Iliyana's Blog

The New Social Media Best Practice Guide

[fa icon="calendar"] 09-Dec-2013 07:32:51 / by Iliyana Stareva

Even though social mediaCIPR Social Media Best Practice Guide 2013 has been around for a decade, for many companies it still feels like the “Wild Wild West”. Although maturing, the path to becoming a true social business by fully embracing disruptive technology seems just as challenging now as it did a few years back. According to the latest 'The State of Social Business 2013' report by Altimeter Group businesses are still unsure about the role social media plays for their enterprises, beyond just using it for marketing and communications.

How I see it though is that even when it comes to marketing and comms purposes social media is still a nascent area for companies, especially for small businesses.

For those struggling to embrace social media, here’s where the CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations – the UK professional body for PR practitioners) comes to help.

Just last Friday the CIPR’s social media advisory panel (#CIPRSM) revealed an updated version of its Social Media Best Practice Guide. It’s a 30-page free document that covers core principles of social media and offers advice on dos and don’ts, planning, legal and security considerations and measurement.

The first version of the guidelines was published back in 2011. But as we all know, the social media landscape is changing all the time, so communications professionals are required to ‘evolve’ with it too and continue to develop their digital knowledge and skills. This is why this new update comes very promptly.

Important to note is that the framework is not a one-size-fits-all solution, as such does not exist in the realm of social media – every company is unique and its social media strategy and activities should be tailored toward its very own objectives and organisational characteristics. Nevertheless, the guide is still very, very useful for those starting with social media or for those wanting to better manage their social media programmes.

Here are some things that I found particularly useful:

#1 The CIPRSM panel defines social media as:

“Social media is the term commonly given to Internet and mobile-based channels and tools that allow users to interact with each other and share opinions and content. As the name implies, social media involves the building of communities or networks and encouraging participation and engagement.”

#2 A great dos and don’ts list that should be applied to social media activity and engagement (I thought visualising it in an image might make it easier to grasp instead of just listing the advice as text):

(Click on the image for a larger view)

The Dos and Don’ts of Social Media

#3 And another important topic – the key areas to consider when planning your social media strategy and activities:

  • Setting aims and objectives
  • Defining audiences
  • Gathering insights
  • Defining resource
  • Governance and security
  • Creating content
  • Managing social platforms
  • Measuring and evaluating success
  • Creating an ongoing knowledge and evaluation loop


I’ve embedded the guide below, so you can read the whole document straight from there.

Also, there are other useful guides and toolkits on the CIPR website (for example on social media monitoring or the use of Wikipedia for PR), so make sure you check them out too.


What do you think about the guide? Did you find it useful?

Image from CIPR Social Media Best Practice Guide

Topics: Social Media

Iliyana Stareva

Written by Iliyana Stareva

Having gathered years of agency experience in PR and social media consultancies in Germany and in the UK, Iliyana Stareva is now a Channel Consultant at HubSpot. She spends her free time blogging, helping students with their PR dissertations and career aspirations, and consulting professionals on their social media and sustainability efforts.

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