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This Isn't the Wild West Anymore: Why You Need Social Media Policies
By: Christine Geraci
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When an organization takes its first steps into the realm of social media, it's exciting and fun to think of it as one great experiment. In fact, it should ALWAYS feel that way — that's how your social presence stays fresh and open to improvement.
But "experimentation" only becomes a problem when it's used as an excuse for a lack of due diligence.
Case in point: Creating and implementing a social media policy for your organization is a widely accepted best practice. Yet, the vast majority of organizations don't have one
The social realm is not the Wild West anymore. We have explored, and we continue to do so. But we have also, by and large, settled. We simply cannot continue to live in lawlessness because social media is still new territory for so many. 
Every organization using social media needs a roadmap. How each employee chooses to reach the ultimate destination is up to them. But policies and guidelines are the arrows and speed limits guiding them along the way, to ensure your company's goals and objectives remain the inspiration for the journey. 
Policies do not stifle creativity. Rather, they embrace and encourage it. They present the challenge of being engaging without being obnoxious, libelous, or otherwise counterproductive to the core mission. Plus, they help ensure laws are not broken.
Plus, they help ensure your organization has a safety net. If you want to remove a comment, you need clear criteria for doing so. If someone complains about your removing the comment, you have back-up. 
Are you using a set of social media guidelines or policies to steer your organization's social media activity in the right direction?

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About the Author
Christine Geraci is the Social Media/Promotions Specialist at MVP Health Care in Schenectady, NY. Connect with her on Twitter @christinegeraci.
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