In order to get a brand on social media it isn’t about dropping brand assets on social channels but thinking about what it actually means. Distillation of this process is likely to appear on a document:
- It contextualises why social, there must be a business and brand reason to be there beyond ‘well everyone is on Facebook’
- An explanation of how to use the document. Those involved need to view the document as a ‘north star’ for social. It needs to be clear that the document is a set of guidelines, but not immutable
How the brand manifests itself on social:
- What’s the brand’s tone of voice on social media channels. Does it want to want to sound like an everyman, does it want a bit of distance and gravitas, does it want to be an authority on a given area?
- What’s the personality? If it was a person, what kind of person would it be. This frames the content, what questions it will answer and the view point that it will take. It’s adding extra dimensions that won’t necessarily be applied in public relations, print or even TV advertising due to the nature of social channels
- What are the content pillars? Think of this as the core messages. Every piece of content created and shared will demonstrate at least one pillar. These are typically things like organisation innovation, heritage, values, point of leadership (thought leadership, authority / expertise, style leadership etc)
Cross channel rules:
- How will you handle hashtags
- How ill you handle localised domain names? (Will their be local domains?)
- Who has the right to publish what first? For instance if you look at sports brands like Nike or New Balance; you’ll see that soccer related content first appears on their specialist football channels
- Should local channels link back to ‘global accounts’?
- Are there any sponsorship or IP-related watch outs? When I worked on New Balance; any club kit related content had to feature a minimum of three players. Otherwise there would be problems with the players other sponsors (notably their boot sponsors and their agents who would be looking for another pay day). Who needs to approve use of sponsorships and how long will approvals take? Can you do a flow diagram to provide insight into the process? How do you handle successes or set backs of partners?
- How do you handle rumours and speculation? (New iPhone launch or renewal of sponsorship deal with Tiger Woods)
- How do you handle images that might have a competitor brand in shot?
- Do you ignore controversial news?
- Will you share partner content? What channels and handles are legitimate partner content to share?
- What kind of tools will you put in place? Large brands often use an intermediary platform like Percolate that provides measurement, asset management and an approvals workflow as needed. It even allows the localisation of content by the local brand team
Social channel-specific rules
- How often will you post on a given channel? This might be dictated to you by the kind of account you have on some channels like WeChat. With most others it will be driven by audience content consumption. Twitter generally lends itself to more frequent posts than Instagram or Facebook
- Specific channel aims over the coming year
- How will the channel be used? Are there particular segments that it is good at reaching?
- What kind of content can be published? Example content categories. Best practice executions from other (non-competing) brands to get best practice ideas
Social crisis response
- Crisis like accidents have an incident funnel marked by small events, the more of these that happen, the harder it is to climb out of the funnel. The trick is to limit these before they take you down the funnel.
- Have a clear workflow in place to handle negative criticism. The US Air Force had a really good workflow to borrow from.
- Real-time monitoring should highlight things before they escalate. How is this intelligence distributed and to whom?
- Who is going to be part of the decision group, you’ll likely need people from: customer services, product expert, public relations, management. How will you ensure that employees and the supply chain speak with one voice?