Social Media Policy
Developed by the ICA PRD working Group on Social Media
April 2015, revised July 2015
This document sets out guidelines for how the ICA PR division and its members should approach the use of social media as part of their communications strategy.
Platforms and their purpose
ICAPRD Facebook Page. The Facebook page is currently running. It is used to communicate information of interest to members that is not necessarily urgent or time-bound (for example, job ads, events / conference notices, calls for papers, new journals or books). It can also be used for social purposes, for example, to post pictures of members at conferences, or to post comments about events. The group is public, and its membership includes people beyond ICA. Anyone in the group can post on the page, which means that some members may post information that is not directly ICA-related. However, given the nature of the group, it is likely that such information will still be of interest to members.
ICAPRD twitter feed. Twitter is the first priority for the division. It is a means of quickly notifying members about information, issues, or events that might interest them, and delivering brief thoughts and opinions about current events that they may pass on to others. It is also a means of forwarding information from other networks (and from ICAPRD’s other communication channels) that might be of interest to members. Messages can be repeated on Twitter, but are less likely to be repeated on Facebook. The feed is public, and anyone can follow it, but only certain members will be authorised to post on it with the sanction of the ICAPRD board. The production of tweets is therefore more controlled than is the case with Facebook. Hashtags can be used to track the sentiment and reach of issues and of ICAPRD posts, and may be particularly useful during conferences.
ICAPRD LinkedIn page. LinkedIn is the second priority to set up once twitter is running. It is a useful professional networking tool where the ICAPRD may be able to play an active role helping members find jobs and also helping them to improve their skills by posting useful information or research. It is also a means of connecting with businesses and may therefore be a useful source of sponsorship.
Twitter Moderators (regional). Twitter Moderators will be based in each of the following regions: Europe; Middle East and Africa; the United States and Canada; South America; India and South East Asia; Australasia. They will gather and post information on behalf of members on their region, and will ensure that they adhere to the general principles set out below. The language for posting may be chosen by the moderator, with a view to maximising the audience for each post. In the event that the moderator receives a complaint, or notes a post that does not appear to adhere to the guidelines, the moderator will consult with the Social Media Coordinator about the appropriate course of action.
Social Media Coordinator. The social media coordinator will be responsible for:
- Working with volunteer members and the Board to set up the Division’s social media presence on Twitter and LinkedIn, and maintaining its presence on Facebook (admitting members to the group, monitoring posts);
- Maintaining contact with regional Twitter moderators and ensuring that Twitter has a regular ‘feed’ of news;
- Communicating with division members about social media-related news and information;
- Monitoring social media posts to ensure they adhere to the guidelines set out below, and consulting with the Board about cases that cause concern or have prompted a complaint
General principles of ICAPRD communication using social media
- Communication on social media should be focused on news that is of interest to members, for example, job ads, events / conference notices, calls for papers, research grant opportunities, calls for participation in research, announcements about new journals or books. Information should be related to public relations education, research and professional life, but need not be specific to ICA members or division-led initiatives.
- The division is part of an academic association and debate about research and practice is positively encouraged. The tone of debates should remain respectful of colleagues and their work, and personal attacks are not appropriate.
- Social media posts on or from the ICAPRD account must not compromise the division’s status and integrity.
- The division will ensure that a group of people are charged with the management of social media on an ongoing basis; one person alone cannot manage the work required to ‘do’ social media effectively.
- The division will use social media as part of its engagement with other communication networks that members already participate in, and as part of its overall mix of communication tools.
- Because social media is open and unpredictable, some posts may attract trolls – people who post deliberately provocative messages in order to inflame a debate. Principles for responding are:
- Do not respond reactively; always think before you post.
- Recognise that simply disagreeing with your post is not trolling, so beware of over-reacting.
- Use standardised text to respond to anger, in the same way that call centre staff use a specific script to respond to angry callers.
- Keep your response in proportion – check out how many followers a troll has, often it will not be many.
- Ask questions to clarify comments – it is easy to misunderstand 140 characters. This is also a means of pushing back - trolls tend to disappear once you push them into a conversation.
- Remember it is not personal; trolls and other tweeters do not know who is on the other end of the line.
- Do not use obscene language.
- The division Board will regularly monitor its presence on social media (e.g. through Google Alerts), based on an annual report delivered by the social media coordinator. The Board will review its social media policy annually and will provide a social media report to the PR Division at the annual business meeting.
- The division Board reserves the right to remove posts that do not comply with the principles set out above (e.g. commercial posts). The person who has posted the offending content will be contacted directly by the Board to explain why the content is being removed.
- The division Board is not responsible for the accuracy of the content of social media posts.