Social Business Failure #9: Make Policy Ugly


Social Media Policy almost seems like an oxymoron.  Whereas “Social Media” is supposed to open, transparent, emergent and free flowing, policy is rigid, structured and often unforgiving.

I have read many social media policies.  Some are great, others are ugly.  The ones that are ugly forget that they are to be read by a human, not an autobot.  They are so lengthy and full of legalese that they pretty much guarantee that no one will read them.  And if no one reads them, what good are they except to be used as a force of punishment?

Hint #1: Write it in a way that will be read.  When done correctly the reader feels informed and empowered, not confused and stifled.

Many times a policy is not needed.  Why?  Because everything they need to say is already in other policy statements.  Sometimes all that is needed is direction.

Hint #2: Write guidelines and pull in policy from other places.  This way you don’t have to write everything all over again.

And Hint #3: Read other company policies and guidelines.  There are a TON out there.  Then (Hint #4) get someone who understands social business to write it.  Don’t let a generalist in legal, HR, or IT get their hands on it until after a good solid draft is done.

At that point run it by them and get their feedback.  They will most likely have some great insights.

You might even have a little fun with it…