Artisan Marketing Communications offers clients PR and marketing communications advice, practical support and implementation.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Chartered Institute of Public Relations issues social media best practice guidelines

The CIPR has issued its first guidelines for members engaged in social media.

It seems a good introduction and does not pretend to have all the answers.

On my initial readings I have two areas of concern.

Firstly, it is, as you would expect, written for PR professionals. It does not seem to get over the character and special nature of social media. The idea of community, sharing and interaction does not feature as prominently as it should. There is no discussion of how it is changing PR, media and business. However, it would be fair to say its focus is probably right; it is all about giving PRs some rules to work within so they do not tarnish the image of the profession and can work without severe consequences.

Secondly and of more concern, the CIPR Code of Conduct states for its competence principle in relation to social media that: "Members should, in this area as in others, be aware of the limitations of their professional competence, and should therefore be willing to accept or delegate only that work for which they are suitably skilled and experienced."

I have heard from sources, often throwaway comments, that some PRs claim to offer online PR and the sources are sure they do not to a high standard. Many marketing agencies offer the full service and use contractors to fill in gaps or are significantly weaker in some areas that a client is not aware of. It's nothing new, but it can cause a lot of problems for the profession.

The key principle, for buyers, is to make sure whatever marketing or PR service you choose you make sure your supplier can deliver what they say they can.


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