New book throws life buoy to managers and business owners.
In the social business space, it’s easy to get started tweeting, blogging and sharing on Facebook. It’s just as easy to under estimate the risk to your personal and business brand by taking a less than thoughtful and strategic approach to how you use social media as a channel to further business relationships.
As an individual business owner, you have as much at stake as any public company since your brand is everything. That is why it’s important to pay attention to the risks that are inherent with third party networking sites as you build a social media strategy for your company.
I have been looking for a book that breaks down the legal issues around social media into a clear and concise guide. Robert McHale and Eric Garulay have provided such a book, Navigating Social Media Legal Risks: Safeguarding Your Business, which I received free copies of as part of my volunteer effort to contribute to the social ecosystem of Social Media Club (Disclosure). As past president of Social Media Club of Madison (Wisconsin), I had participated in several of the last chat sessions with authors Chris Barger and Lee Odden. I am happy to give back with this review.
What I liked
For me, the structure of the book took potentially complicated situations, such as social media gamification in the form of sweepstakes and contests, and broke it down to a description, legal insights, applicable laws and solid case examples to illustrate each point.
While the book is not a quick read (this is not summer vacation fodder), it does make for some interesting business travel reading as I read most of the book while travel on an airplane. Each chapter is self-contained and allows you to jump into sections of interest and visit other topics later.
Chapter 11 was one of the sections I spent the most time on as it covered guidelines for developing social media policies and governance models. I think the days of creating simple policies like Zappos are gone for many of us. Public corporations are too risk adverse to allow guidance in the social space in that fashion.
What I wish had been included
I think the authors provide some very key dos and don’ts in the governance section with nuances that reminded the reader of protections for the employee not just the employer. One thing they didn’t cover was info that might be very important for publically traded companies, such as guidelines for (not) sharing public blog post from analysts or interviews by others of these statements.
I think this is the right book to add to my resource list for social media practitioners, social media professionals at all levels, business owners, executives, human resource and talent acquisition staff, and managers of employees. I plan to pass on the books to business associates who are corporate counsel and involved in employment law at their respective Enterprise companies. Since both do training and speaking on the issues covered in this book, I am interested to hear their opinion also.