The route to a good Social Media policy

Some of the worst Social Media nightmares stem from a well-meant desire on the part of our employees to participate in the social discourse; this is very natural, we all have spoken on behalf (or against) our employer in a conversation among friends.

Being Social Media the natural extension of this familiar platform, people are drawn to adopt there the same behavior; unfortunately in two respects Social Media are very much different from conversations among friends: not only they are potentially much more far-reaching, but they’re also permanent and trackable.

On a more positive note, there are excellent examples of companies who have effectively empowered their employees to become brand of ambassadors values such as a “culture of service” or “customer first”, for example by offering the first level of support to customers in need.

All of this however needs to happen in a managed fashion, making sure each employee understands his/her employer’s rules of engagement in Social Media, understanding when s/he speaks on her own and when s/he makes promises that commit the whole brand, and how to make sure these promises are fulfilled.

It is important to notice that the price for not having a policy is NOT the lack of participation but an abundance of anarchic and ill-coordinated participation – inaction is not an option !

At Ketchum Pleon, we approach this problem by means of a workshop covering the following:

  1. Social Media scenario – key trends, facts & figures; why Social Media are a reality enterprises must reckon with. In this segment we cover the most important scenario elements setting the stage for the following sections. A surprising number of corporate managers is still convinced that Social Media are a fad, while most evidence points to a permanent alteration in the very structure of the process where by opinions are formed.
  2. The five questions answered by a good SMPP (Who, When, Identity, Routing, Reporting). Who should participate? Do we need a Social Media primer training? Is time on Social Media “wasted” and what do we need to do to make sure it is not? How should we represent ourselves on Social Media? When do we speak for ourselves and when are we committing the Company? How can we make sure issues or support requests are followed up and fulfilled? All these are important questions that need to be answered in the SMPP; as a norm, they are submitted in advance to the workshop attendees, to a) make sure we are having in attendance those whose contribution is necessary and b) in case of impossibility to attend, these inputs are collected in advance.
  3. A critical review of SMPPs put in place by comparable companies; Ketchum Pleon will research and critically review the SMPP of 5 companies that the Client considers comparable to itself; to make sure we focus on the right ones, Client will supply a list of at least 20 such target companies at least two weeks in advance of the workshop. During the workshop Ketchum Pleon will taxonomyze the SMPP identifying common elements and highlighting differences, thus providing valuable input for the final segment.
  4. SMPP drafting; this section is in the form of a guided brainstorm where attendees are walked through a list of topics to be discussed and where consensus needs to be reached; the reached consensus will form the building blocks of the SMPP.
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