While it’s very important for brands to stay connected with their audience online and via social media, there comes a huge responsibility and a somewhat risk with what is being broadcasted for the world to see that essentially reflects your brands name and image. Social media has lots of benefits for business including advertising of a brand or product, generating targeted awareness of your brand, and having the ability to connect with real consumers all over the world. Now that social media is being utilized by businesses now more than ever, social media policies and governance need to be placed into effect.
An article on meltwater.com published back in 2020, lists four pillars to a strong social media governance model, which include the following:
- Consideration of brand guidelines in an online space
- Guidelines must be put in place and followed by employees to reflect the brands image in a professional way, as well as know how to respond to customer complaints online.
- Integrating compliance and legal regulations
- These regulations can help safeguard a brands social media team in various ways including protecting the brand from threats made against the institution and preventing false advertising material.
- Getting comfortable with social listening
- Monitoring online activity across all platforms is highly important and should be reported on every 2-3 hours. We saw an example of this last week when Twitter tweeted “Hello Everyone” shortly after Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp went dark.
- Getting familiar with the business continuity plan
- Having discussions about what to do in a crisis is essential so that all employees know that they are supported and know what to do to come out the other end of an incident easily and safely.
Similarly, Charlene Li defines social business governance in our reading this week, as an integrated system of people, policies, processes, and practices that defines organizational structure and decision process to ensure effective management of social business at scale.
After thinking about social media/business governance and its importance, I wanted to find examples of social media content posted by businesses online that did not attract the attention it was intended to. With that, back in 2019, Inc.com published an article titled “The 10 Worst Social Media Fails of 2019”. Beverage company SunnyDelight tweeted “I can’t do this anymore” which sparked frustration amongst some pointing out that a juice brand posturing as a depressed individual was inherently insensitive.
The day after the United States Presidential Election Day, The Gap tweeted a video of a blue and red (Democratic and Republican colours) hoodie sweatshirt being zipped up in the middle with the accompanying caption “The one thing we know, is that together, we can move forward.”
Twitter users called out the brand for hypocrisy and tone-deafness regarding two parties who are fundamentally at odds, especially as the sweatshirt was never available for purchase in the first place.
Just by reading the backlash that these large businesses received via social media, shows us that all brands, large or small, need to follow strict guidelines when producing content and get the thumbs up from various people on their individual social media team and avoid putting the brands image and reputation in the hands of one marketing individual.
The same goes for us as social media users. We need to make sure that the content we are displaying on our own profiles for the world to see, are continuing to reflect us as professional humans and under no circumstances let social media become the reason we let our identity be jeopardized.