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Social Media, Risk, and Policies for Associations

Social Media, Risk, and Policies for Associations

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Published by Maddie Grant
SocialFish and Croydon Consulting have teamed up to present this guide to understanding social media risk and creating good policies for association staff and key volunteers.
SocialFish and Croydon Consulting have teamed up to present this guide to understanding social media risk and creating good policies for association staff and key volunteers.

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Published by: Maddie Grant on Jan 13, 2010
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11/05/2012

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croydonconsult.com©2010 SocialFish & Croydon Consulting
rom member engagement and volunteer management, to thought leadership and word o mouth marketing,social media is empowering associations and charitableorganizations toaccomplish more by leveragingrelationships. With every passingmonth o writing and speaking,we have watched hundreds o association executives come toa very important, i somewhatscary, revelation. Engaging in socialmedia requires a shit in the way associations view themselvesand their relationships withmembers. The shit is happening on a cultural, organizational,and individual level. Beore committing resources to asocial media program, associations want to know how to mitigate the risks while maximizing the rewards. Therst step is to create a sae space or sta, volunteers, and
A NOTE FROM THE AUTHORS
F
other stakeholders through clear, eective social mediapolicies. Clarity over control. I everyone involved knows the purpose o the organization’s social media initiatives—i each individual is clear about his or her role in achieving that purposeand the parameters in which they can participate—those social mediainitiatives will be that much moresuccessul rom the start.The purpose o this white paper is to help association executivescreate eective social media policiesor themselves, their sta, and key volunteers. We’ll use our own social media guidelines as a template. We’ll show you the building blocks we used to write the guidelines, and explain what risks each section is meant toaddress. We hope you will eel ree to use it, edit it, and put itinto language consistent with your own organization.
...associations want to know how tomitigate the risks while maximizing the rewards. The frst step is to createa sae space or sta, volunteers,and other stakeholders through clear,eective social media policies.
You are here.N
 
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croydonconsult.com©2010 SocialFish & Croydon Consulting
ocial media policies are one component o a bigger picture. When you’re laying the groundwork or your social media eorts, it’s important to be very clear about your objectives, your strategy or achieving those objectives, and the role your sta and key volunteerscan play to help. That means working across departments tocoordinate eorts and to gure out how everyone’s work ts together. That also means inviting strategic thinking rom the sta and volunteers who will be actively engaged in socialmedia on behal o the organization. The most successuleorts break out o traditional silos and organizationalhierarchies to enable sta and volunteers to accomplish more together.
ASSESSiNg RiSk
 While dierent associations ace dierent types and levelso risk when engaging in social media, the steps to mitigate those risks tend to be airly similar. For any new program or service, conducting a risk assessment and mitigation prior tolaunch will help determine which issues need attention. A risk assessment consists o rst identiying your risks or exposures to harm, rom the mundane to the serious. The next step is to evaluate these risks in terms o how oten an event may occur versus the potential nancial eect i the risk happens.Ater the assessment o the possible requency and severity o an identied risk, you establish your priorities or mitigating the various exposures. You address the most severe andrequent events rst. 
MiTigATiNg RiSk
Once you understand your risk, you can develop techniquesor managing it. Many associations choose techniques like 1)avoiding certain platorms, 2) prohibiting some activities, or 3) limiting who can participate. While these techniques may be useul in the short term as you develop your objectivesand strategy, we would argue that all three techniques are anattempt to exert control when clarity would be better over  the long term. Here are a ew methods that rely on clarity tomanage risk.
 Adopting policies or sta and volunteers
 Monitoring the social web so you know what peopleare saying
 Providing education on legal issues like copyright andanti-trust
 Providing education on social media principles
 Updating insurance policies to provide coverage or your social media work 
Once you’ve laid the groundwork, you’ll need to dig right in tothe social media policy basics.
LAYiNg THE gROUNDWORk
S
8 STEpS FOR BUiLDiNgSOCiAL MEDiA CApACiTY
1
Monitor the social web or discussionsabout your brand and industry.
2
Understand your objectives or usingsocial media.
3
Develop a social media strategy by prioritizing those objectives and applyingyour learning rom monitoring in step 1.
4
Assess and mitigate your risks—includeyour legal counsel and insuranceproessional in the discussion.
5
Make sure your insurance coverageis appropriate or your social mediaactivities.
6
Adopt the appropriate policies andguidelines.
7
Set up interdepartmental workfows or social media collaboration.
8
Educate your sta and volunteers.

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