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Is Your Social Media Policy Smelly and Stale?

This post was written by Vanessa Bugasch, Senior Vice President, Global Marketing & Product Marketing at Cision.

Okay I admit, a social media policy can’t really smell but it can get just as old as the cheese sticks that have been sitting in my fridge for the past 7 months.  Here at Cision we were so proud when we rolled out a social media policy to our employees last year that we even published it publicly to give our clients an example of one.  At the time, we distributed it to all our employees and now our new hires get a copy when they start.  Still, about every 1 or 2 months I have the job of cracking down on an offender to the policy.  Not sure if I should add Social Media Policewoman to my title because Mariska Hargitay I’m not. Keep in mind we’re in the business of social media monitoring here at Cision, so a good number of our employees monitor mentions of Cision, our competitors, products, spokespeople, customers and industry.  This is great because clearly I want our employees to embrace the products and services we represent.  But even though we have a team of people dedicated to engaging in social media on behalf of Cision, you still get the employee with the best of intentions who responds with a post on their own on behalf of the company.  It’s then that I have to remind them we have a social media team trained to engage, and politely thank them for their efforts but ask that they not do it again and explain why. 

Our social media team goes through training before they are allowed to respond to any social media post.  Part of the training is a worksheet where they’re given real life scenarios of what people have said about our company online and ask them to respond.  Everyone loves to respond when someone tweets “I love Cision” but it’s not that easy the first time you see someone tweet something like “I hate Cision” and figure out how to respond in 140 characters or less.  With training they learn things like not every post warrants a response and how to ensure that multiple people aren’t responding to the same post simultaneously. 

So what kind of offenses do our employees make?   A salesperson who sees someone who is inquiring about products and services we sell and they start to pitch them online; an employee who was offended when a competitor made an inaccurate statement about our product on Twitter and they started a back and forth battle online; the overzealous employee who shared some new features in our product before I had a chance to get the press release out.  That’s when they get the call from the Social Media Police – me.  I really can’t fault them because most times they don’t remember the policy existed or these scenarios weren’t clearly spelled out and truth be told, when I went back to re-read it the other day, I realized it could use some updating and new communication.

The reality is that you can’t account for every situation when you write your first social media policy and you need to continue to adjust and communicate that policy a little more frequently than the frequency in which you change the batteries in your smoke detector.  Employees, like customers, want to know that you’re listening and engaging on behalf of your company and if you don’t, they may take it upon themselves to do it for you. So pat yourself on the back if your company has a social media policy but check the expiration date and make sure it’s still fresh.

Want to hear more of Vanessa’s great social media advice? Sign up for the Monitoring Social Media webinar today at 1pm CST. Register here http://us.cision.com/events/webinars.asp. See you then!

About Guest Contributor

Cision invites PR and marketing professionals to share their best practices and advice with the Cision Blog audience. To share your story, contact blog.us@cision.com

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