Organizations have a lot to consider once they decide they want to jump into social networks and social media. There are many opportunities to slide off the rails, or worse, to let the effort fall into disarray. Here are some thoughts based on a question I received recently in an e-mail about guidelines, a toolbox, and how to grow a community.
First, know what the intent of your social media and networks will be. Are you hoping to improve awareness and open communication about your organization? Are you looking to reach new markets and open channels for sales or membership or market adoption? Are you hoping to use these tools as collaboration platforms? Are you making informational products? Are you just virtualizing your watercooler?
Knowing your intent drives which path you take.
Companies and organizations are most worried about how blogs and podcasts and wikis will be used. The truth is, most employee codes of conduct cover this related to e-mail use. It's not much different. Don't add another thousand rules about what should go on within the social networks, except insofar as what differences come with the medium. For example, don't bury people in what not to say. If you're a publicly traded company, have your bloggers add a disclaimer (e.g., "strictly my opinion"), remind them about the e-mail policy, and let it go.
If I were launching a social ...