Are you enforcing your social media policy?

You’ve already got one, right? If not, head this way first and check out our social media policy template to get you started.

Ok, now think about your process for managing your social media pages. What would you do (or have you done) when an online troll causes a scene in your comments section? What about disgruntled citizens leaving negative reviews? Do you know when it’s OK to delete a post or when you should leave it be? And if you do delete, could you produce a record of it if a FOIA request were made?

Phew, that’s a lot to consider.

To help us discuss and answer these questions, we got Oro Valley, Arizona Marketing and Communications Specialist Pia Salonga to join us for a Government Technology webinar. Salonga shared her experience in managing government social media pages and her recommendations for enforcing your social media policy when things get tough.

Pia Salonga Enforcing Your Social Media Policy

To set the scene, Salonga shares some background on how the Oro Valley community has been changing. “It was previously seen as a retirement community… which had a lot to do with why our social media was struggling. We didn’t have engagement at the beginning.”Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 2.19.48 PM But as the community has been growing, it has been seeing a growing community of younger citizens, and in turn their social media “has been picking up.”

Before Salonga came to the town, “There was no set social media practice.” Their policy was outdated and had no way to keep records of social media data. They relied on manual and inconsistent methods of record keeping like ‘taking a screenshot if they thought they would need it.”

That old policy was put to the test when the city made a controversial decision and the community engaged on social media. Feedback flowed with both positive and negative sentiment. When negative feedback didn’t violate anything in their policy, the team left it on the page. But when comments became more vitriolic, the team deleted that content and let the commenters know it was due to policy violations.

Repeat offenders were banned and the team realized a need to review and clarify their policy to better communicate the rules for citizens. But in this case, it was too late – a banned user felt these actions violated their right to free speech.Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 2.19.58 PM

“It turned into this huge ordeal… Social media is so new for government especially, the last thing that I would think is ‘Who’s gonna file a complaint over Facebook?’ But really all you need is one person to go to the newspaper.. and file that records request.”

This time, the team got one of those requests and were required to produce a record of the deleted comments. They learned what was required for enforcing your social media policy. If you want to be able to remove violating content,  you need to have accurate records available too.

More on Social Media Policies and Government Archiving

Listen to the webinar to hear more from Salonga and to get the inside scoop on social media record keeping in Arizona and across the nation.

Find more social media archiving resources for government here.

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