All sort of problems can arise for your organization when creating a social media strategy and following through on it when you do not first build an online marketing playbook. A playbook will cover everything from what your association’s or non-profit’s goal is on social media to how to handle criticism and what do to in a crisis.
We’ve put together a few tips to help you get started on drafting a playbook for your organization that will boost your efforts and prevent some fairly large headaches down the road.
Your organization’s social media efforts are never going to accomplish much if you don’t have a goal in mind. You need to state clear goals and outline what exactly your organization’s social media accounts were created to achieve. This is includes short and long-term goals.
For example, your association’s short-term goal could be to drive more traffic to key parts of the website through its social media accounts. It’s long-term goal could be to provide relevant information to members that will foster professional development.
Stating these goals and having them officially written down will help you to stay focused and avoid wasting time and other resources. It will also help you to measure the impact of your efforts against the stated goals and gauge what needs to be done to improve.
Once you have stated your goals, you must now write down what is expected of the person or people who are managing the accounts. Create a list of expectations for the position, including the frequency of posting, who is in charge of certain aspects, what the reporting cycle is going to be and other such procedural concerns.
Writing out clear expectations will help define roles and eliminate confusion at your organization. When people are knowledgeable about their role with the organization’s social media, they can contribute in meaningful ways that push the organization forward instead of creating redundancies.
For example; you should make it clear that one tweet must go out every day or a monthly analytical report on the organization’s Facebook efforts must be completed. You can also designate people to run certain accounts so there is no unnecessary overlapping.
Determining what your organization’s voice is going to sound like on social media is a critical part of the success of the online strategy. Your playbook needs a section on the tone and structure that your social media account’s will follow when posting updates.
For example; is your Twitter account going to be fun and quirky, posting GIFs to go along with updates full of puns? Or is the account going to post straight-forward updates that get to the point fast and provide lots of facts, figures and further reading?
Everyone has a different voice and way of communicating, so coming to an agreement on a singular voice for your organization’s social media account will help it stay consistent and successful. It will help you avoid confusion, especially when there is more than one person in charge of managing accounts. Determining a voice will also help your to connect better with your target audience by relating to them in the structure they are familiar with.
Criticism and Crisis
This last part about criticism and crisis is probably the one of, if not the most important part of a social media playbook. It’s a lot easier to be successful on social media when things are going right, but it’s when facing obstacles that the best online marketers separate themselves from the rest. Putting a plan in place for when your organization receives negativity via its social media presence or when there’s a crisis involves looking at all the possible angles and drafting a measured response that can be shaped to fit specific circumstances.
For example; if an angry former member attacks your association on Twitter, your playbook should have guidelines for dealing with criticism. If your Facebook account gets hacked, you need to know what the steps are to protect your data, content and image. If the members of the industry you are representing suffer through a sudden tragedy or harsh period, you need to know what can be through social media to address the scenario.
Developing a response to criticism or crisis right now, when there is nothing wrong, will help you craft a reasoned response for a time when emotions are high. It will save a lot of headaches and make your organization come out of a bad time looking good. It will also help protect your organization’s image and long-term sustainability, both online and off.