Social Media Policy & Converting Influence into Action


Last week ADMA held our 2nd Lunch n’ Learn for Members at ADMA HQ on the topic of Managing Social Media Policy and Converting Influence into Action.

ADMA’s Head of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs, Melina Rohan discussed the value of a social connection with your customer. Rohan discussed what a social plan should look like when everything comes together, and discusses four key points based on “Social Commerce Lessons. The 6 Social Principles that Increase Sales”, including:

  • Social Media activities – like sharing and recommendations – drive sales
  • 90% of all purchase are subject to social influence
  • 90% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know
  • 67% spend more online after seeing recommendations

Rohan also discussed how social connection increases the likelihood of a fan to purchase by as much as 51%. She also made an interesting point that “adding sharing features to a product can increase the spread of awareness by 346% with ‘Likes’ and 98% with ‘Send to a Friend’”.

Many organisations have advocated that the above works, including American Eagle who reported their “Like” Button brought them customers that bought 57% more on average than non-Facebook referrals.

There are many great potential benefits to social media, but equally as many negatives – if not more – which organisations need to stay current on. Rohan discussed items including “potential damage to corporate reputation, potential release of commercially sensitive information (intellectual property, early disclosure of products)” and the complications of “unauthorised release of consumer information” along with other legal considerations.

The main one for many organisations appears to be more basic, and how to overcome and adapt to the paradigm shifts in social conversation from formal to interactive. It’s hard to hide or lie in a social environment, harder given that there is enormous transparency in the social world, and customers’ communication to each other can spread globally within minutes.

Rohan discussed a few international and closer to home examples of social media planning and policy going wrong, including public servants pay being docked by 5% over a 12 month period over Facebook comments that they made out of office, and out of work time. Is this right?  The tough thing for a lot of organisations is how to manage challenges like these? A social media policy doesn’t hold all the answers, but it’s a good start because it helps to reduce the risk of your organisation engaging in unwarranted social media, it guides employees and allows them to use social media in an empowered way.

However Rohan stresses a social media policy should not be done in isolation, and ‘should be part of a broader communications strategy, incorporating organisational values and governance’. Rohan recommends redefining premises under which your organisation operates in terms of confidentiality, privacy and openness, transparency and information policies.  She recommends “training” and “social media tool kits” as great ways to help bring staff up to speed.


  1. Personal use of social media during work hours
  2. How should employees reference the company in a personal and professional capacity?
  3. How issues should be escalated and to whom?
  4. What business based content can employees share in social media platforms. If talking about the company how to employees represent themselves as an employee?
  5. Who is responsible for the social media policy?
  6. Will the CEO send out the social media policy?
  7. Tone of voice
  8. Response times


  • Defamation
  • Fair trading
  • Privacy
  • Copyright, Trademarks and Intellectual
  • Property (Patents and Designs)

Rohan says that ‘companies should act with integrity at ALL times’ and need to be mindful of 3 key elements when thinking about SM policy:

1. Respect

  • Act with integrity at all times
  • Comply with company’s code of conduct and other policies
  • Be accurate, be fair, be thorough
  • Treat people as you would like to be treated
  • No discriminatory comments
  • Encourage constructive criticism
  • Be cordial, honest and professional at all times
  • Respect other’s rights to different points of view
  • Avoid sensitive subjects (politics, religion)

2. Excellence

  • What you post on the web will be there forever and reflects on you as an individual and on the organisation
  • Always try to add value by providing worthwhile information and new perspectives
  • If in doubt about a blog or comment don’t post it until you are happy with it

3. Responsibility

  • Employees are personally responsible for the content  that they publish online and can be personally liable for any posts
  • Read and understand the terms of a social media platform before you use it
  • Be mindful of what you publish, specify if you are or are not speaking on behalf of the company
  • Comply with the privacy policy of your organisation
  • Post a link to your company’s privacy policy on your organisations’ social media profiles
  • Implement additional safeguards if you are interacting with minors.

Melina Rohan is the Director of Regulatory and Corporate Affairs for ADMA. To view the ADMA Model Social Media Policy visit ADMA Dialogue.

Our 3rd Lunch n’ Learn will take place on Friday 18 May on the topic of Multi-Channel Marketing. This is a FREE lunch for all ADMA Members. Register your interest to attend today.

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