Survey Says: Could Your Business Suffer an Anthony Weiner Moment?

A new survey reveals that the vast majority of businesses do not have formal policies regarding social-media activity.

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Living social: Most companies do not have formal policies regarding social-media activity.You'd think you wouldn't need to tell your staff not to put embarrassing photos of themselves on your company's social media accounts. But given the stupidity of some people, unfortunately, they do need reminders. If they ignore you and post anyway, which social network will do the most damage to your image? Here's a look at some of the latest small-business surveys.

Memo to Staff: Don't Tweet Your Junk

Smart small-business owners should use Rep. Anthony Weiner's recent Twitter scandal as a reminder to create rules of conduct for social media. Don't think it's a problem for your company? Think again. According to a recent survey conducted by Zoomerang Online Surveys and Polls, just 15 percent of small and midsize businesses surveyed have internal social-media policies. Surprisingly, only 6 percent plan to create one, and 8 percent are evaluating whether there is a need for one.

"Considering the recent social-media gaffes, businesses need to proactively evaluate their social media needs and practices," says Alex Terry, general manager of Zoomerang. But that doesn't necessarily mean you need a formal social-media policy. "Simple education on the potential repercussions of ill-informed tweets or updates will deter most situations," Terry adds. Let employees know that the effects can be severe -- and not just for elected representatives: Of the small-business decision-makers surveyed, 6 percent have fired an employee for misusing social media.

Facebook Gets Buzz, LinkedIn Gets Respect

Which social network rules? While Facebook has the highest engagement rate out of the "big 5" social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Myspace, Twitter and YouTube -- though I'm not sure Myspace qualifies for a "big 5" designation anymore), LinkedIn is the social network that online consumers value most highly, according to a recent study.

S-Net: A Study in Social Media Usage and Behavior reports that 59 percent of online consumers rate having a LinkedIn account a 4 or 5 on a five-point importance scale -- up from 41 percent last year. In comparison, 53 percent rate the importance of having a Facebook account that highly. Of those with LinkedIn accounts, 50 percent visit the site at least weekly and 20 percent visit it once a day or more often.

Take That, Facebook!

Seems members of the general public aren't alone in viewing LinkedIn as the most important social network. In a recent survey by the Business Marketing Association, of the 89 percent who use social media, nearly half (48 percent) say LinkedIn provides the best return on investment for their businesses. The second most effective social-media tool, Twitter, was far behind, with just 20 percent saying it had the best ROI. And a mere 15 percent said they get the best results from Facebook.

What to keep in mind from all this? Just because one social media, er, tool commands all the attention in a particular news cycle doesn't mean you should focus your business on it at the expense of others. Be conversant in all your social media options to truly get the best results.

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva at Twitter.com/Rieva and visit SmallBizDaily.com to sign up for her free TrendCast reports.

Tags: Anthony Weiner, Business Trends, Facebook, LinkedIn, Rieva Lesonsky, social media, social media policies, Twitter, Weiner scandal, Weinergate

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