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Social Media Rules of Engagement
By: Doug Bedell
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Mike Smiley, of PAPA Advertising, calls them guidelines. We call them rules -- for engaging in social media. That's because Smiley's principles outline a relational stance that's crucial to maintain in conducting online dialogues -- honest, responsive, non-defensive and compliant.

Here they are (Smiley states them, of course, in more detail):

1. Be transparent – Be forthright about where you work and who your are. 

2. Be honest – Never represent your organization in a false or misleading way.  

3. Be a contributor – Use social media to open a dialogue.

4. Be compliant –  Observe the corporate rules you're working under.

5. Be the expert – Provide perspectives born of professional experience.

6. Be civil – Keep the discussion polite despite possibly differing opinions. 

7. Be diplomatic –  Be correct and well-founded in writing about competitors.

8. Be discreet – Don't  comment on legal matters, litigation or parties related to them.

9. Be cognizant –  Be well-informed about your company and don't comment on what might be a crisis situation.

10.  Be cautious – Protect yourself, your privacy and your company's confidential information.

If anyone doubts that social media is a discipline, one requiring training and professionalism to conduct profitably, Smiley's principles are timely correctives. 

“These 10 guidelines are just the beginning,” Smiley notes. “They can be used as a starting point for your social media campaign, but remember it’s all about what’s right for you and your company.”

Again, we'd call them rules -- ones for learning and growing in a new media setting.


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About the Author
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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