Brands told to check their Facebook pages at least once a day

Brands will still be held responsible for comments by the public on their Facebook pages after the Australian Association of National Advertisers resisted pressure to change its definition of advertising.

The AANA issued new guidance today on what it considers best practice for brands in the digital space. It tells brands they should monitor their Facebook pages at least once a day – and more often just after posting content. It also says that brand owners whose communities comment at weekends and public holidays should “monitor periodically during these periods also”.

The move comes three months after the Advertising Standards Board rules that brands had to take responsibility for comments made on their pages.

That ruling was in response made on a Smirnoff brand page. However, several brands have come under fire over content from the public in recent weeks.

Last month Zoo Weekly published a shot of the top half of a woman’s body and and a pair of legs.

left or right zoo weekly

The comments from the public – which drew the attention of campaigner Melinda Tankard Reist – would now be covered by the ruling. Mumbrella understands that the ASB has been looking at the case although no ruling has yet been published.

Zoo comments

The AANA’s acting CEO Alina Bain said: “The suggestion that applying the Codes and ASB adjudications to social media demands that brand owners should moderate their pages in real time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week is also complete nonsense.

“The reality is that irrespective of the ASB’s determination, any brand owner, who understands and wishes to manage reputational risk, should be adopting these practices. The community absolutely expects that brand owners should aspire to the same ethical standards in the digital space as they do in mainstream media. Brand owners who do not exercise reasonable care over what is posted and allowed to remain on their social media pages are hostage to fortune and such behaviour is simply anathema to sound brand management and good corporate governance.

“The publication of these guidelines is aligned to formalised practices that most AANA members already have in place. We hope their publication will put to rest any fear that applying the AANA Codes to social media will make the medium difficult territory for brands. The guidelines are consistent with the spirit of social media and their application will assist rather than impede real dialogue.”

According to today’s guidance from the AANA:

“The ‘best practice’ guidelines advise brand owners to monitor their social media sites in the hours immediately following a brand communication that is likely to elicit consumer responses and thereafter at least once every 24 hours during the normal working week. It also advises brand owners whose social media communities are likely to be particularly active at weekends and on public holidays to monitor periodically during these periods also.”


  1. Susan
    26 Nov 12
    12:31 pm

  2. Just plain common sense to check pages every day. I’m sometimes amazed how common sense seems so wanting in the world of social media.

  3. Leslie
    26 Nov 12
    12:38 pm

  4. If you’re going to call something a “complete nonsense” you should be able to articulate why it’s a complete nonsense.

    For what it’s worth, nonsense isn’t a synonym for inconvenient.

  5. Téa
    26 Nov 12
    12:39 pm

  6. Surely for any social media team, risk planning and crisis management is already part of their job?

    And if they aren’t checking it or monitoring, measuring and managing anyway… well… it’s a disaster waiting to happen, irrespective of AANA’s position.

  7. Téa
    26 Nov 12
    12:48 pm

  8. This also assumes that people are manually monitoring it with one or two people in front of a computer. That base assumption about social media engagement being the responsibility may have been the case 5 years ago… but now… it is integrated into a team, with tools to manage it and plan for urgent responses when required.

    I for one am happy that this is occurring, because maybe, finally, social media and it’s challenges will be considered more than just about the creative and the engagement. and actually be considered as part of an entire business… HR, Marketing, Legal, IT… I’m glad to see the discussion maturing beyond “how to make viral videos & talk to customers”

  9. Lone Wolfpack
    26 Nov 12
    1:35 pm

  10. I’m lucky to work for an organisation that realises that social media sits across HR, Marketing, Legal, & IT. Not just in isolation in the comms or marketing team.

    But even when working for a large corporate the responsibility still sits solely on one person to manage all of it. The idea of a team sounds great but I’d like to know how many large organisations have teams dedicated to it.

  11. Ben Coverdale
    26 Nov 12
    1:39 pm

  12. Alternatively, you could save the time and money by having a few public apologies drafted. It worked for Vile Kyle, Tiger Woods and Allen Jones. I mean really, if those guys are still in business, most agencies have very little to be worried about.

  13. Kimberley
    26 Nov 12
    1:42 pm

  14. Agree with the above that daily monitoring and engagement should already be standard for brand pages. Perhaps the most value from a ruling will be the value it adds to the role of social media teams and the importance of quality community management.

  15. Alison Michalk
    26 Nov 12
    1:53 pm

  16. It’s been a long time coming but brands (and agencies) need to better resource for community management. David Armano and Jeremiah Owyang have long touted People>Platforms>Process as the order of priorities for social business, and the smart brands will take note. It’s no longer enough to check the page even a few times a day, but to have a community engagement strategy that’s distinct, but aligned to business objectives. There’s far too few ‘Community Managers’ who even understand the basic principles of community building and this is going to be tested when Facey ramps up its focus on peer-to-peer interactions.

  17. Good moron
    26 Nov 12
    1:57 pm

  18. How about brands check their Facebook page daily for patronising and infantile posts too?

  19. Téa
    26 Nov 12
    1:57 pm

  20. @Lone Wolfpack — I think that that is the point — so many (in fact the vast majority) have not matured in their thinking about the social web and its impact… you are very fortunate to be in the minority that sees the broader impact… but yeah, that’s been our big struggle, to get them thinking beyond just marketing & comms/PR and into an all-of-business model.

    @Kimberley I agree – I hope that this can be the trigger for business to think just beyond the brand, and to the other aspects of community management, customer experience… and even collaboration… exciting times.

  21. macsmutterings
    26 Nov 12
    2:55 pm

  22. Really…. Someone has to TELL them to check it once a day!?

  23. bob is a rabbit
    26 Nov 12
    3:11 pm

  24. Is it just me or does ‘community management’ and being a part of a ‘social media team’ sound like the most un-fun job in our industry? It’s been portrayed as ‘sexy’ (because its relatively newish for brands AND its digital) while also being something the kids could claim a keener (than anyone with marketing experience) understanding of – and thus get a leg-up in the industry. But at the end of the day, it’s just a channel. And a very noisy one. Sure there’s an art to it, but I can’t imagine ever waking up and thinking “Today I’m gonna manage the shit out of our social media!”.

    Now watch me get slapped!

  25. Rob
    26 Nov 12
    3:47 pm

  26. Sorry, what’s the problem with the Zoo posts? How do they differ from the content published throughout that particular magazine… which is on sale in many retail outlets.

    Aren’t the standards of the individual brand’s community what’s in play here, not some esoteric moral standard from the likes of MTR?

    Likely outcome here with the readiness of the outraged brigade to lead to over-regulation is a widespread pull-out of brands from social as the dubious commercial benefits will be outweighed by the potential downside of taking responsibility for anyone in a brand’s orbit.

  27. rknell
    26 Nov 12
    3:59 pm

  28. Smack Bob! How dare you suggest that social media is all hype?

  29. MikeZed
    26 Nov 12
    5:57 pm

  30. Thanks for publishing the actual standards – they don’t seem to be on either the AANA’s site or the ASB site at the time of this comment – only the press release.

  31. Mocial Sedia
    26 Nov 12
    9:46 pm

  32. It makes me sigh when I see a corporates Facebook page full of disgruntled customer’s comments. The brand’s social media team is busy beavering away trying to put out all the fires that are in full view of the world. (I am not sire how that team sleep at night knowing the sheer amount of cr@p they have to deal with when they get into work in the morning?)

    Hey big corporate brands! Improve your product, pricing, customer service erm? “experience” and guess what your Facebook page will be covered in love.

    I guess it is hard to offer a nice experience, when you are so huge (then again a few do manage it…) don’t they?

    Any company with “how to complain” somewhere on their website are mugging off their customers – simples.

  33. Angela
    3 Dec 12
    9:18 pm

  34. Do they really need to come up with guidelines about having to check your branding on a regular basis? If you’re paying someone to do social media for you, they should already be doing this anyway.

    rknell, many businesses still don’t get social media. Someone I know recently went to a social media course for their industry (it was a mandatory part of their coursework) and apparently everyone was vehemently against the use of social media as a marketing tool for that entire industry!