Sprinklr, the social media analytics and management company, looks at the vast realm of social media in two ways. It can, on the one hand, be an ocean filled with wondrous possibilities for brands, but it can also be a dark sea full of risks, such as rogue tweets, account hacks and, ultimately, brand embarrassment.
So the New York-based company, which lists Samsung, Dell, Cisco, Hearst Corp., Virgin America, The North Face and Castrol among its diverse list of clients, has put out a white paper featuring an eight-step guide to help brands establish a social governance framework.
Titled “Social Governance 101: A Practical Guide To Protecting Your Brand,” the document cites a study from independent audit firm Grant Thornton that found 71% of businesses are concerned about the potential risks of social media, but only 36% engage in social media training, and only 33% have clearly defined social media policies.
“Comprehensive social governance gives brands the opportunity to become an Olympic swimmer, cruising through the water so quickly that risk doesn’t stand a chance of slowing them down—and neither do their competitors,” the white paper sates.
It goes on to say, “Social governance isn’t about maintaining strict control over your social presence. It’s about managing the experience of all those who interact with your brand through social. It’s about analyzing and optimizing every customer touch point. It involves anticipating every possible customer interaction to determine who is best suited to respond, creating a map of how the interaction should unfold, deciding who is authorized to continue the relationship, and so on. Rather than playing defense when social media-related crises happen, well-executed social governance puts companies on the offense.”
With that in mind, here are eight focus areas that a governance framework must touch to truly protect a company or brand from all angles, along with a summary of advice from the white paper with each one.
1. Social Business Ethics
“Outlining a brand’s personality is a crucial job that might require creating a specific steering committee with a deep understanding of both the brand and the social space,” the white paper states. “The team should create short- and long-term visions for the brand’s social experience and update the company’s current code of ethics accordingly. The policy should be widely available internally and understandable to all employees.”
“All brands should invest in a capable, integrated social media management system…rather than relying on disjointed tools…so that a brand’s entire social media presence from engagement to CRM to listening to reporting is in one place. In instances where there’s a need for 12 different departments to sign off on one piece of content, this otherwise overwhelming process will happen seamlessly.”
“A brand operating one Twitter account and an Instagram feed might not have a huge security risk but a company with thousands of social accounts across multiple platforms and countries will face a vastly different security situation. For large organizations, limiting access to native social accounts is the first step to brand security. Another important step is partnering with the right software vendor. Make sure your social media management system has SOC 1 Type 1 and SOC 2 Type 2 Certification. Companies should also have security politics that define the nature of company information and what is and isn’t appropriate for sharing within social media. Lastly, security training for employees should be mandatory.”
5. Social Program Governance
“In order for a social governance program to work, there must be continuous governance over the program. And as industry regulations change and the functionality of each network evolves, how a brand governs each network should evolve as well. This is best accomplished through the creation of an executive review committee that is familiar with both the brand and the social environments in which it operates. It should also include members from different functions like marketing, PR, customer service and other teams that use social media regularly.”
6. Employee and External Guidelines
“Social guidelines are an opportunity for employers to be clear with their employees and audience about the goals and expectations of a social team. Too broad or overly-simplified expectations can give employees too much leeway to misrepresent the brand. But overly complicated or pedantic rules can lead employees to be too wrapped up in the letter of the law rather than the spirit of social, causing a whole new set of issues. Keep guidelines clear and easy to understand.”
7. Customer Focus
“In order to create a truly seamless brand experience through social governance, it’s necessary to specifically define the brand’s customers. Who are they and what are they looking for? Employees should understand the voice of the customer, the voice of the brand and the experience they are trying to deliver.”
8. Crisis Management
“Effective crisis management can be the difference between a small ‘oops’ and a full-blown catastrophe that hurts the bottom line.” That means every brand should be equipped with the following essentials to manage a crisis:
·Crisis Management Dream Team
·Crisis Calling Tree
·Crisis Scoring Matrix
The white paper goes into much more detail about the eight guidelines and the different crisis management points. It also has first-person accounts of social governance programs set up by Sprinklr clients Allianz Life and the American Heart Association.
The paper concludes by stating, “Creating a comprehensive social governance program is no small undertaking. But without it, the inevitable issues that arise require even more time and effort to manage and repair. In 2014, social governance is the new social media management, and every company with a significant investment in social must embrace this reality. Companies that do so won’t just keep their heads above water when it comes to social, they’ll win the race.”