Going through a social media audit process is an eye opening experience for any organization. There are often issues uncovered that pose significant challenges for a company, if left unaddressed. Many of the areas that need to be tackled moving forward are often commonly overlooked or missing pieces to a social media program, which fall under the “I can’t believe we didn’t have that system in place” category.
The focus of my post today is to discuss the five most common missing pieces that a company may uncover after conducting the social media audit. For a little background on the social media audit you can review one of my recent blog posts. As I work with different companies closely and various teams within an organization, from marketing and PR to legal and HR, here’s what I find to be the five most common overlooked pieces in a social media program:
- Company Policies: In many cases, the organization does not realize that that there are other company policies that need to be connected to a social media policy. These policies include: IT policies regarding downloaded content and mitigating network risk, HR policies that govern privacy protection and policies out of the marketing department regarding brand guidelines. Take a look at your existing organizational policies and you will notice that they will also help to guide your employees with social media communications.
- The Universal Sharing System: We all know that social media is not just the responsibility of the communications department. Other areas of the company should be using social media to reach out to customers daily. Whether it’s sales, customer service, Web, HR, etc. There are times when departments within an organization need to coordinate their social communications, based on various events and themes that are central to the organization and occur during the calendar year. It’s important to set up a system, so that departments can coordinate their content efforts (rather than repeat similar information) and have a more cohesive and complimentary system. Some type of calendar system that is housed on a collaborative internal platform and coordinated by one department (usually marketing or PR) will help to get everyone working together to maximize the impact of a shared effort.
- Process to Set up Social Profiles: This is definitely a common missing piece in a social media program. Process is often overlooked because everyone gets busy with daily department work and resources are usually scarce. When everyone in multitasking mode, there is a natural tendency to think that someone else has a process covered. It’s important that social media profiles and pages are built with purpose, so you have to create a system that allows a core social media team to evaluate and, in some cases, approve the set up of a new profile. This is a management system that also leads to a central system that houses all of the user names, passwords and URL addresses of the social media properties (information often critical to the HR or legal department when a disgruntled employee leaves the company).
- Social Media Archival System: Here’s a missing piece that can get you into trouble, especially if your organization is bound by public record. Today you can use various software systems such as Backupify to archive your social media communications across several different properties or you can use a monitoring technology service. Of course you will have to ask your social media monitoring provider if you are able to archive and how often the process should be done to make sure that you capture all of the posts, comments and tweets that may someday be needed by our legal team. Let’s hope not, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!
- Training and Education: People adapt to social media communications on many different levels. From the inactive or non-participants to the creators of content, training and education are necessary to offer resources and information for people to learn and grow with the organizations social media program. It’s also important to keep your employees up to date with the latest types of technology and resources available, especially as the social landscape continues to change and expand. The best time to begin the education and training process is at the start of your social media program. The purpose of an education or training program is to get employees to roll up their sleeves and become more active (no matter what level), to make people feel included in the program, to show them the value that social media brings to the organization and to offer continued learning in a landscape that is in a constant state of flux.
These are my five common missing pieces uncovered by a social media audit. Have you uncovered any other overlooked areas that should be added to this list?