Even the biggest naysayers will have to admit by now that social media is here to stay. Most of us are constantly liking photos of grumpy cats on Facebook, commenting on what’s happening on Q&A via Twitter or sharing Richard Branson’s latest inspirational quote on LinkedIn. Our social media profiles have become an extension of ourselves with one challenging consequence for businesses: our professional and personal identities are inseparably intertwined in the digital space. And what your employees say about your company and clients on social media is now out there for the world wide web to see.
We alchemists think that social media policies have great things to offer to b2b companies and can be a fantastic vehicle to spread your brand message. But you need to have the right strategies in place to enable and encourage your employees to share updates about your company without having to fear for your company’s reputation (or turning into a paranoid Big Brother). Here are our tips to help you building your social plan on solid ground.
Lay out the rules
No matter whether you want every staff member to be able to post on behalf of your company or if you simply want to enable your employees to share company updates with their personal networks: you need to spell out the rules of engagement to get your social plan off to a good start.
The easiest way to do this is by writing a social policy that clearly states the do’s and don’ts. Make sure the social policy is written in a friendly tone and keep it a strictly jargon free zone. Remember the document is there to help people navigating the sometimes tricky world of social - not to scare them into deleting their LinkedIn profile.
Be prepared for difficult conversations
While b2b companies are unlikely to experience social media disasters such as the #qantasluxury failure (the airline decided to promote a competition to win some luxury pyjamas one day after the entire fleet was grounded: whoops, their customers were not amused), it’s good to be prepared to deal with customer complaints on social media.
Deleting or even ignoring negative feedback ain’t gonna get you nowhere on social media. And the quicker you can respond, the better for your company’s reputation and customer service creds.
To start with, ask each department what customer complaints they most commonly receive and develop an appropriate response for each question or complaint. At the end of this exercise you will not only have a solid crisis plan, but also gain some insights into your website user experience and which will help you develop content to support you customer service teams.
Put somebody in charge
While it’s a good policy to let all employees be involved and share your company updates to make your brand message spread faster, it’s important to put somebody in charge to monitor your social properties. This person should be the central point of call if people are unsure how to deal with social media feedback. Social media is about communities not lone rangers (or even worse: cowboys) and the same goes for managing social media activities.
Last but not least, your social media manager should keep track of how your social media properties are performing, what works and what doesn’t and share those insights regularly with the team. After all, happy and engaged employees will also lead to happy and engaged customers.
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