How to avoid hazardous social postings by employees

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As I write and speak about the role of employee advocates in corporate social media, I've been compelled by the research of social media expert Pam Moore, who has recently outlined her advice on the right social media policies to mitigate social business risks.

Surprisingly, there continues to be a great number of organizations that choose to opt out of social media. The risks of missteps are too great, they maintain, or they excuse their lack of social media savvy with statements like, "Our customers aren't on social media anyway," or "We've got to control what our employees are doing on company time."

This thinking is flawed. Here's the real bulletin: Ignoring social media will not make it go away (and ironically, will actually increase the risk of misuse).

But what if you reverse the equation? Instead of focusing on ways to control your employees' use of social media, why not create guidelines and programs to empower them instead? With an effective program for employee advocacy, instead of fearing what employees might do on social media, organizations can tap these individuals as a valuable resource that can make the company's brand visible from the inside out.

The phenomenon of employee advocacy is gaining popularity across a number of the world's most successful organizations including IBM, Adobe, Microsoft, and Dell. These businesses are discovering a wealth of opportunity in lead development, web activity, and the increased success that comes from communicating a consistent message from within a powerful brand.

As Moore has also reported, these organizations are discovering that certain characteristics of emerging employee advocacy programs are key. Here are nine factors to consider.