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4 Ways to Protect Your Brand on Social Media
Social media provides associations with tremendous opportunities not only to market to new audiences, but also to engage current association members and provide unparalleled customer service. At the same time, establishing a guiding framework for your association’s social media program is of critical importance. It will serve as armor for your organization to guard against potential litigation and public relations challenges. Here are four elements associations should consider:

Establish Ownership of Channels and Content
Create an internal social media policy that clearly identifies the roles, responsibilities and expectations of both your staff members and volunteers. Clarify behavioral expectations, including if, when and how they may speak on behalf of the organization. Spell out rules on copyright and intellectual property as they pertain to sharing content.

Rules of Engagement
For LinkedIn groups, some Facebook discussion groups and other appropriate venues, publish a brief set of rules and behavioral expectations. By giving those who wish to interact with your organization through social media discussions some rules of engagement, you discourage bad behavior and reserve the right to remove, ban or block individuals who consistently disregard those rules.

Be Transparent
Mistakes happen, and criticism is a part of social media. Don’t risk backlash from your community by deleting content that may be negative or challenging but doesn’t violate the rules of engagement. Think before you delete a comment, post or tweet.

Have a Response Plan Ready
Should a crisis scenario arise, such as an unfavorable public relations incident, social media can help. An honest, heartfelt response sent to followers on social media can often mitigate such situations, and, in some cases, turn a potential challenge into an opportunity. To prepare in advance for such situations, clarify who will respond on behalf of the organization and create processes that will help you decide best where, when and how to respond.

By following the above steps, you will help ensure that your association achieves maximum benefit – and minimum risk – from its use of social media.

 

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FEBRUARY 2014 EDITION
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Board Forward is published 10 times a year by SmithBucklin, the association management and services company more organizations turn to than any other. SmithBucklin has served volunteer board members for more than 60 years.

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