[LINK] The social organisation
pbolger at gmail.com
Sat Mar 3 11:16:47 EST 2012
Almost half of all businesses and organisations in the private and
public sector in Australia and developed Asian countries are now using
social media, according to research by KPMG. A new term – “the social
organisation” – has even entered the lexicon of management.
But 65% of organisations have no clear policies or guidelines on
employees’ use of social media, 67% provide no training to employees,
and almost half do not monitor what is said about the organisation in
These are findings from a recent University of Technology Sydney study
of the use of social media in more than 200 private and public sector
organisations in Australasia – covering Australia, New Zealand,
Singapore and Hong Kong.
The findings point to a concerning lack of governance and a lack of
strategy in what is becoming an increasing investment of time and
Policies and guidelines
The study found only 34.8% of organisations have specific policies and
guidelines on social media use by their employees. More than 22% have
no policy or guidelines at all, and another 20% rely on verbal
instructions and occasional emails.
It was also found that only 20% of organisations monitor all mentions
of their brand, products and services in social media. Almost 40%
monitor in an ad hoc or occasional way and another quarter monitor
only a small selection of social media.
Training and support
Only a third of organisations provide social media training for
employees, just over 23% provide technical support, and very few
provide support such as editing services for staff using social media,
such as organisation bloggers (just 6.8%).
The trend seems to be global. The UTS research was a collaboration
with University of Leipzig academics who undertake annual surveys of
communication managers across 43 European countries. They found that
60% of organisations have no social media policy or guidelines and
only a third have tools or services for monitoring social media.
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The result of the above is significant legal and reputational risk
exposure for organisations from employees inadvertently or
intentionally revealing confidential information or commenting
inappropriately online. This can range from being “off message” to
posting offensive content or engaging in “flame wars” with others.
A number of companies and organisations have already found themselves
in legal trouble and facing reputation damage because of employee
leaks, comments and other online behaviour.
Control and governance
The study also involved in-depth interviews with 14 social media
strategists and heads of digital media in consultancies and major
Successful navigators of the online world say control, or clamping
down on employees using social media, is not an option. Social media
cannot be controlled – it is simply too open, too vast, too
unregulated, and often too anonymous. Attempts at control usually
backfire on the organisation.
Instead, organisations should apply governance, key elements of which
are clear policies and guidelines for employees as well as regular
Social media strategists say organisations can engage with key
audiences not accessible through traditional media and significantly
expand their public communication and marketing by providing training
and support for staff to become online ambassadors and “evangelists”.
“Turn them on, not off” is the recommended approach.
Legendary examples include Sun Microsystems which created more than
3,000 staff bloggers and Dell Computer, which has set up a Social
Media and Community University to train staff across all its business
In Australia, Telstra has launched a social media policy and a number
of government departments and agencies are leading the way.
The New South Wales Department of Education and Communities has
published its progressive Social Media Guidelines online and the
Victorian Department of Justice has produced a simple short video to
encourage and guide employees in using social media.
The previously-cited 2011 KPMG study supports this staff-enabling
approach, saying “clamping down was likely to result in more, rather
than less, misuse of social media”.
Social media experts and leaders at successful organisations stress
the need for organisations to have a social media strategy.
But the research study found most organisations are adopting social
media in an experimental way, or simply because their competitors and
peers are doing so. Approaches are fragmented in organisations between
marketing, public relations, IT and web managers, specialist digital
consultancies and various departments and business units.
A social media strategy should include clear objectives for engaging
online, details about who can speak on what, training and support. It
should incorporate a sound governance framework involving policies,
specific guidelines and monitoring of social media.
The “social organisation” is a positive development for business,
government and society, but it needs strategy to be effective and
governance to be safe online.
On 3 March 2012 04:13, <stephen at melbpc.org.au> wrote:
> ‘Social organisations’ emerge but lack strategy and governance
> 29 February 2012, by Jim Macnamara Professor of Public Communication
> at the University of Technology, Sydney
> Link mailing list
> Link at mailman.anu.edu.au
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