John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker LLC
Franklin, TN

Even if you’re not making much use of social media, you can bet your employees are.  Maybe it’s time to think about how that usage can impact you, and your practice.

For insight into the developing area of social media policy in business, we reached out to Chris Boudreaux.  Chris runs a website titled Social Media Governance where he blogs about the unique issues that arise at the intersection of business and social media.

Borrowman: Your website includes a database of social media policies that were developed by a variety of large companies and governments.  Would a leader in a much smaller business like a BV practice really need to have something that in-depth?

Boudreaux:  Not at all.  The degree of formality of any policy varies across organizations.  The point of any policy that addresses social media is to make sure that the folks on your team understand what’s okay and what’s not.

Someone who has only a few employees may not need a big policy like some on the site. But it’s part of being a leader that you spend some time thinking about it, have an opinion and educate your team; whether that’s talking with them for 10 minutes, having a meeting on the subject, or publishing a document.

Borrowman: It would be easy to assume that a policy about social media would be mostly about “don’t do this” or “don’t do that”.  Is that accurate?

Boudreaux: There’s going to be some elements of that.  But, it’s not always about risk management and protecting from the downside.  It might be just keeping people informed with ideas and direction with respect to how you would like them to use it, not merely how you don’t want them to use it.

Borrowman: So, assuming a practice leader wanted to dig a little deeper.  Where would she start?

Boudreaux: You could think of it in three stages.  The first step has to do with considering risks and what you need to protect the company from.  This could have to do with any laws or regulations that come into play.  Client privacy issues are important.  There may also be fiduciary duties that need to be taken account of.  Most BV practices are likely to have similar thoughts about this aspect of the policy.

The next thing is to shift gears and ask, “What is it that we do that is different, potentially, than the way other practices do business?”  Once you have a handle on that you can explore ways to use social media differently, as well.  Tomorrow’s clients could be using social media today.  And the way you use social media can impact the differentiation you may seek.

Finally, look at what training, if any, you might need.  Perhaps you can cover the subject in a quick explanation.  Maybe there is some part of your employee training that deals with communication.  That might be the best place to insert whatever training may be needed regarding social media.  Remember, it’s just not the right thing to sit back and wait for an employee to do something, and then get mad because they weren’t supposed to have done it.  You didn’t tell them.  You weren’t thinking ahead about it.

Borrowman: There are bound to be people reading this whose eyes glaze over when social media is the subject. Where can they go for more resources to help consider, develop or execute a social media policy?

Boudreaux: HubSpot publishes a lot of great information about social media.  They also have a hosted software product that works very well for small businesses.  If you’re just getting started, Converseon – the company I work for – could help.  If you’ve kind of started but want to figure out how to do it better, be more scalable with higher impact, we can work on that.  We do everything from running campaigns within social media in the same way you would with an ad agency, to how you make social media work for your business in marketing, sales, recruiting, product development and so on.

John Borrowman