We’ve all heard about the companies whose social media policies reek of Big Brother – no blogging, tweeting, posting, e-mailing about the companies, its clients, or its products. The most recent induction into this group is ESPN.
ESPN recently established new social media guidelines, outlining that their employees are banned from discussing anything related to ESPN or sports on any social network. While companies do need to be aware of the legal risks their social-media-involved employees invite, broad-sweeping policies like ESPN’s are more often than not considered detrimental.
Banning employees from talking about ESPN or sports is harmful for employee moral and it hinders employee professional growth. Looking at the bigger picture, restrictive social guidelines hinder the company from benefiting from all that social media has to offer. They can’t use it to promote themselves or their product, develop relationships, or invite feedback or ideas.
While putting social media guidelines in place is a necessity today, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of these tools when determining how strict those guidelines should be.