What’s your most used emoji this year? For social media marketers, it’s ?. Yup, the rollercoaster.
2020 has been a wild ride for social media marketing. Record breaking social media use in March and April. Blackout Tuesday and animal activist surges in June. The Facebook boycott in July. And who could forget the viral Tiger King memes or those scroll-stopping murder hornets?
It’s impossible to forecast what’s coming next but, as marketers, we can set a foundation to keep our brands buttoned up and our communities safe.
Go through this checklist to help protect your brand on social media:
- Post rules of engagement: You have authority on what happens on your brand’s social media channel. Create and post a set of rules that outline the goal of your community, what you stand for and – most importantly – what is not allowed on your page. Consider a three-strike rule for offenders and block those who repeatedly break your rules.
- Focus on community: View social media as an extension of your sales and customer service teams; build relationships before asking for a purchase. Today’s social media user is looking to belong, learn and celebrate. Focus on support over selling and lead with feelings over facts. Look at your content through the lens of a brand challenger, someone who may not view your brand or industry in a positive light, to ensure no flaws or misconceptions can be drawn.
- Back up your words: People buy from brands they believe in, which has been solidified in 2020. Be transparent about the work you are doing, the causes you support and the human side of your company. If you’re posting about a cause or hot button issue, make sure your brand’s actions support your words.
- Target wisely, with exclusions: Without paid support, a social post reaches less than 5% of a page’s fans. Make your content work for you by boosting your posts and running social ads. When promoting social content, you drive who sees it. Create a target audience that is aligned with your products and brand’s mission. Exclude interests associated with people who are likely to challenge or antagonize. Regularly check audience insights to make sure you are reaching the right people.
- Monitor and engage: Schedule time to check your pages twice per day throughout the day. If someone engages with your page, reward them with a response – ideally within 24 hours. View each comment as a conversation starter. Be upbeat, helpful and authentic. Hide negative comments and take those conversations offline. Acknowledge their situation and encourage the user to call or email your team. Do not provoke or stoop to inflammatory dialogue; engaging in that dialogue gives the negative commenter a louder voice. Remember, there is another person on the other side of the computer and many people watching how you respond.
- Map a social escalation process: Create a plan for negative issues – issues that could escalate quickly. Categorize common issues or concerns and map out suggested responses. Customers with negative experiences expect a quick response. Having a response plan will make it easier to respond in real-time.
- Create a core crisis team phone tree: We hope a crisis doesn’t happen, but if a business-critical issue (large product recall, trending news article or negative influencer experience) arises on social media, have a team ready to activate. Create a core crisis phone tree that includes key company leaders, legal representation and agency contacts so you can easily convene if needed.
- Set up a social listening dashboard and alerts: There are more than 150 million websites, so there may be a product issue on a platform your company isn’t active on. Set up a social listening dashboard and alerts to monitor mentions of your company and products. This provides visibility, so you can engage accordingly. As a bonus, you’ll also uncover influencers and testimonials that may otherwise go unknown.
- Activate employees: Your team members are your strongest advocates. They know your company best and believe in your mission. Create an employee activation program to empower your team to share their positive experiences with your brand and go to bat for you if concerns come up.