Saturday, January 29, 2011

Building Strong Social Media Guidelines

It is no secret that the growing causes of most crisis PR moments in the past decade were a result of poor social media comprehension. Preventing these disasters proactively should be a major part of any integrated communication and reputation management strategy. That is why it is incredibly important for organizations and companies to develop and implement strong social media policies and guidelines to help safeguard their brand and employees.

It is also important to understand that having social media guidelines is not just critical in regard to reputation management and clarifying gray legal areas. There are many different considerations that should go into guidelines. To begin with, they should be a means of encouragement for employees to help promote and strengthen brands.

Right now I find myself tasked with developing more comprehensive social media guidelines for my own organization. The difference between the Society of Professional Journalists and most entities is that the non-profit organizational structure within SPJ means that the majority of our social media participants are volunteers rather than employees. Because of this, special care is being taken into consideration for writing the content of these guidelines. I'm making a point to seek as much advice as possible to create the best language to help our volunteers adapt to and implement these needed procedures.

When creating your own social media guidelines, it is best to research a wide selection of different examples to help you understand what best reflects your own organizational needs. Working on this project for the past few weeks has taught me a lot about different types of policies and I want to share some of the online resources that were a huge benefited for me throughout the process.
Social Media Governance Database - Includes more than 100 different social media policies for a wide spectrum of different companies, organizations and other entities.

How to Deal With Haters and Potty Mouths on Your Newsroom’s Facebook Page - From Journalistics, I loved this article not only for its insightful quality of content focused on Facebook but also because of its light-hearted nature.

10 Must-Haves for Your Social Media Policy - From Mashable, this handy list focuses on what it refers to as the most important aspect of writing guidelines, to better engage target audiences.

On a final note of consideration, a strong policy should make a point to reflect the transformative nature of social media. From Facebook to Twitter, who knows how the next form of communications vehicle will take shape. Even once titans such as Myspace can begin to fall over time as the way we use the Internet continuously evolves.
It is a changing new world online and a strong, durable set of guidelines are just the foundation blocks to helping your brand expand and maintain a positive reputation.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Down the Road Less Traveled

A year past. A year ahead. Ambition will lead me...

It may come eight days after the fact but, Happy New Year! I know mine has certainly been exciting and already filled with new challenges.

For me, 2010 was quite a year. The remaining days of my college tenure were filled with many achievements including creating, developing and implementing a student government debate; leading my chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and awards recognition for my creation of a public service PR campaign. I also came across a few failures along the way.

After graduating I found myself working in one of the best possible entry-level jobs I could ask for with the Society of Professional Journalists. Stationed at its national headquarters in Indianapolis, the past few months have been an incredible benefit in developing my PR, marketing and media relations experience. Even more, it's given me the opportunity to be an important part of a non-profit organization that is devoted to improving and protecting journalism and the First Amendment.

I was lucky to once sit on the front row of a presentation featuring NBC Nightly News Anchor Tom Brokaw when he said "You cannot let this forum go away. If you lose journalism, you'll lose the essence of the republic." Even in the turmoil journalism has faced over the past decade, I still have hope for its changing future and the Society is a part of that.

My blog has also continued to improve over the past few months. And for all of those who tweeted, shared and commented on "35 Big Twitter Hashtags for PR Pros," it is both a humbling and thankful experience to know it has been such a useful resource helping many students and practitioners. Thank you for sharing with me.

So here I am at a New Year - 2011. And no yearly beginning is complete without resolutions to hold one's self accountable by!

My Resolutions:
  1. I will continue to adhere to strong ethical standards in the practice of public relations while working to expand my knowledge and experience beyond my current capabilities.

    (Well that first one was easy. Let's just call it my "mission statement" resolution. Now how about some "meat and potatoes" resolutions that are a little more"objective" based.)

  2. I will fully participate in a minimum of 10 PR related Twitter chats in this list of 13 by Petya N. Georgieva by the end of December 2011.

  3. I will increase both the quality and yearly quantity of the entries here on my blog to better enhance my professional experiences and service to other PR professionals with a minimum of 20 posts by the end of December 2011.

  4. I will officially pursue an APR accreditation while improving my fundamental knowledge of communications theory and its application in the field to better serve clients, the public and the PR profession by the end of September 2011.

I have to admit that the last resolution was honestly the scariest one to write out loud. The APR is an important asset that is the nation's only post-graduate certification program. Studying for this accreditation is an intense and time consuming process that takes patience. Nevertheless, the benefits will help in my career enhancement and promote lifelong learning.

It's important to believe in goals but saying them out loud is what breathes life into them and makes them real. No success is ever achieved without ambition and faith in yourself. I certainly would not have had such an incredible year in 2010 if not for that philosophy.

Where will your ambitions take you this year?