaves many companies in confusion: 74% of respondents think marketing departments should be responsible for creation and maintenance of strategic social media plans; while 51% said corporate communications teams should have that charge; and 28% said executive teams should lead all social efforts.

Seems like social media has yet to be socialized in mainstream corporate America.

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