One size does not fit all. And the rapidly evolving nature of social media means agencies need to keep up with the pace.
'Social media policies need to be living entities,' says Diffusion MD Daljit Bhurji. 'There should be a process to allow incremental changes and additions to policy, but formal cross-department reviews taking a more strategic view should take place on a quarterly basis or in response to significant changes.' Policies also need to be updated regularly to fit in with new technologies and regulations affecting particular sectors.
The healthcare PR sector is subject to stringent regulations and these translate to social media. 'I sometimes wonder if there is a tendency to hide behind the UK code of practice for the pharma industry, rather than addressing the thorny issue,' says Fiona McMillan, corporate brand and comms manager at Bristol-Myers Squibb. 'But as an industry we are slowly moving away from a reliance on proprietary websites towards a situation where we develop valuable content on disease awareness, treatment or prevention, which can sit in a whole variety of locations on the web.'
Financial PR companies may soon find themselves having to update their social media policies to accommodate proposed new regulations on clamping down on leaks.
However, as Edelman director of strategy, Stefan Stern, says, it is vital to ensure before making changes that clarity on the proposed regulation adjustments has been reached in order for the policy to be updated appropriately.
Stern says: 'There is a real dilemma here.
Until it becomes clear how the FSA intends to pursue the question of market-sensitive information, it will be hard to draw up practical social media guidelines.'
Is it tailored and up to date?