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For many organizations, strengthening their online presence is critical for fulfilling their mission. With an ever-expanding online marketing sphere, adopting formal guidelines around social media governance should be at the forefront of business thinking to strengthen its digital presence.
Defining Social Media Governance
Social media governance consists of set policies, systems, processes, and approval workflows that determine how your organization and fellow employees use social media within your business. Although applicable to larger organizations, small and medium-sized companies should adopt a social media governance strategy that covers brand and business assets. A social media governance strategy serves two primary purposes: providing risk management for your brand and strengthening brand reputation and standards.
Most social media governance strategies formally outline internal responsibilities and roles for social media outreach, an understanding of the risks and overall strategy and goals for social media outreach, and how social media outreach functions for the brand.
Components of a Strong Social Media Governance Strategy
Although these items are not ranked in terms of priority, they are critical components that strengthen social media governance in an organization. These components include
- Responsibilities/Areas of Focus – Defining appropriate organizational roles and responsibilities over outreach is a great starting point in social media governance. Organizations with a social media governance plan have created a formal description of professional duties, a continuity plan (for transfer of responsibilities to new members), security protocols, and a crisis management plan.
- Content Approval Workflow – Every item of social media content – copy, graphics, video, and calendar – must fit an organization’s brand. Social monitoring and listening must also factor into social media marketing efforts, so having formal workflows that integrate these factors provides accountability and responsibility.
- Branding Guidelines – Knowing your brand’s voice and tone is critical for social media outreach, but that is merely the start. Brand guidelines also include the type of messaging, the colors and fonts used in graphics, and appropriate language. Every social marketing effort starts with a sense of brand that provides clarity and consistency in outreach.
- Posting Policy – Posting policies highlight the frequency and focus of social media updates. Whether an organization opts for only a social media-centric or integrated content calendar, drafting such a policy provides a guidepost for social media professionals.
- Professional Development – Although many social media professionals highlight the importance of continuing education in their work, this is one easily overlooked component. Consistent professional education and training in social media marketing and legal regulations allow organizations to ensure best-of-class thinking. Providing resources and guidance towards “sharpening the saw” ensures well-trained professionals who are knowledgeable in current best practices.
Risk For Organizations
Although a social media governance strategy might seem redundant for smaller organizations, such a strategy can alleviate and mitigate risks for such organizations. Organizations with a poor governance strategy may lack the awareness to inform influencers about social media disclosure guidelines, potentially damaging a brand’s reputation.
Another set of risks centers around human error in social media engagement. Clearly defined tasks and roles ensure proper, professional outreach and brand consistency. As a result, brands avoid the risk of posting branded content on a personal account (or vice versa). Proper continuity and transfer plans are a method of mitigating potential security breaches and changing passwords and access can serve to prevent potential cyberattacks.
Organizations that seek to strengthen their online presence rely on social media to establish a consistent voice with their customers. By defining roles, responsibilities, and other related functions in social media marketing, organizations can choose to strengthen their online presence through a consistency of tone, tenor, and responsibility. Establishing a strong social media governance strategy can mean the difference between posting content to “fill the void” by saying anything rather than effectively engaging their audience through brand-specific content.
Author: Gordon Dymowski
B2B Social Media Marketing Consultant/Copywriter
Gordon Dymowski is a B2B social media consultant and copywriter working with small to medium-sized businesses around audience engagement, lead generation, and driving revenues. Gordon has assisted various organizations in social media strategy, engagement, and analytics with a specific focus on healthcare, technology, and mission-driven ventures. He is also a fiction writer who has written for various independent publishers.
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