CHALLENGE: The potential for error in any social media outreach is unacceptably high ... and the attendant risks to your enterprise are serious.
SOLUTION: Maintain a set of accepted standards and practices that will help keep you and your organization on the right side of your customers …and the law. Update it regularly.
Many social media outreaches are impromptu, “seat of the pants” efforts in which marketers more or less make the rules up as they go along. Unfortunately, that approach leaves the enterprise open to catastrophic market, PR, and legal consequences.
A critical best practice is to adopt this indispensable set of guidelines from socialmedia.org, a self-regulated community for social media leaders. This set of checklists is essential reading for every marketing professional who is using, or considering using, social media.
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Best Practice #1: Tell the truth; say who is a member of the organization and who isn't. "Disclose who we are, who we work for, and any other relevant affiliations from the very first encounter."
Best Practice #2: Correct misstatements quickly. "Keep a record of advocates contacted by us, as well as the information and incentives provided to them. Attempt to correct any misrepresentations or inaccurate statements that result from our outreach. Attempt to correct any missing disclosure by our advocates or representatives. Keep a record of all attempts to correct errors."
Best Practice #3: Be transparent about compensation. “Instruct advocates to fully disclose the source and nature of any compensation received. Ensure that all disclosure meets the minimum legal standard by being a) clear and conspicuous, b) understandable by the average reader, and c) clearly visible within the relevant content.”