WIKIBRANDS Chapter 9 Executive Summary

Companies are struggling with the balance between the personal, transparent nature of social media technology and the traditional, close guarded secrets of corporate strategy.  How much flexibility and encouragement can a company provide to this new opportunity while maintaining a prudent amount of corporate oversight and governance?  A vast majority of companies impose an outright ban on the use of social networks like Facebook and Twitter at work and others allow for limited work-related or social use of these tools in the workplace.

A small percentage of companies have established some type of formal policy for employee use of external social networking sites.  Companies that have a consistent and uniformly enforced policy with regard to customer and employee engagement and the social Web also have a much stronger legal defense.  The right policy will result in a more empowered employee base, a clearer set of principles to guide the member and customer community experience, and a confident and supportive executive team. However, rules and guidelines have to form around company culture and customers, or people will find ways around them.

Think about how companies have dealt with journalists and traditional media for decades:  public relations people needed to be authorized; executives and managers needed to be trained for media interaction and briefed on key messages, context, and the news of the day before speaking to outside parties.  Why should social media be held to a lower standard?

Addressing customer and prospective member wants is paramount in the Wikibrand universe, but there must be some rules or guidance regarding; Statements of Purpose, Initiation, Interaction, Exchange, Moderation, Legal / Ethical Terms and Ownership.

In a customer-controlled marketplace, people (including your employees) have a lot more control than you think.  If your rules are too stringent, people will use tools and filters to find a way around them.  Good rules, guidelines and rituals set boundaries – many important, some fun, others socializing and often necessary: don’t make them handcuffs.  On the other hand, there is a myth of democracy.  Without good rules, guidelines, and rituals, as well as employees or community managers to enforce them, people – including your most fervent Influencers – will find it too taxing, too unpredictable, too compromising, or too chaotic to promote you through their passions and interests.

This book offers a very in-depth consideration of rules, guidelines and rituals of Wikibranding, far more than can be covered here.

For further information visit: http://wiki-brands.com/