Public Relations Tactics

Putting Words Into Action: PRSA’s new social media policy

March 15, 2011

The new PRSA Social Media Policy — released Feb. 9 — offers guidelines to PRSA leaders, volunteers and employees who engage in social media activity on behalf of themselves and the Society, and serves as a reminder of  best practices.

The policy addresses topics including content creation, brand consistency, personal use and legal compliance, as well as guidelines for engaging communities, working with bloggers and contributing value.

PRSA leaders hope that this policy will serve as a tool for members to use within their own organizations, a guide for academics to follow and a model for other organizations that are active in social media.

The following is an excerpt from PRSA’s Social Media Policy on engagement: 

  • Know your audience
    Develop a clear understanding of the audiences who interact with PRSA online. Knowing your audiences will help you tailor your content and identify the right social media outlets to reach them.

    Understand that the interaction should focus on them, not just the products and services that PRSA offers. How can they benefit?

    Your goal should be to attract larger audiences and engage them in long-term relationships.
  • Write what you know
    We all have a certain amount of expertise and wisdom that we have garnered throughout the years. Our interactions, conversations and comments should always reflect our areas of expertise.

    Simply stated:  Stick to what you know and discuss and post information on topics within your area of expertise. If you choose to touch upon a subject that is not within your area of expertise, then you should make it clear to your readers that you are not an expert, and that your information is opinion, rather than fact.  
  • Contribute value to your community
    When you want people to engage with you and share your information with others in their communities, you have to write things that interest and deliver value to your peers and entice them to share your thoughts. Social communication should be stimulating and build a sense of community around dynamic conversations.  
  • Be conversational
    Write as if you’re having a conversation. If your language is too formal, then you may miss an opportunity to engage in dynamic and often passionate dialogue.

    The social Web is not a business report, presentation or a marketing forum with canned or spammed messages. Don’t be afraid to bring in your own personality and say what’s on your mind.  Write in a manner that invites a response and encourages comment. 

    A great way to widen the conversation is to include others; cite the posts of bloggers who are interested in similar topics. By including resources and links, you can share your content in different Web communities. 
  • Avoid starting fires
    It’s good practice to invite differing points of view without inciting others.

    However, bloggers are passionate, and there is a fine line between healthy debate and harsh reaction.  It is not necessary — and sometimes impossible — to respond to every criticism in a Web community.

    At times, you will want to listen and not respond.  This doesn’t mean that you should address the information elsewhere in your communications program, but firing back often appears defensive.

For the full policy, please visit:


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