Enterprise social media best practices: Ensuring security and collaboration
It’s no secret that the use of social media is increasingly widespread in the workplace, not only for personal but also for corporate purposes. Most businesses are attuned to the many benefits social media affords such as greater efficiency, more effective decision making and enhanced information sharing.
Smarsh latest research shows a whopping 73% of firms employ Facebook for business reasons, 64% use LinkedIn, and 56% use Twitter. Increasingly, organisations are embracing enterprise social media platforms too such as Microsoft SharePoint, various Cisco social media tools, Microsoft Yammer, Salesforce Chatter and IBM Connections to name a few.
But what is driving this increased use of social networks, and how are businesses getting involved?
Companies are increasingly using enterprise social media platforms, especially internal-facing networks, to encourage greater employee collaboration. Fostering rapid communication between departments can improve response times to customer requests, and ultimately improve customer relationships. And in this age of burgeoning internal communications, firms are keen to allow senior staff the ability to quickly distribute internal knowledge or announcements across a global workforce.
As with all new communication channels and platforms, there are varying degrees of success across industries. Our insights suggest many companies use Skype for Business successfully, with Facebook at Work being a newer phenomenon. The key is to ensure whichever enterprise social media platform is being used, fits within the broader corporate or regulatory compliance requirements.
And for financial services firms this can be somewhat of a double edged sword. Often these firms are keen to increase collaboration, but risk management considerations may create a barrier to social platform adoption. In these cases, it is even more important to invest in a comprehensive archiving solution ─ that captures social media messages, files and other content.
This will help support corporate compliance, recordkeeping, and e-discovery initiatives.
Research however showed this thinking is yet to take off.
Almost half, 43%, of firms that have deployed an enterprise social platform do not archive information from it and 26% have had to produce content for eDiscovery from the platform.
So what can firms do to help promote employee best practice? There are a few key steps that firms can follow to help promote employee education and awareness of social media, and to help achieve best practice.
Implement a social media policy
This includes clear, written documentation that outlines the rules of social media use and interaction for employees. The best policies are those designed with input from colleagues in marketing, compliance, legal, human resources and IT. Ideally these should address what employees are, and are not, allowed to communicate in their official capacity. Whether employees are posting/ sharing on behalf of the company or not, there is still a potential reputational risk so specific guidelines for business and personal social media use may help.
Know which platforms are being used
As with any other third party relationship, it is worth having a system in place to perform due diligence. Ideally prior to engaging with any social media platform, including enterprise social platforms. Things to look out for include, each platform’s policies regarding use of its information and customer data, how often its policies might change, and what (if any) control you have over its policies. Not having this leaves firms vulnerable to operational risks—for instance, theft of consumer information resulting from a social media provider’s compromised IT infrastructure.
Establish and maintain an employee training program
Social media training needs to be provided for all employees (especially sales and marketing) who use social media on behalf of the company. Employees need to understand the purpose of each social media platform your business uses, and their individual role in its use. Without a formal and documented training program, firms can be exposed to various legal, compliance, and reputational risks from any potential misuse of social media.
Supervise social media use
A comprehensive archiving solution should be used to retain and oversee internal and external social media use. This helps ensure corporate information, social media vendors, or consumers reflects internal policies, and industry laws and regulations. Without this, reputational damage can result based on fraud, misrepresentation of your brand, mismanagement of consumer complaints or questions, and other compliance and legal risks.
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