Social media is a disruptive technology. It bears tremendous opportunities but it also disrupts the way people work, comunicate and connect.
Danna Vetter, VP of Consumer Strategies at ARAMARK wrote a brilliant piece on BrianSolis.com titled, “They All Laughed: The Path to Becoming a Social Business.”
It’s about how her own company resisted social media and the path they eventuallyÂ took to becoming a social business. She explains why people thought it was a laughable idea:
The standard -
â€œWe canâ€™t open ourselves up to this kind of risk.â€
The mean -
â€œYouâ€™re just trying to manipulate company perception.â€
The ridiculous â€“
â€œNo one wants to read tweets about hot dogs.â€
Sound familiar? Clearly healthcare is not the only space where social media has challenged corporate cultures and status quos. In the case of ARAMARK they were hell-bent onÂ NOT adapting to social media, but rather on adapting social media to ARAMARK.
Organizations that resist social media are afraid that the technology involved is too disruptive to control. They are right. But the problem is that consumerÂ expectations have changed drastically and providing for their needs in this digital age requires a concerted social media effort.
For leaders who are looking for a way to sort this out, there is an interesting report by Jeremiah Owyang (principal of Altimeter Group) which discusses (among other things) 4 types of social media policies that protect not only the organization, but employees and users as well. Here they are:
#1. Social Media Policy
This policy is crafted for the organization as a whole and defines how corporate uses social media and how employees can participate e.g.Â Ohio State University Medical Center Philosophy on Social Media.
#2. Disclosure/Ethics Policy
This policy is created for employees to address issues surrounding disclosure and confidentiality. Also addresses questions such as, if employees are not allowed to publish content on corporate accounts, can they use their personal profiles to represent the organization? e.g. Mayo Clinic’s Guidelines for Employees.
#3. Community Policy
This policy is for customers and prospects. It protects social media communities from abuse, and guides users towards common objectives. When crafting a community policy focus on desired behaviors rather than creating a long list of behavior you do not want. A community policy should be linked to the social media policy.e.g. University of Maryland Medical Center Comments Policy.
This policy is intended for users who have privacy concerns. It defines how organizations will use data gathered from social channels and if or how that data will be shared.e.g. Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles – Share Your Story: Use and Access Policy.
Over to you: Am I over-simplifying this? Do you think creating various social media policies is enough to avert the potential risks that come with embracing disruptive technologies?