The mad rush to build a Facebook presence by brands can only be compared to the great Californian gold rush. Companies en mass either have one thriving, are building one or are in discussions with their agencies on the best ways to present themselves on Facebook.
The recent move by the Advertising Standards Board has determined that not only the content which an organisation publishes on their social media pages, but the comments and discussion that follows will be included and will be subject to the standards. In social media land, the sharing and commenting on content by an organisations followers are the very wheels by which the engagement takes place with their audience, so this is a major development which could have a profound impact on social strategies.
No longer can an organisation sit idly by and watch the discussion about their brand. Failure to intervene and correct misinformation can (and will) be found to be a contravention of the standards and significant fines might be applied. Comments left on an organisations social media presences can be found to constitute advertising, even if they do not belong to the organisation.
So what should the organisation do? Well first, it will be to create a clear set of guidelines for their audience to work with. There is nothing more annoying to people to have their content removed resulting from some rules that they were never made aware of or given access to.
Second would be to complete a review of the comments on pages so far and apply the standards (and rules) to those comments. While some organisations will likely take a draconian approach and conduct blanket removals (and irritate their readership), it would be advisable to provide some communications on what is happening and why the steps must be taken. This is in line with one of the cardinal rules of social media – be up front and engage the audience.
What do you think?