Time to Get Social: Why Your Brand Should Be on Social Media– Part II

Social Media Policy & Guidelines is not exactly the most stimulating topic I can think of, but it’s one that you’ll be thankful you have in place. Important components as I see it are:

  • Vision and Goals
  • Employee Engagement
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Administrator and Representative Expectations
  • Steps for Responding to Negative Posts

Anyone that picks up your social media policy should have a solid understanding of what your vision and goals are for social media. Your activity on social media should be reflective of that vision and of those goals. The more consistent you are, the more your audience will feel like they know you and the more connected to you they will be. And that is a win.

Also, I’ll tell you I believe in doing something bold. And that is giving employees access to social media at work. On company time. Yes. You read that right. I believe in giving employees access to social media. At work. On company time. On company computers.* (It's a whole lot better than them trying to sneak it on their smart phones!) When they aren't having to hide it, they just might be more productive at work! For instance, it starts out as a simple "retweet" and a few tweets of their own, followed by the uploading of a few pics to Instagram, oh, they just “regrammed” a contest the company has going on, “liked” a few things on Facebook, yep, just “shared” our Motivational Monday pic. Suddenly, their six minutes of unproductivity << gasp! >> just garnered the company hundreds, maybe thousands of impressions that otherwise might not have been seen. Do we need to teach our team members to act responsibly on Facebook? Of course. I strongly suggest best practices backed by the common sense approach (i.e. if you stop and ask yourself for a second, “Should I post this?” you shouldn’t)! Depending on the industry, and for us bankers, you also must understand the impact of regulation and how you should and should not speak to customers and prospective customers on social media platforms. It is imperative for every team member to review and be familiar with the policy. This should be documented. I recommend every employee take a test (as scary as that sounds) on the important points so you can ensure the information is covered and understood, not to mention, it's great for documentation purposes as well.

Another topic that should be clearly defined in your social media policy is the expectation of the social media administrator and social media representatives. With its “always on” environment, all team members need to be on the same page as far as who is doing what and when. From posting to monitoring and responding, everyone needs to understand what is expected of them so that no one drops the ball.

One of the biggest things I get asked about is responding to a negative post. This one topic alone keeps people off of social media; however, I believe it is a great opportunity to turn a negative situation into a positive one. Plus, it gives customers another means of communication to reach out to you and it just may be the one they’re comfortable with. (Side note: I’ve been able to respond to customer questions more than a few times while sitting on the sideline of a soccer field on a Saturday morning!) Here are the steps I recommend:

  1. Immediately consult with the Social Media Administrator/Manager to identify the appropriate course of action. If he/she isn’t available, proceed with the following steps.
  2. If the comment includes offensive language or material, delete the post. (Avoid this if possible.)
  3. If it is negative feedback regarding a legitimate customer concern, leave the comment in the public eye (promoting transparency) and begin to address the concern immediately.
  4. Respond to the comment using brief, positive and proactive language showing that steps are being taken. Take the conversation offline. (Accept the comment gracefully. There is literally NO room for caddy or sarcastic comments here – FIGHT.THE.FEELING. This is your moment to turn what some think of as a crisis into an opportunity.)
  5. Using the core system and/or deductive reasoning, identify any officer involved with the customer/individual. Inform them of the situation so he or she can choose to contact the individual personally. This also shows that proactive steps are being taken. If no relationship can be determined, bring the matter to the attention of the market president or office manager.
  6. Update the page with fresh content so that the negative comment is not as prominent.

It’s a good idea to maintain “Community Guidelines” on your social media platforms to point your fans/users to when necessary. It’s a good way to formally communicate to your users what you expect for your page. (For an example, visit the FCB Facebook page and click on the "about" tab.)

The social media conversation can be a loud one, but don’t let that scare you. Educate yourself and then get out there and join the conversation!

Okay, enough of this heavy stuff…next blog we’re talking brand voice & consistency.

*Side note: Limit that time if necessary. There are ways to work with your IT staff to implement this in a smart way that makes everyone comfortable. Sure, there are some folks that still can’t be trusted with an all-access pass to Instagram, but that is an issue for Human Resources to sort out!