This is a guest post by Patrick Cuttica, product marketing manager at Sprout Social.
Social media often serves as the first line of communication between people and brands, allowing consumers to watch in real-time as companies respond to everything from current events to product recalls. While the immediacy of social can help brands build relationships with their audiences, it can also lead to major fall out when a brand sends out an offensive or incorrect message. People are eager to call out brands that misbehave on social, and the scathing public response to social blunders reminds us that even deleted Tweets can live on.
Across networks, the ripple effect of social missteps begs the question: How do posts like this get approved in the first place? One assumes that the hierarchy of large businesses – with multiple agencies and layers – would flag and stifle these blunders before they happen. However, multiple cooks in the kitchen often lead to problems instead of stopping them. With proper collaboration between agencies and clients, or even within internal marketing departments, businesses can prevent embarrassment and keep their social presence on-point and on-brand.
As you establish a foundation for communication across your team, here are 4 tips for streamlining your workflow, building a stronger working relationship and ensuring an effective social presence.
1. Establish primary contacts and responsibilities.
An unclear chain of command can cause not only social missteps but wasted time. Before drafting a single message, your brand and agency team should agree on primary points of contact for different aspects of your approach. It’s important to know who the go-to person is for managing all of your social profiles, as well as who has the ultimate authority (and responsibility) for making sure the right messages go out.
2. Invest in the right collaboration and message approval tools.
Proper collaboration involves not only a strategic plan but also investment in the right technology. Choose a tool that will allow all of your team’s social work (planning, editing, drafting and scheduling) to happen in one accessible location, giving each team member the freedom to work on their own time and cut down on unnecessary emails and meetings.
A message approval workflow is key for agency/brand collaboration to ensure that all social content can be reviewed efficiently by the right team member. Professionals send and receive an average of 112 emails a day, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone when a manager misses an email causing delays or, worse, approves something that they’ll later regret. Finding a platform that centralizes communication and distributed workflow is key to streamlining effective collaboration
3. Maintain a consistent brand voice.
Improved collaboration tools will allow clients to have the control of their brand voice and ensure that all messages are in line with company and industry standards. Better processes and technology adoption will help ensure that messaging remains consistent from post to post. Brands no longer risk a change of voice if a new team member begins drafting content. Most tools require certain users to approve before anything gets sent through social channels, and allow for the client and agency to go back and forth with edits to ensure the content is on point. Nothing slips through without approval, and social content development becomes a collaborative, seamless process.
4. Revisit your strategy and adapt over time.
Content performance isn’t the only benchmark to use when evaluating your social strategy. Take a look at how your team is performing, where bottlenecks in communications may occur and how workflow can continue to improve. Check in regularly to keep the lines of communication open.
When multiple team members manage a brand’s social presence, an effective workflow is key—yet collaborative processes often break down and contribute to high-profile mistakes. With the right social strategy, tools and benchmarks in place, brands and agencies can work together to ensure that they are always sending the right message.