BAOT/COT Social Media Guidance 02.09.10


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This document provides direction for COT staff and BAOT members in elected positions (e.g. Council members, committee members, Specialist Sections, Regional groups) that use social media to carry out their professional roles. The organisation’s social media communications complement and reinforce content from the website, OTnews, BJOT and marketing campaigns.

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BAOT/COT Social Media Guidance 02.09.10

  1. 1. BAOT/COT Social Media User Guidance September 2, 2010 BAOT/COT Social Media User Guidance This document provides direction for COT staff and BAOT members in elected positions (e.g. Council members, committee members, Specialist Sections, Regional groups) that use social media to carry out their professional roles. The organisation’s social media communications complement and reinforce content from the website, OTnews, BJOT and marketing campaigns. This guidance aims to protect individuals and the strategic position and reputation of the Association and College and clarify how social media provides interactive opportunities for the organisation to articulate its aims and aspirations with members, stakeholders, related organisations, the press and a national and an international community of OT staff. This is an interim document, which will be reviewed on appointment of the Senior Communications Manager. This guidance is based on four sources: • The Central Office of Information’s ‘Engaging through social media: A guide for civil servants’ The Central Office of Information is the Government’s centre of excellence of marketing and communications and provides Government departments with advice, support, guidance and services for operating in a digital world. The guidance provided to civil servants is highly appropriate to COT staff. • Econsultancy Corporate Media Policy Guidelines marketing-template-files?utm_campaign=learn- more&utm_medium=self&utm_source=blog Econsultancy is an online community of 80,000+ where the world's digital marketing and ecommerce professionals meet to sharpen their strategy, source suppliers, get quick answers, compare notes, help each other out and discover how to do everything better online. • BBC Guidance: use of social networking, microblogs and other third party websites • UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills information risk assessment checklist Page 1
  2. 2. BAOT/COT Social Media User Guidance September 2, 2010 Contents 1. Purpose of this guidance 2. Definition of social media 3. The benefits of using social media 4. The role of the Web Communications Officer 5. General guidance for staff and elected members 6. Guidance on questions and research 7. Guidance for managers 8. Recent social media examples (May 2010) 9. Managing risk – time and resources 10. Managing risk – communication 11. Managing risk – technical and IT risks 12. Managing risk – negative comments about BAOT/COT 13. Managing risk – inappropriate comments made by users 14. Branding consistency Page 2
  3. 3. BAOT/COT Social Media User Guidance September 2, 2010 1. Purpose of this guidance This guidance is designed to help COT staff and BAOT members in elected positions (e.g. Council and committee members, Specialist Sections, and Regional Groups) understand the safeguards and benefits of using Social Media. It clarifies the benefits of social media, addresses reputational technical and brand risk issues and offers recommendations for how staff and members should and shouldn’t engage with online communities. Econsultancy’s Corporate Social Media Policy Guidelines document states: ‘…the best corporate social networking policies have balance. They are not so restrictive to deter employees from bothering to engage via social networks, but they do make clear what responsibilities the employee has and what topics are off limits.’ N.B. This guidance does not deal with issues related to the personal use of social media by individuals. However, the Health Professions Council (HPC) have urged registrants to use caution in regards to social networking and UNISON are concerned that members may be putting their personal safety at risk as well as their employment and registration. Individuals are therefore advised to access appropriate advice in relation to personal use of these sites. Page 3
  4. 4. BAOT/COT Social Media User Guidance September 2, 2010 2. Definition of social media ‘Engaging through social media: A guide for civil servants’ defines social media as: “…a term used to refer to online technologies and practices that are used to share opinions and information, promote discussion and build relationships. It is equally useful to communications staff and policy officials. Social media services and tools involve a combination of technology, telecommunications and social interaction. They can use a variety of different formats, for example text, pictures, video and audio. The term ‘social media’ is applied to the tools in question, their applications and collaboratively developed practices.”i Examples of social media Facebook – The most powerful social networking website with over 400 million active users. Twitter – Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Youtube –Video-sharing website on which users can upload, share, and view videos. Linkedin - Linkedin is a business-oriented social networking site mainly used for professional networking. Flickr –image hosting website and online community. Slideshare – Powerpoint presentation and document sharing website on which users can upload, view, comment, and share slideshows. BAOT/COT’s member-only discussion forums – for professional exchange and debate. Page 4
  5. 5. BAOT/COT Social Media User Guidance September 2, 2010 3. The benefits of using social media Social media can enable BAOT/COT to better understand and respond to its key audiences. Social media can: 1. Increase our access to audiences and widen the range of our communication. 2. Improve the long-term cost-effectiveness of communication through free, popular channels of communication that people already value. There are no service charges to use social networking or blog sites, and communicating via social media cuts out printing, travel, phone and postal costs incurred by other media. 3. Target specific groups e.g. students, thereby contributing to the personalisation of messages and hence sustainability of the profession and the organisation. 4. Enable BAOT/COT to be more active in its relationships with citizens, partners and stakeholders. 5. Highlight membership benefits to non-members. 6. Promote occupational therapy to consumers. 7. Promote and encourage strategic partnerships (e.g. linking with companies and organisations via their Facebook or Twitter pages). 8. Enable the organisation to respond directly and openly to member queries and vice-versa. 9. Create dynamic content on the website (e.g. Flickr slideshows and Youtube videos can be easily added to web pages). 10. Enable member-to-member networking and communication. The use of social media does not in itself constitute good practice. To be valuable, the use of social media must deliver some of the benefits listed above. It is recognised that the new Senior Communications Manager will lead on strategising communication across all COT media. The Web Communications Officer’s role is to ensure that content is suitable and uses a tone and language appropriate for social media platforms to communicate BAOT/COT material/messages. Page 5
  6. 6. BAOT/COT Social Media User Guidance September 2, 2010 4. The role of the Web Communications Officer The Web Communications Officer ensures that the organisation is an engaging, responsive presence on social media sites where occupational therapy staff and related health and social care professionals are already present. Responsibilities of the role include, to: 1. Gain an understanding of users’ behaviour and opinions. 2. Oversee and monitor social media activity of staff and elected members. 3. Manage corporate social media accounts. 4. Advise staff and elected members how to start and maintain a professional profile and engage with online communities on behalf of BAOT/COT. 5. Gauge how effectively other sites/organisations engage target audiences. 6. Identify key channels used by opinion formers. 7. Identify and share best practice within the organisation. 8. Identify appropriate measures of social media to gauge success. 9. Report social media success stories back into the organisation. 10. Monitor and report on activity required by the organisation. 11. Provide information about demographics of users, popularity of content. 12. Put markers in place to track what is said about the organisation outside corporate pages via Google alerts and new Facebook community pages. The Web Communications Officer reports to the Web Manager, ensuring the social media activity supports overall web development and editorial strategy. The Web Manager reports to the Head of Membership and External Affairs to ensure web activity supports the organisations strategic aims and objectives. Page 6
  7. 7. BAOT/COT Social Media User Guidance September 2, 2010 5. General guidance for staff Be an ambassador. Remember that you are an ambassador for BAOT/COT. Use a professional profile separate from any personal profiles you might have. Make clear you are a COT employee, give your job title, and connect your profile with other COT profiles on the same channel. Build working relationships. Accept all requests to link/follow from OTs (whether members or non-members). Link to all other BAOT/COT profiles on that specific channel. Link to relevant professional profiles in your area of expertise. Respond and engage in two way communication. Don’t share member benefits with non-members. When sharing resources that are member benefits provide links to the relevant resource which only members will be able to access via web login. When appropriate promote BAOT membership. Discuss social media activity at team meetings. Talk about your specific successes, outcomes and challenges associated with using social media. Be aware of your target audience and connect. If you have a message for a specific group, identify the staff member to relay the information to. Fiona Fraser, for example, connects with OT students through social networks while Anna Kapitanec connects with associate members and support staff through social networks. If you specialise in e.g. mental health, connect with mental health charities and introduce yourself. Be aware of your followers. Make an effort to understand why someone has added you as a Facebook friend or why someone is following you. All social networking sites allow private messaging so use this functionality if you want to discuss questions with someone in more detail. Be professional. Your comments should always be fair, accurate, friendly and transparent. Participate in the same way that you would in other media or public forums, such as a conference or seminar. Be clear about your responsibilities. Discuss your social media activity with your line manager, the web communications officer and other COT staff who are using social media. Do not make commitments on behalf of BAOT/COT if you are not authorised to do so. Be responsive. When you gain insight into what works well in social media, share it with colleagues. When someone asks you a question or makes a comment, try to respond or refer the person to where they could get an answer. Communicate important messages e.g. calls to action. Seek guidance from the Senior Communications Manager and/or attend Communications group meetings to identify which media will best deliver your key messages and news stories to your target audience. Page 7
  8. 8. BAOT/COT Social Media User Guidance September 2, 2010 6. Guidance on questions and research Enabling members to communicate with each other is integral to our website and goal of encouraging OTs to engage with other OTs, other professions, and promote the profession. Enabling members to communicate with each other is one of the benefits of membership which members pay for. Guidance for staff on asking and responding to questions 1. Answer questions that relate to your own responsibilities. 2. Refer questions outside your responsibilities to the relevant member of staff. 3. Ask open questions relevant to your position which enable satisfying communication e.g. ‘What are you doing about your CPD this year?’ 4. Respond professionally to negative comments e.g. ‘User: COT doesn’t care about CPD!’ ‘COT staff: We do value members CPD. There is a range of resources on our website including ILOD (link) and our Lifelong Learning Strategy (link).’ 5. Avoid using social media channels to ask ‘What do you think of BAOT/COT?’ Occasionally OTs ask if they can use the website to ask members questions. There are a number of options: i. The request relates to research (whether academic or commercial) refer the user to the R&D Team and copy in the web team. If research is approved then it should be promoted as usual across all media channels to encourage an appropriate level of response. ii. The request is from a member and it is informal and interest-led. Refer the member to the member-only forums which are specifically provided as a member benefit so that members can talk to each other and ask questions. E.g. ‘I would like to know if other members have been asked to wear a student nurse uniform?’ iii. The request is from a non-member and it is informal and interest led. Provide links to relevant content on our own website and refer them to Facebook e.g. ‘What’s it like to train as an OT?’ Page 8
  9. 9. BAOT/COT Social Media User Guidance September 2, 2010 Page 9
  10. 10. BAOT/COT Social Media User Guidance September 2, 2010 7. Guidance for managers If you line manage someone who is engaged in social media: 1. Set up a profile on all channels on which your staff member is present : this is the quickest and best way to understand the benefits social media are delivering for their objectives. 2. Incorporate social media as a standing item in one-to-one meetings. 3. Discuss relevant sections of the guidance document with the staff member. 4. Encourage reflection on social media activity e.g. ‘what worked well in the last month? What would you do differently next time?’ 5. Discuss any concerns as soon as possible in order to ensure inappropriate usage is avoided and managed swiftly. 6. Discuss social media in team meetings as a possible tool for appropriate work streams. 7. Avoid complex and unnecessary reporting procedure. 8. Use the Web Communications Officer who is always available to advise and answer questions about social media. Page 10
  11. 11. BAOT/COT Social Media User Guidance September 2, 2010 8. Recent social media successes (August 2010) • New content distribution by way of multiple social media channels, resulted in an increase of 600+ Twitter followers and 3,400+ Facebook fans in less than a year. • Since launching BAOT/COT’s presence on Youtube, the Marketing videos have been viewed a total of 14,500 times and 30 Youtube members (as of 20 August, 2010) subscribe to our channel, meaning they will be notified when we add a new video. These videos have enhanced the ‘About OT’ page at The Web Communications Officer provided Marketing with comments about the videos from OT staff via the Facebook page. • The combination of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) on the website and Social Media Optimisation (SMO) across social media channels has resulted in the organisation appearing as the 2nd Google entry of 6 million + results for a search with ‘occupational therapy’. • ‘Highlight’ e-newsletter subscriptions featured on Facebook in the first week of May 2010 resulted in 25 new subscribers. • Videos taken at Naidex by the Membership Development team and members (about why they value BAOT membership) were uploaded to BAOT/COT’s Youtube channel and shared with networks on Twitter and Facebook. The videos have also been added to Become a Professional Member essional_member/ • BAOT’s Flickr slideshow has been incorporated into Annual Conference 2010 pages Page 11
  12. 12. BAOT/COT Social Media User Guidance September 2, 2010 9. Managing risk – time and resources As with any other activity social media raises standard resourcing issues. Staff who want to get involved in social media with their line manager’s approval or BAOT/COT members in elected positions (e.g. Council members, committee members, Specialist Sections, Regional groups) should: 1. Identify the benefits and associated risks of engaging in a particular social media campaign/activity. 2. Discuss the time commitment needed for social media activity with your line manager and the Web Communications Officer. In one-to-one training sessions, realistic time commitments to social media are discussed and agreed. 3. Identify benefits to the organisation and/or ways in which the activity supports the business plan and/or strategic goals. ‘Benefits’ could include reaching a target audience, promoting the profession, promoting BAOT membership, engaging with colleagues from related professions, raising the profile. ‘Risks’ might include underestimating the time, commitment or responsibility needed to make effective use of the channel causing activity to be abandoned. Managers who are responsible for making decisions about the use of social media by their team or linked elected members should engage with social media to understand it. There is a risk that managers might ignore social media and either block beneficial activity or take insufficient interest in activity which is already underway. The Web Communications Officer is always available to discuss questions or concerns about social media and to assist in estimating the time and resources to carry out a particular activity/campaign and selecting the appropriate social media to ensure the best outcome. The Membership Development Team are happy to offer advice and support on specific queries related to membership matters and social media. Page 12
  13. 13. BAOT/COT Social Media User Guidance September 2, 2010 10. Managing risk – communication As part of a broader communication strategy BAOT/COT should identify those subjects that are of particular value because they support business priorities and strategic goals. Sufficient flexibility is also necessary so that COT staff can respond to, and engage in, conversation about topical issues relating to the profession. BAOT/COT is clear about what subjects are off limits. These subjects include: 1. Confidential information (including specific information about service-users – see Code of Ethics). 2. Financial information. 3. Disputes internal to BAOT/COT. 4. Current legal proceedings. 5. Personal information (anyone’s). 6. Non-factual information. 7. Anything which could bring the organisation or the profession into disrepute. 8. Anything that reduces incentive to join as a member. COT staff with expertise in particular areas may be contacted by media contacts via social media channels. If COT staff that are not usually approached by the press as part of their job are asked for quotable comment this should be discussed with the relevant line manager or Senior Communications Manager prior to response. COT staff members who are talking to the media as a regular part of their responsibilities should remember that social media comments are public and quotable and apply the same standards of professional responsibility that they would bring to interaction with the press, TV, etc. From time to time COT staff might make mistaken comments in good faith e.g. giving the wrong title of a publication. Mistakes should be acknowledged and rectified as soon as possible. Formal committee business should never be shared via social media channels during or following meetings. The organisation has an email policy for staff which sets out the behaviour expected to ensure legal and other standards are met. The same criteria apply to communication on social media sites. Disciplinary action could be instigated by lack of adherence to this policy. Page 13
  14. 14. BAOT/COT Social Media User Guidance September 2, 2010 11. Managing risk – Technical and IT risks The main issue is the potential introduction of viruses and malware to the organisational network, which can be guarded against with appropriate controls and filtering, maintained by the IT suppliers. Our IT supplier should monitor security incidents regularly to identify any technical risks that may arise from the use of social media sites. Although social media and email provide possible entry for technology risks such as malware and viruses, these risks are increased primarily due to lack of employee understanding of risky behavior. The Information Systems Audit and Control Association ( ISACA) paper referenced below notes that any strategy to address the potential risks of social media usage should first focus on user behaviour. Key areas it notes are: Personal use in the workplace: – Whether it is allowed – The nondisclosure/posting of business-related content – The discussion of workplace-related topics – Inappropriate sites, content or conversations Personal use outside the workplace: – The nondisclosure/posting of business-related content – Standard disclaimers if identifying the employer – The dangers of posting too much personal information Business use: – Whether it is allowed – The process to gain approval for use – The scope of topics or information permitted to flow through this channel – Disallowed activities (installation of applications, playing games, etc.–The escalation process for customer issues (ISACA 2010) Refer to the document Social Media: Business Benefits and Security, Governance and Assurance Perspectives. ISACA. 2010 for more details about risks and risk mitigation. Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) As an independent, nonprofit, global association, ISACA engages in the development, adoption and use of globally accepted, industry-leading knowledge and practices for information systems. For information about technical and IT risks of using social media contact Daniel Brown Objective Services Limited m: 07970 066848 t: 01252 345399 Page 14
  15. 15. BAOT/COT Social Media User Guidance September 2, 2010 12. Managing risk - negative comments about BAOT/COT A healthy organisation can deal constructively with criticism. However, it should be born in mind that the majority of comments on our social media channels are supportive. Negative comments are more likely in the member-only forums on the BAOT/COT website than on social media channels. There are a number of members who are active in the forums who regularly criticise BAOT/COT. There are also a number of Council members who are also active in the forums, and our social media channels, who are used to dealing with these criticisms. People should deal with criticisms in a professional and appropriate manner and follow these steps: 1. Do not delete criticisms as this provokes accusations of censorship and looks defensive. 2. Don’t take the criticism personally. 3. Keep your language simple and conversational. 4. Reply within 24 hours of noticing the criticism. 5. Inform your line manager 6. Don’t respond immediately if the comment has triggered your emotions. 7. Supply any relevant information which might address the issue, or link to the appropriate information on the BAOT/COT website. 8. Speak to the Web Communications Officer or the Web Manager and your line manager if in doubt about how to proceed. Page 15
  16. 16. BAOT/COT Social Media User Guidance September 2, 2010 Example: On 5 May Julia Skelton requested that the ’Joint position statement on 'occupational physiotherapist' launched’ be announced on BAOT/COT’s Facebook page. 13 users responded to the statement and some criticised COT, while others expressed confusion and asked questions. Page 16
  17. 17. BAOT/COT Social Media User Guidance September 2, 2010 On 6 May Julia Skelton provided a response, clarifying the original statement, which was met with 27 users responding with a ‘like’, which is a Facebook approval rating. One of the most vocal critics of COT reversed her response. Julia Skelton’s comments clarifying the joint statement were also added to the website feature about the joint statement. The exchange of information – and the result of turning criticism into praise – demonstrates how well members respond when the organisation responds promptly to their questions and concerns. This exchange, which is made simple through Facebook, also demonstrates to all other Facebook fans that the organisation is interested in feedback and will respond in a professional, helpful way. Page 17
  18. 18. BAOT/COT Social Media User Guidance September 2, 2010 13. Managing risk - inappropriate comments made by users From BBC Guidance: use of social networking, microblogs and other third party websites: ‘The responsibility for measures of protection and intervention [on social networking sites such as Facebook] lies first with the social network itself. We should never set out to duplicate measures of protection and intervention which the social networking site already takes e.g. against illegal or against harmful and offensive content, whether by using its own staff or by working with the community to alert them to breaches of the site’s terms and conditions.’ (p. 4) All users of social media agree to terms and conditions which prohibit inappropriate comments. All profiles are public and this encourages good behaviour: anyone who posted something inappropriate would expose themselves to criticism and censure by other users. For the purpose of users creating content on our our Terms and Conditions of Use define inappropriate use as: 1. libels, defames, or is obscene, pornographic, abusive or threatening. 2. infringes the intellectual property rights of any other person including (without limitation) infringing any person's copyright or trademark. 3. is illegal. 4. advocates illegal activity. 5. advertises or solicits funds or is a solicitation for or offer to supply goods or services unless approved by us (together "Non-Approved Items"). If any comment falls under any of the above categories, the comment is deleted and the Web Communications Officer sends the person a private message stating why their comment or post was deleted. If you see an inappropriate comment in the forums: 1. Inform the web team who will delete the comment and block the user if appropriate. If you see an inappropriate comment on one of our social media channels: 1. Inform the web team who will delete the comment and block the user if appropriate. Page 18
  19. 19. BAOT/COT Social Media User Guidance September 2, 2010 14. Branding consistency All BAOT/COT’s official social media channels display the official logo and corporate colour, specified by the Design Officer. URLs (web addresses) are customised to appear as ‘baotcot’ (i.e. and When written in full the organisation is identified in its social media channels as British Association and College of Occupational Therapists, which is identified consistently across all channels as ‘the professional body for occupational therapy staff in the United Kingdom’. Company overview in social media channels always refers to the copy on the page on the website entitled About BAOT/COT Example: BAOT/COT’s Facebook page COT staff avatars (profile pictures) profiles reflect professional images and role information present on the corporate contact page Page 19
  20. 20. BAOT/COT Social Media User Guidance September 2, 2010 Example: Genevieve Smyth’s contact information on the COT website and her professional profile on Facebook Page 20
  21. 21. i