Digital PR and marketing is a fantastic way to share your news and thoughts. It’s an essential avenue to build awareness about your business and to develop a loyal and engaged customer base. And you need to get it right.
So, what happens if you want someone else to do this work, or help you out on occasion? You want them to understand what you expect and how to manage a range of issues so any damage to your brand’s reputation is minimised.
This is what I call a digital PR and marketing magna carta.
Or, in other words, a comprehensive policy that includes guidelines, best practices, and information about your business, for anyone managing your social media channels and other digital platforms.
Without such a document outlining practical policies and solutions, you risk being embarrassed, or worse still facing legal implications, by what your employees or suppliers post and how they respond to your beloved customers.
Even if you manage it entirely yourself it’s still worth taking the time to reflect how YOU should handle a crises or complaint should it occur and making a note of it. That way you’ll not panic if such an occurrence does crop up.
So, what should your magna carta include? Here’s a few ideas.
Reduce blurred lines between the personal and professional. Like it or not, you are your brand on social media and, critically, so is anyone else managing your digital channels. Without doubt, boundaries between personal and professional identities and opinions need to be set and it applies to conduct on both personal and business channels.
It has to be your business decision whether you’re happy for personalities to shine through and, if so, how much.
Your magna carta may provide direction for issues such as:
- Should I ever comment on sensitive issues such as politics, religion, and other potentially volatile topics, where you may alienate some?
- Is it ever appropriate to swear?
- Can I be ‘friends’ with customers on Facebook?
Whose line is it anyway? If there’s more than just you and you want your customers to know who they’re talking with, it’s a good idea to sign off social media posts and responses with your name or initials. This not only provides a point of contact and makes for great customer service, but will help keep track of any conversation threads for future reference should it be needed.
Be responsive, reasonably. We’re not super-human and we all need time off sometimes, so it’s a good idea to make it clear your average response times to enquires. And make sure you’re clear on process around handling customer complaints and how to respond to them.
Cover all platforms. Your digital magna carta should apply to all platforms – from your website and blog, to posting in forums, responding to emails and, of course, your social media platforms.
Stay positive. Having these clear guidelines can help you and anyone managing your digital channels to become a fabulous ambassador for your brand. Make sure you include your brand guidelines and some stock key messages on how to talk about your company as well.
This is a fraction of what could potential be included in a social media policy, but will get you started.
What would you add?