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Social Media Doesn't Have to Cause Corporate Heartburn

Social media is one of the hottest topics today, with the pros and cons of its use being debated in board rooms nationwide. In light of recent restrictions on employees’ social media use (ESPN, Marine Corps, NFL), companies are discussing whether, how and to what degree they should restrict or encourage their employees to use social networking tools. The “Social Media: Embracing the Opportunities, Averting the Risks” webinar offered insight into business leaders’ views and perceptions on this issue and provided actionable recommendations and advice on the development of social media policies and employee training sessions. The webinar also highlighted the insights gleaned from the recent national study conducted by Russell Herder, in conjunction with Ethos Business Law, on social media trends in the workplace and policy adoption.

Social media has become a fixture on communication agendas across the country, fueled by the fact that Americans spent 73 percent more time on social networking sites in the past year alone. But social media use is also generating its share of corporate heartburn. More than eight in 10 executives said they have concerns about social media and its implications for both corporate security and reputation management. Yet, surprisingly, only one in three said they have implemented social media guidelines and only 10 percent have undertaken related employee training.

Key findings from the study:

  • Social Media: A Corporate Security Risk?
    Fifty-one percent of senior management, marketing and human resources executives fear social media could be detrimental to employee productivity, while almost half
    (49%) assert that using social media could damage company reputation.
  • Reasons Management Uses Social Media
    The majority (72%) of executives say that they, personally, visit social media sites at least weekly to read what customers may be saying about their company (52%), and to routinely monitor a competitors’ use of social networking (47%)
  • Social Media’s Inclusion in Crisis Communications Plan
    Only 13 percent have included social media in their organizations’ crisis communications plans.
  • Projected Use of Social Media
    The most common reason why these entities are using social media are for brand-building (82%), networking (60%), customer service (32%) and sharing work-related project information (26%).
  • Companies Having a Written Social Media Policy Employee
    Only one in three businesses surveyed has a policy in place to govern social media use, and only 10 percent said they have conducted relevant employee training.

Below is the presentation from the webinar followed by the official whitepaper from Russell Herder on the study.

Study Whitepaper. Included in the white paper are “Best Practices: Ten Key Elements of a Good Social Media Policy”

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