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AIA Social Media Program

Goals | Roles and Responsibilities | Using AIA Social Media Tools | Establishing an AIA Social Tool | Facilitating an AIA Social Media Site | Engaging Our Audience | Evaluation

The American Institute of Architects embraces the use of social media to advance conversations about the architecture profession. These conversations bring added value to the AIA’s members, readers, followers, fans, and users and enhance the AIA goals of serving as an authoritative source and a credible voice for the profession.

The AIA offers several official channels in which AIA members and staff (national, state, and local) can network with each other and advance conversations about the architecture profession, including blogs and discussion forums on AIA KnowledgeNet and social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Foursquare.

With each of these channels, there are some inherent liability risks for the AIA, such as misinterpreted or inappropriate comments. To help mitigate the risks, AIA members and national and component staff who comment on an external third-party site must follow the community guidelines set by the owners of the particular site (e.g., Facebook and LinkedIn). In the case of internally hosted sites (e.g., AIA KnowledgeNet), the following announcement must appear:

    All information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. The American Institute of Architects makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

Our Program Goals
The goals for the AIA social media program are to

  • advance conversation about the architecture profession and create community among AIA members
  • serve as an authoritative source and credible voice on architecture-related information/issues
  • expose members to relevant, appropriate content on the AIA Web site and other online platforms

Roles and Responsibilities

The AIA Communications team’s director of social media has oversight of the AIA social media program. From sharing strategies, results, and key insights to monitoring terms of use on external social media sites, coordinating postings, monitoring online conversations, and training AIA staff on the use of social media tools, the director of social media is responsible for applying best practices in successful implementation of the AIA social media program.

AIA National Staff
You may be interested in participating in online conversations for professional reasons or may be asked by their supervisor to participate in support of an AIA program or initiative. The AIA trusts you to use good judgment in your online activity provided you review the Policy on Staff Use of Social Media, which requires staff to:

  • Disclose who you are, your role at the AIA, and whether the posting is representing an official position of the AIA
  • Include a disclaimer that the views are your own and not those of the AIA (e.g., The views expressed on this __________ are mine and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer, the American Institute of Architects.)
  • Always be truthful
  • Avoid off-topic commentary for self-promotion
  • Respect copyright, fair use, and antitrust laws (see AIA Staff Handbook for information on antitrust)
  • Protect AIA members, vendors, and affiliated groups; seek their permission before citing or referencing them
  • Do not disclose confidential or proprietary information and avoid any conflicts of interest
  • Respect your audience and coworkers; avoid derogatory remarks

The ability to publish a comment that may never go away and can be forwarded endlessly gives us pause—and we hope it does you, too. The AIA’s reputation, as well as your own, is in your hands.

Using AIA Social Media Tools
The AIA brand is best represented by its members and supported by AIA national and component staff. Everything you publish reflects the AIA brand. Our use of the AIA social media and networking sites should

  • Foster the AIA mission and goals
  • Help our members in their practice or career
  • Improve members’ knowledge or skills
  • Build a sense of community through a relationship with the AIA
  • Promote AIA core values

Establishing an AIA Social Media Vehicle

To ensure that the goals of a proposed new AIA social media vehicle (e.g., a new blog, LinkedIn group, or Facebook account) align with the AIA strategic goals, its purpose must be reviewed by the director of social media.

If you wish to create a new AIA social networking site (or become a regular contributor to a site), seek approval from your managing director before approaching the director of social media with your proposal. Because of the time commitment required to develop and/or maintain a social media vehicle or presence, your managing director can help you prioritize your work.

If a new site is approved, the director of social media will work with the design staff to ensure the site adheres to AIA brand guidelines. Adhering to the guidelines will ensure that it is clear to our audience that they are visiting an authorized AIA site.

Under no circumstance should you establish a new social media or networking site (for professional or personal use) and display the AIA logo and URL without prior approval.

Facilitating an AIA Social Media Site

Every official AIA social media or social networking site must have a full-time, national staff person as its official facilitator (members and contractors may not serve as facilitators). If you facilitate a site and leave the AIA, either voluntarily or through termination, you must transition your role as facilitator of the site to another team member approved by your supervisor.


  • Post content on a regular, frequent basis (e.g., posting a blog or forum thread on a weekly basis; posting a daily or weekly tweet; posting new content to Facebook or LinkedIn at least weekly)
  • Facilitate meaningful conversations; members and the general public want to learn about the AIA and the architecture profession and we want to learn from them
  • Monitor conversations daily (see Monitoring)
  • Respond in a timely manner to a query (i.e., within 24 hours), when appropriate, or forward a query to an appropriate colleague for response

In addition, the AIA does not provide any compensation, rewards, samples, gifts, or incentives for guest bloggers or other contributors.

The director of social media will periodically provide an orientation presentation that covers the AIA social media policy and how social media contributes to AIA goals; the orientation is available to all national and component staff and designated representatives (e.g., guest bloggers).

Engaging Our Audience Using Social Media
How we engage with our readers, followers, fans, and users is integral to the success of the AIA social media program:

  • Strive to have open and honest conversations
  • Correct inaccurate or misleading content quickly (to foster transparency, avoid deleting posts unless they violate our policies)
  • Protect coworkers, members, partners, and customers by not commenting on financial, confidential, proprietary, management changes, lawsuits, contractual agreements, and other offending issues
  • Use good judgment in protecting personal and official information and in respecting our readers’, fans’, followers’, and users’ privacy
  • Link to relevant content on the AIA web site; help your audience discover more of what we have to offer

See Policy on Staff Use of Social Media for more details for your expected behavior when engaging our audience. In a spirit of fairness and transparency, the AIA has also posted the expected behavior of our audience on the Community Conduct page.

An Open Dialogue
The AIA supports an open dialogue and exchange of ideas among individuals, both members and nonmembers, to advance knowledge sharing among architecture practitioners. Comments may be posted to most social media and social networking sites without prior review and approval. National staff facilitators of social media vehicles, however, must monitor the conversations daily to ensure comments are productive, informative, respectful of diverse viewpoints, and comply with our policies. Facilitators and/or the director of social media will delete any comment that violates our policies.

Constructive criticism is part of an open dialogue. The AIA welcomes comments suggesting issues needing improvement; and we will respond in a timely manner. If content or comments are positive or negative and in context to the conversation, the AIA will allow the post, regardless of whether it's favorable or unfavorable to the AIA.

We will not, however, allow content or comments that are spam, inappropriate, defamatory, profane, or otherwise in violation of our policies. (See Community Conduct for our expectations of our users.) If a comment or posting is questionable, the staff facilitator and/or MVC’s director of social media will review it. The AIA has the right to remove a comment or posting. Whenever any content or comments are removed, the AIA General Counsel will be alerted and the removal will be noted in the quarterly report to senior management. (See also Strategy for Responding on AIA Social Media Channels.)

In all cases, the AIA acknowledges that the comments of national and component staff, guest bloggers, members, and visitors reflect their personal thoughts and opinions, which may not necessarily be those held by the AIA.

Monitoring content on a social site can add value by maintaining content organization (in the case of a blog, for example) and responding to ongoing queries. Monitoring a blog may also help national staff facilitate conflicting contributions in order to further advance a conversation. Quick responses help our audience continually engage with us and build credibility.

Monitoring of online conversations will be facilitated with social media monitoring software. Staff facilitators will monitor their individual sites daily to ensure conversations are productive, informative, respectful of diverse viewpoints, and conform to our policies. Monitoring also allows a staff facilitator to quickly delete a spam or offensive comment.

The AIA rules for online community participation are posted to the AIA Web site. Should a reader, follower, fan, or user post an offensive comment or one that violates our policies, the AIA reserves the right to delete the comment or posting. In these instances, the staff facilitator or director of social media must inform the user that the comment was deleted and, in an attempt to demonstrate fairness and integrity, allow the user to submit an edited comment, following our community guidelines. The goal of monitoring conversations is to guide and nurture and the user should be notified as follows:

    Your comment does not comply with community rules of conduct of the American Institute of Architects. We invite your participation in a productive, professional exchange of information and we encourage you to review our Community Conduct for guidance. If, after reviewing our rules of conduct, you wish to resubmit a comment, please do so in a professional manner.

If the AIA is unable to contact the user because of lack of contact information, the national staff facilitator or director of social media will delete the offending comment and post a comment informing users why the comment was deleted.


Evaluation is a necessary part of the AIA social media program to determine the impact of our outreach. The director of social media will review and evaluate each social media site for performance against the site’s intended goals and objectives as well as level of engagement, “buzz,” and positioning.

Metrics reports will be submitted quarterly to senior management documenting the site’s performance. Metrics will be reviewed monthly and compared to sites’ performance quarterly and annually to determine our share of the online conversations.

Sunsetting a Site

As a standard best practice, it is sensible to discontinue a site (e.g., timed events or lack of participation, interest, or resources). The staff facilitator should alert users to the timing of the site shutdown. A site should never be branded and neglected, thereby diminishing the AIA brand.

Updated June 2011


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