The past few years have been revolutionary for PR and communications. We’ve seen changes in our approach and in new technologies that allow us to share, collaborate and connect directly with our constituents. For me, 2011 will be a year to dig in, making sure that our organizations have embraced the changes and are better prepared to deal with new ways of sharing communication, with the ability to monitor conversations as they occur.
One critical area, which demands attention, and where we should dig in more, focuses on monitoring and maintaining a record of social media conversations. Now, many organizations may feel that this is only reserved to those companies that have to adhere to Public Record laws, such as healthcare companies. However, reading an article called “Tools to Help Companies Manage Their Social Media,” in The New York Times, makes me think otherwise. The article discusses how, “if three years from now somebody comes and says, ‘I need every Facebook post, every tweet …’” Are you prepared to accommodate this request?
It wouldn’t surprise me if, in most cases, you said, “no, we don’t have that data archived,” or “well, let me see if my monitoring platform can pull together that information from the past.” These are not the answers that your legal team wants to hear, should the company be facing a lawsuit regarding specific content posted on one of your social networking sites. It’s better to be prepared and to understand the access that you have to archiving and/or the limitations before the legal team inquires.
The article is our wake up call and being in communications and a part of the reputation management team, we have to make it our business to have certain technologies in place. If we are the team that guides strategic communication, curates the content and is responsible for monitoring the results of the social outreach and the sharing of information, then we have to have a better answer in place.
When you are in your strategy and planning phase and you know exactly where the employees of your company will be communicating on social sites, then you need to make sure you select the proper monitoring and tracking platforms; ones that will allow you to archive at certain intervals. I just recently learned that one of our clients platforms will archive (by PDF) up to 175 posts and 1,000 comments on their Facebook wall, before we have to pay additional fees to upgrade our package. Ask now to protect the brand later.
Based on this article, I think we will see some sophisticated archiving tools in the future that will help us to manage the communications better and to feel prepared to furnish the “can I have the last three months of posts and comments” request with ease and with speed!