Knowing who your stakeholders are will help you craft your social media policy, so that it will be very effective and will help you navigate the fast-changing social media landscape.
In a previous post, I talked about why all companies should have a social media policy: Reputation, Privacy/Security, Defining Social Media and Ethics. But included in a social media policy are certain stakeholders, all of whom have a vested interest in the reputation of your company. Each stakeholder greatly contributes to the crafting and execution of your social media policy.
Marketing and Communications – It goes without saying that Marketing and Communications will be part of any social media policy. After all, they are responsible for maintaining both the brand’s reputation and customer relationships. This department will also be very knowledgeable about specific applications/channels – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. that are utilized for external communications.
HR – Previously, I mentioned that all companies have some sort of HR manual that defines rules which employees are expected to abide by, and ethical behavior that is expected of each employee; each employee is an internal, as well as an external, brand ambassador. Employees that behave in a manner that falls short of standards will expect consequences. HR’s involvement in a social media policy will spell out those consequences.
Legal – Legal’s involvement will detail what sort of social media behavior or communications will likely get the company in legal trouble. Having your legal department’s input is vital, as certain communications which you didn’t think may be illegal, or skirting the boundaries of what is illegal, will be detailed, and you will be prepared should you be faced with charges of copyright infringement, libel or any legal issue.
IT – IT will be involved insofar as they are the ones that are responsible for the smooth implementation of software and the daily running of your company’s systems. Although IT may not necessarily give ethical or legal advice, or have a say in who will be using social media, it is wise to include them in your social media policy.
Finally, even though the customer is not included in your social media policy, a social media policy is geared to help maintain good customer relationships. As Dena said, “Same behaviors, new channels.”