Social Governance: How to Keep Your Brand Out of the Social Media Doghouse
It’s a fear of just about every executive: the inappropriate tweet or social media post that garners unwanted negative attention to a company with an otherwise unblemished reputation. Venerable brands like McDonald’s, MasterCard, US Airways, LG, and even Twitter (yes, Twitter!) have fallen into this trap.
No sooner than an errant tweet is published, the backlash against a brand is swift and harsh across the social media universe. So, before the negative tweets start pouring in, the snarky hashtags start spreading like wildfire, and the national media talking heads start rehashing the mishap, companies should be proactive and forward thinking in terms of how to protect their brands on social media.
The best way to protect your brand and control messages on social media is through a social governance plan. Social governance plans define the company’s social voice and provide guidelines on how to address crisis situations on social media.
Creating a Plan: Who Gets a Seat at the Table?
In order to create a plan that can meet the needs of the entire company, the right players must have a voice in the plan’s design. Think about the various departments that are impacted by social media, and include representatives from each. Firms that go through this process typically invite delegates from marketing, public relations, legal, sales, human resources, information technology and investor relations. Each department representative should make clear what their department needs from the social governance plan.
Because the plan is shaped around the needs of the organization, each department’s requirements will guide the development process. Make sure that the concerns of each executive or representative are heard and addressed as the plan is being created. Also, go ahead and decide the percentage of social media posts that will be devoted to sales versus community building. It’s best to appoint a department or individual who has overall responsibility for social governance who can make sure all concerns are mitigated and that the plan is well-organized.
Putting the Plan Together: Key Elements
Now that all the relevant players are involved, it’s time to address the elements required for any comprehensive plan: