Long the untamed frontier of communication, social media is increasingly coming under regulation and legal scrutiny. If you haven’t been paying attention, there are now many new regulations that communicators need to be familiar with from the FTC, NLRB, HIPPA, SEC, and FDA, among others.
When you engage on social media, you are agreeing to stand on a very public stage and allow your audiences to tell you what they really think about you.
Before you do anything on social media:
- Be sure you understand applicable rules and regulations, including FTC regulations, any laws pertaining specifically to your industry, and individual platform guidelines
- Have a plan for handling any resulting engagement, but expected and positive and unexpected and negative. Ignoring unwanted results can get you in legal trouble.
In addition to doing your research, it is probably wise to get expert counsel to make sure your plan is thoroughly thought through and that it stays entirely abreast of the law.
During a presentation at the PRSA International Conference, Peter R. Scott, APR, vice president, development, North American Veterinary Community, (Twitter @PRSCOTT) noted that social media can pose risks that can have a substantial impact on an organization’s reputation. He suggests an audit much like other brand and reputation analyses.
- Identify risks and assess the likelihood of each
- Identify plans and policies that manage risk and assess effectiveness
- Develop a plan