I’m often asked whether companies should let employees blog either for the company or personally.Â My answer to both questions is always the same — absolutely!Â Your employees are your most powerful brand advocates.Â Let them spread the word about your business and brand freely!
However, that doesn’t mean you should let them blog without providing some guidelines.Â Whether an employee is writing your business blog or writing his own blog but references himself as an employee of your company, you should give him some guidelines to follow so he can blog without fear of getting fired.Â Employee blogging should be a positive form of word-of-mouth marketing for your business, not a ticket to the unemployment line.
With that in mind, what should your employee blogging and social media policies include?Â Fortunately, there are some directories available online that gather links to blogging and social media policies that have been published online.Â One of my favorites is the Online Database of Social Media Policies.Â Take some time to read through some of those policies (I particularly like the simple policies of Razorfish and Headset Brothers) and create your own employee blogging and social media policy from those examples.
Most importantly, be sure to include the following in your employee blogging policy:
- Make it clear what employees cannot write about online related to your company.
- Provide a point of contact for questions.
- Make it non-threatening for employees to actively participate in the social Web.
- Remind employees, “if you wouldn’t say it to your boss’ face, you shouldn’t publish it on the social Web, including on your personal blog.”
- Make it known that you may monitor online conversations related to your business using social media monitoring tools, so they should publish responsibly and honestly.
Whatever you do, make sure that your employee blogging and social media policies are succinct, clear, and easy to understand.Â In other words, don’t set employees up for failure by providing a policy written in legalese that’s 50 pages long.Â Instead, set them up for success with guidelines that aren’t intimidating but are easy to adhere to.