My small, woman-owned public relations/marketing firm, Advice Unlimited, has been serving the Federal government marketplace for nearly 30 years to help companies with innovative technology get their solutions to the government. Every month, I’ll offer unlimited advice on how to work with this unique market. Please email me with questions or comments.

Advice Unlimited

Advice Unlimited

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Protecting Your Organization on Social Media

It is no secret that social media has invaded the lives of organizations everywhere. According to a study done in November of 2013 by, 87% of organizations used social media in 2013 and that percentage is steadily increasing.

Being active with social media reaps many benefits. However, organizations also run the risk of hurting their reputation if they’re not careful. Being aware of the risks of using social media can help prevent misuses.

To help prevent any issues, here are a few easy ways to ensure your organization is correctly represented on social media.

Implement a policy and train people accordingly

Creating a social media policy is key to managing social media interaction within an organization. Guidelines need to be put into place for employees’ use of social media. This should include both personal social media accounts and business accounts.

Every person has a different view of “acceptable” social media behavior. Let your employees know your expectations and make sure they are clear on the rules. Ensure that your social media policy is in your employee handbook-- this makes the rules clear for both you and your staff. This will make for a much better understanding if an issue does arise.

Ensuring that only approved people post for your organization will also help to keep your organization protected. Implementing a training session for those select individuals helps to solidify strict control of your organization’s identity. Each employee tasked with social media updates should go through a training session before posting anything.

Your policy should also include the standard operating procedure to get approval on a post. Ensure that the employees tasked with message approval are able to reply in a timely manner and make sure that your approval process is clear to everyone within the organization. One of the caveats of this approval should include verifying that the post is relevant to your target audience.  

Keep an eye out

Monitoring all social media accounts is the only way to ensure your organization is being portrayed the way you want it to be. Having a team or a manager in charge of monitoring these pages can help to prevent mishaps or misrepresentations. There is also social media monitoring software that is available if there is no time for manual check-ups.

It is also extremely important to monitor comments or other content that is posted to your pages. Feedback is always important to the success of an organization; it is important to remember to take immediate action if there is an unacceptable post to your page. For example, if a follower posts an inappropriate picture to the organization’s page, this picture should be removed immediately.

Be sure to monitor all social media platforms for mentions about your organization. It is important to see what the public is saying about your organization. It can help the organization make adjustments and gather free feedback. It is also important to respond to relevant comments and mentions.

Respond Quickly to Followers

In any organization, there will be members of your target audience who are unhappy at times. If these people are posting on your organization’s pages, it’s crucial to be attentive and handle your responses in a sensitive and timely manner. If appropriate, ensure that your response addresses the concern of the individual and offers a solution within a specific timeframe. Take negative conversations off-line as quickly as possible, making sure you demonstrate onsite that you’re working swiftly to resolve the issue. Organizations should not respond to negative comments exclusively – make sure that your social media team also addresses positive feedback as well.

There are many risks that organizations face when they’re involved with social media. Developing policies and standard operating procedures that all employees are aware of is an essential element when it comes to social media success. Building a social media presence is a great way to improve your ROI; having well-trained and well-prepared employees managing and monitoring your social media engagement is necessary to reaping these benefits.