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January 11th, 2011:

Social Media Policies That Every Company Needs

Kade Dworkin

Last weekend I attended a talk by Kade Dworkin to business students on social media strategies for companies.  Kade seems to have read every book on this topic and knows the heavy hitters in this area.  He suggested that every company have two social media policies.

Social Media Policy for Employees
Is an employee allowed to say who their employer is on their blog?  What about their Twitter profile?  Is there anything wrong with an employee tweeting out, “Grrr…some days I hate my job” or “My clients are making me crazy?”  If there are no rules about what employees can and can’t say online when they’re on their own time, you really can’t get mad at them for what they say, unless there is a blatant violation of client confidentiality or a disclosure of a trade secret.  It’s disturbing that only 29% of employers have social media policies.  Being active on social media sites is part of doing business today, and if you don’t have a social media policy for employees, you’re asking for trouble.

Social Media Crisis Response Policy
I had never heard this before, but it makes perfect sense.  In the past, a company had  more time before a bad review is disseminated via newspapers and word of mouth.  Now, a bad review can be spread across the internet in a matter of minutes.  While a company should hope and work towards providing exceptional goods and services all the time, there will always be individuals who are not happy.  When that happens, it’s critical that the company has a plan in place on how it will respond.  The company should already have action plans for dealing with the worst case scenarios that might occur.  Additionally, Kade suggested that whoever is in charge of social media should have a strong relationship with the company’s legal department to avoid any major missteps.

Recall the fiasco that occurred after Amy’s Baking Company got a bad review on Yelp. The main issue wasn’t that a customer was unhappy, but that the owner did a horrible job responding to the bad review.  It’s hard for an owner to get a bad review about their staff and service, and it’s critical that the response be one that attempts to resolve the problem privately and show that the company is customer-focused.  In this case, the owner’s response caused irreparable harm to their and their restaurant’s reputation.  Many people who read the review and the owner’s response said that they will never patronize that restaurant in the future.  I have never been to Amy’s and now given the choice, I’ll go somewhere else.

Kade also suggested that companies never let an intern be in charge of social media because it’s important that whoever is in charge is someone who can make decisions on the fly to resolve problems.  This should occur within 30 minutes, not in a few days.  A fast and effective response can do as much to bolster a company’s reputation as providing exceptional service.

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SALK Day 11 – Political Tolerance

Today’s sponsor is Vincent Cannizzaro, first-year law student.   He asked me to write about the lack of tolerance in politics, on both sides of the political spectrum.  People who have worked in politics or with people with strong political affiliations have seen that too often each side is quick to demonize the opposition.  For example, in the last presidential election, there was a superfluous amount of discussion about whether Obama was a Muslim or a socialist or whether McCain planned to invade Iran.  I could care less about a candidate’s religious affiliation; I care about whether they can effectively run this country and whether they share my views on major issues.  We lost valuable opportunities to discuss the actual problems in this country.

tolerance
Image by glsims99 via Flickr

The majority of people who hold political office have a strong dedication to being public servants and they have care deeply about this country’s future.  Most of them are intelligent people with good intentions (even the Tea Party members and fanatics).  If we could get past the political labels and stereotypes and actually have discussions about problems facing this country and potential solutions, something good might come about.

One thing that I find particularly bothersome is people who only vote along party lines without considering each candidate’s platform.  They’re voting without fully participating in the democratic process.  I respect that people have issues where the candidate they vote for must agree with them whether it’s national health care, social security, abortion, gay marriage, etc.  What I don’t understand is people who won’t take the time to at least read about each candidate on the ballot but simply vote for whoever is affiliated with their party.  I think a lot of people do not want to accept that the parties are often not that different anymore, and will simply turn their back on a message that is different from their own instead of engaging in conversation to at least hear what the other side’s goals are and ideas for achieving them.

In politics, as in all aspects of life, please make your decisions based on knowledge and not on assumptions.  Talk to people and practice tolerance.  Have conversations with people who have different views.  See if you have a mutual goal and correct any inaccuracies as they come up.  Please remember that when you disagree with someone, it does not mean that they are an enemy or evil.  Disagreeing does not necessarily mean that the other side is the enemy.  They just have a different point of view.

Sponsor A Law Kid is my endeavor to pay for my last semester of law school. Today’s sponsor is Vincent Cannizzaro. For more information about Sponsor A Law Kid or to see what days are still available for sponsorship, visit my Sponsor A Law Kid page.

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