A social media policy approved by the Cleveland County commissioners Monday doesn't go far enough to promote the area or its business community, one commissioner said.

"It's fine that we have a policy but there's no direction for the Cleveland County social media," Commissioner Rod Cleveland said. "There's no strategy promoting the county." He said the sheriff's office has a public information officer who shares some posts, but that is it for the county.

Cleveland asked a series of questions to his fellow commissioners and those attending Monday's regularly-scheduled meeting.

"What do we want to promote, how often do we post? Do we want to promote Cleveland County government offices only or Cleveland County as a whole? What is the communication plan?" he asked.

Cleveland also posed questions connected to the creation of a public relations position at the county or outsourcing the work to a professional public relations firm. John Roberts currently serves as the county's public information officer. Roberts did not return a telephone call for comment.

"We have some money available to create a position like that to promote Cleveland County" Cleveland said. "We need to have a game plan if we want to outsource or keep it in-house. Otherwise, what we did today is just approving a policy with no plan."

The policy states the commissioners shall select individuals and give them the authority to approve and post content on a "strictly informational nature" on all social media platforms maintained by the county. All social media posts must be approved by one of the administrators, the policy states.

If a post contains information that is political, that post will be presented to the commissioners who will have sole control of that content.

"Once so presented, the Board of County Commissioners shall consider and decide whether such posting will serve and/or benefit the citizens of Cleveland County and decide accordingly," the policy reads.

Cleveland County government has a presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. The county's last Facebook post was Sept. 14.

"The page (on Facebook) initially was about the courthouse, but that has expanded," Cleveland said. "I think we need to look at hiring a professional."

Commissioner Harold Haralson initially referred questions about the social media policy to Roberts. Later, Haralson said he favors promoting events like the Cleveland County Fair on its social media platforms. Haralson also said he might be interested in using the county's social media to highlight businesses, quality of life in Cleveland County and other events that attract people to this area.

Commissioner Darry Stacy said he favors development of a social media plan that promotes the county.

"That's not a bad idea," he said. "I think we would need to have further discussions about what we want to do."

However, Stacy said he doesn't think the county needs to hire an outside public relations firm to handle social media.

"I think we have the expertise to do that," he said.

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