Social media is a major component of most organisation’s digital footprint and is central for driving a great customer experience. The use of social media is usually higher in B2C organisations where Facebook, Instagram and Twitter not only deliver content but also act as a channel to interact with customers.
Using social media does have its risks. Social media content can be much harder to control and apply governance to than other digital content that might be delivered through a website and managed through a CMS. Governance is likely to need to cover:
- Compliance: legal and regulatory compliance including accessibility, sector-specific rules and more, but also internally driven brand compliance
- Content quality: spelling mistakes, poorly written content and more
- Consistency: with other digital channels and messaging.
Why is social media governance challenging?
The reasons why social media governance can be challenging are multiple, but include:
- The greater number of stakeholders involved in running social media accounts across different divisions, lines of business and locations
- The less formal content management approaches that are sometimes applied to social media, although content and responses on these channels need to be considered as formally as other digital channels
- The quicker responses that are needed on social media where it is very difficult to carry out reviews or approvals
- The plethora of social media channels and individual accounts within these channels
- Where people are responding to what others say about your organisation, with some responses to criticism sometimes requiring sensitive, well thought-out responses.
How can you control governance over social media?
Of course, there are some approaches you can put in place to establish some governance and control over social media. These might include:
- Providing clear social media guidelines for all account holders to access
- Providing training for anybody posting on “official” channels and restricting the ability to post to only those who have had the training
- Using software to help control the release of content over different social media channels
- Putting approval workflow in place where major content is being released, for example an article on LinkedIn or a significant posting on Facebook
- Using automated approaches to help monitor and identify where there are potential risks or specific issues that need to be addressed
- Keeping a record of all social media interactions just in case you need to refer back to them due to legal action, for training or other purposes.
These approaches will vary in relevance for different organisations and different sectors.
Using automation to help establish governance and reduce risks
Automation also has its place in helping to drive social media governance. A digital assessment and compliance tool like Sitemorse that can easily be applied across different social media channels and accounts specified by you and provides remote, on-demand assessment of content, will help drive compliance, content quality and consistency.
Perhaps the most important quality that a product like Sitemorse delivers is in the area of compliance, not only in terms of conforming to your own internal brand standards and guidelines, but also across accessibility, data privacy and legal commitments. Although social media channels will have their own limitations on what you can do branding-wise (formatting etc.) and also conforming to accessibility guidelines, you are still judged as responsible for content. In some sectors such as financial services or if you are a listed company there are regulatory matters that also need to be considered, for example in how you describe services or issuing any financial information.
Automated assessment can cover elements such as testing against WCAG 2.1 guidelines, looking for sensitive phrases, use of images and more. A tool like Sitemorse will help you to stay compliant by spotting the priority issues that need to be addressed.
When content is prepared outside a content management system or hastily without approval workflow, it is easy to make errors such as broken links and spelling mistakes. Sitemorse can check for these mistakes, but also looks for less obvious areas that get missed such as misspellings on alt image text.
The proliferation of social media channels and different social media accounts makes it really hard to drive consistency in your messaging. Sitemorse will assess for different brand rules set by you and even check the use of different images to identify where there are issues that might result in contradictory or divergent experiences.
Social media recording and monitoring
Another powerful capability that automation can provide is through social media recording, creating an archive of your social media output and subsequent interactions. This can be enormously useful if you need to refer back to an interaction or some content due to a complaint, legislative action or internal social media training, particularly as social media content is easily deleted.
Sitemorse can also help in social media monitoring, looking for example of the use of your IP or mentions of your organisation across specified channels. This is particularly useful if you need to keep an eye on the social media interactions from external partners and resellers or even your competitors.
Governance is challenging but automation helps
Social media governance can be challenging but it is very important, particularly if you are in a regulated sector. Automation can really help to identify where there are issues and help to reduce risks as well as increase the quality of content. If you’d like to discuss how Sitemorse can help you to establish some governance over your social media footprint then get in touch.