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Public Relations Tips for Ethics Month (and Every Month)

PRSA web appDid you know September is Ethics Awareness Month at Public Relations Society of America? To highlight the importance of adhering to an ethical code in our work throughout the year, PRSA has made “Ethics Every Day” the theme for the month this year. We all know ethics should be a part of our everyday routine, but it may not always be something that we work toward purposefully. Ethical lines and gray areas can grow especially hazy when interacting with audiences on social media channels. As the social media landscape rapidly evolves, it’s vital to have strategic guidelines for real-time response, content management and an approval process at your company or agency.

In PRSA’s Ethical Standards Advisory ESA-20, issued this month, the Board of Ethics and Professional Standards tackled the heady task of incorporating ethics in social media marketing. We encourage you to take the time to read over this advisory and apply it in your work. Here are some key takeaways as they relate to social media:

- Disclosure: Be transparent with full disclosures of background, affiliations and sponsorships to viewers, users and other stakeholders.

PRSA box fold out

- Safeguarding confidences: Protect confidential information and adhere to rules and guidelines of proper disclosure of information. Know when and when not to post. If you’re unsure, seek guidance and approval from legal counsel or appropriate authority.

- Free flow of information: Develop guidelines for sponsored content.

Be sure to visit PRSA’s Ethics Month site, where you can find thoughtful resources ethics. It has links to this month’s PRSAY ethics blogs, a schedule of #PREthics Twitter chats, a free webinar later this month, a link to the PRSA Ethics Quiz and even a free PRSA Ethics app available in the Android Market and the App Store. Plus, don’t miss the Ethical Essential Ingredients printable cut and fold box you can keep on your desk as a reminder or a just a great conversation starter!

Photo Credit: Social Media Outsourcer - Anderson Brian; PRSA Ethics app and Ethical Essentials Ingredients