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Executive Report - By Thomas Baekdal - May 2011

No, You Do Not Need A Social Media Policy

Spend your time helping people do things better, instead of hitting them over the head with a policy. No employee is deliberately doing harm, unless you already have a serious motivation problem.

The question of social media policies keeps popping up. A recent study from Belgium showed fewer than 25% of all companies have a social media policy. And it seems that the question is dividing the social world into three camps: Those who believe you need a social media policy, those who believe you don't, and those who believe a social media policy is another word for PR.

The last group is the type of people who create a social media policy as a form of marketing exposure. It is full of fancy words and a lot of positive rules, and it is religiously posted to sites like slideshare etc. But, other than the PR speak, you see no signs that the company actually understand social media, or even try to follow their own policy.

I don't mind when a company makes their policies public. That is a sign of transparency. What I do mind, is when it is just PR words without any real action.

As for the other two groups-those who believe you need a social media policy and those who don't-there are good arguments on both sides. I am one of those people who strongly believe that you shouldn't create one; here is why.

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Baekdal is a magazine for media professionals, focusing on media analysis, trends, patterns, strategy, journalistic focus, and newsroom optimization. Since 2010, it has helped publishers in more than 40 countries, including big and small publishers like Condé Nast, Bonnier, Schibsted, NRC, and others, as well as companies like Google and Microsoft.

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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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