What is a Social Media Playbook, and Why Do I Need One?

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1 What is a Social Media Playbook, and Why Do I Need One?

2 Table of Contents Introduction 03 Start at the Beginning 05 Determine Roles, Responsibilities, and Expectations 06 Decide What Needs a Response 08 Use Workflow to Your Advantage 10 Set Engagement Classifications 11 Create Post Assignments 13 Handle the Escalation of Issues 14 Generate Reports 14 Don t Set It and Forget It 15 2 What is a Social Media Playbook, and Why Do I Need One? exacttarget.com

3 Introduction In today s business environment, listening to conversations about your brand is critical, but where do you begin? The best way to get started on your social media journey to better listening and engagement is to develop a playbook. What is a playbook? A playbook lays out the processes by which your organization will listen and engage. It helps provide information to all the social media players (or those who will be communicating on your social media accounts) to ensure they are consistent in engagement and workflow, while also guiding them through what can sometimes be murky waters. This e-book is a guide to help you create an effective, clear playbook. Here are a few topics we ll focus on: Business objectives Roles, responsibilities, and expectations Determining what to respond to and what not to respond to Using workflow to your advantage Knowing the who, what, and why of conversations Knowing the who, how, and when to respond Escalation Reporting exacttarget.com What is a Social Media Playbook, and Why Do I Need One? 3

4 Introduction This isn t an exhaustive list of everything that could possibly happen on social media, but it does serve as a starting point for your efforts. Creating a playbook will help your organization maintain a consistent and documented approach to listening and engaging with your community. It will also help you develop a workflow that provides reporting, metrics, and accountability. Finally, we all know the importance of C-suite buy-in. This playbook provides a thought-out approach that your CMO can review, understand,and ask questions about. It helps contextualize the breadth and depth of social conversations, and also helps the C-suite understand their role in terms of escalation and crisis planning. Before jumping in to your playbook creation, let s lay some groundwork to get the creative juices flowing. Here are a few tips and fundamental ideas. This document is based on best practices and, of course, our experiences and tools. In addition to solidifying your playbook, ensure your organization has a clear social media policy. Employees need to know what they can and cannot do or share. A playbook should always be a living and breathing document. You should revise it at least twice a year and update it consistently based on the ongoing experiences you have on social media. No two playbooks will look exactly alike. Your playbook should reflect your organization s unique policies, procedures, and customers. Bring your own customer knowledge and social media expertise to the table, no matter what type of content ends up in your playbook. Ready to think strategically and plan ahead for any social media situation? It s time to start crafting your playbook. 4 What is a Social Media Playbook, and Why Do I Need One? exacttarget.com

5 Start at the Beginning As you begin planning, remember your overall corporate objectives. What kind of listening will be most important to your organization? For example, if you re solving many customer service issues through your social media accounts, your playbook should include plenty of details about hours of operation, response times, a library of messaging to answer common questions, and so on. Think about the full areas of your business that conversational social listening can affect as you begin to create your playbook. Social listening is a two-way street. Most people perceive someone who listens as someone who cares. This type of two-way listening has to be visibly demonstrated; it s not passive or below the radar. Social media listening is conversational and lets customers know that you ve heard them out, and you re using their feedback to guide your efforts. Conversational listening builds relationships. One-way data gathering is a stealth activity. There s tremendous value in analyzing what you hear out there in social media. Why stop there? Let customers see you re listening by acknowledging them and developing a rapport with them. Conversational listening sends a message. On the surface, listening seems to be about receiving. However, conversational listening sends a message: You re important to us. Conversational listening personalizes your brand. A listening brand is an unmasked brand that is personal, real-time, and helpful. As you listen and build trust, you ll also increase the quality of the feedback you receive. People will share more openly when they observe true listening behavior. The online community s awareness that you re actively listening will influence the conversation significantly. Your very presence changes the dynamics. Let people know you re listening. Active listening keeps you ahead of any issues. Because of the speed of social media conversation, being an active listener will require you to efficiently alert appropriate parties as issues arise. Using social listening tools will also help you collect sufficient detail to act quickly and determine the appropriate response. Having this information at your fingertips will really come in handy when you need to correct an issue or stop a crisis from growing. exacttarget.com What is a Social Media Playbook, and Why Do I Need One? 5

6 Determine Roles, Responsibilities, and Expectations With your social listening plan in place, you re ready to develop your community team, or simply, social media team. We ll refer to them as community teams here, but you can call them whatever works for your company. Community teams are comprised of people who are routinely listening and engaging on behalf of the brand. This doesn t mean that other parts of the organization aren t actively involved in any conversations. Ideally, your whole organization is social, and so the playbook holds even greater importance and should be shared across the organization. The community team simply bears the most responsibility for what transpires each day on your social media accounts and is the first point of contact for everything that arises. When establishing your community team, there should be clear roles, responsibilities, job descriptions, and expectations for each team member. Some common titles that your teammates might have include community managers, community engagement specialists, community analysts, and social media specialists. Creating a process for response times It s important to define your responsibilities so that your community gets timely responses to requests and comments that merit them. Begin by determining what your regular hours of operation are and when you ll be actively listening and engaging on behalf of your brand. Once you establish those hours and have agreement from your internal stakeholders, you may want to post this information on your various channels. Don t forget to indicate the time zone for your hours of operation as well. General considerations for your community team Set up a listening and engagement schedule for your team that works for your resources and operation. Some brands find that a two- or three-hour chunk of time each day works; others may find that a 24-hour-a-day approach is needed. 6 What is a Social Media Playbook, and Why Do I Need One? exacttarget.com

7 Determine Roles, Responsibilities, and Expectations This might be a typical activity list for those listening and engaging: Monitor your organization s topic profile for all mentions of your company during regular working hours, or a different specified time, as dictated by the hours when your customers routinely interact with you on social media. Leverage your CRM system and add any context around the conversation, customers, and leads. Assign posts to appropriate team members for response, follow-up, and resolution. Assign sales leads to the business development team to capitalize on potential sales opportunities. posts to partners and follow up on their engagement. Ensure source tags and post tags are used appropriately. Ensure your engagement team reviews and closes all posts that have been assigned. Why time matters Sample response times Just as your customers would expect a real-time response when asking your associates a question in real life, they expect a realtime response when asking a question on social media. Establishing response times (and sharing them) demonstrates your commitment to your community. Meeting these expectations will also help to ensure you solve an issue before it escalates. Outside these hours of operations, good listening tools give you options for alerts to be sent directly to a designated person s address, enabling him or her to respond in a timely fashion minutes for Twitter hours for YouTube minutes for Facebook Next, determine what an appropriate response time is for your team. For example, consider the times shown here. 1 hour for Blog comments exacttarget.com What is a Social Media Playbook, and Why Do I Need One? 7

8 Decide What Needs a Response As a part of your social media playbook, you need to decide what types of social media posts merit a response. The following are some conversations that are good opportunities for engagement: Mentions of your company s participation in industry events or presentations Compliments of your product, service, or people Recommendations or referrals of your products or services If a conversation is peer-to-peer, should you jump in? The general rule of thumb is no. Let the conversation continue without jumping in. If, however, there is a question about your company, product, or service, you could be at a good point to introduce yourself. Customer service and support issues or inquiries Sales leads or product inquiries Product requests Why you need to decide what gets a response There will come a time in your social media listening (if there hasn t already) when a disgruntled customer, internet troll, unhappy former employee, or someone completely unrelated to your company has a bone to pick with you. Remember, knowing when to take the high road and when not to engage is something to decide now, and not in the heat of the moment. Some people may have no interest other than embarrassing your brand and engaging in a public spectacle. If you respond to these types of posts, you ll be feeding that beast. Most people see through the effort of these people and they don t expect you to feed the trolls so don t. Other times, people may simply be mentioning or retweeting your brand in passing, not trying to spend time talking with you. These are also instances where you can probably let the mention pass without directly acknowledging it. 8 What is a Social Media Playbook, and Why Do I Need One? exacttarget.com

9 These are some examples of posts you might choose to let pass without a response: Generic mentions among a sea of competitors, without commentary that s positive or negative Sarcastic, snarky, or potentially inflammatory comments Retweets of company content or company news without any additional commentary Peer-to-peer conversations that mention your company in passing, in which your involvement could be perceived as intrusive Posts or forum threads that require membership to respond Rumors exacttarget.com What is a Social Media Playbook, and Why Do I Need One? 9

10 Use Workflow to Your Advantage Workflow is the process by which you track and record your social media activities, and ensure your responses are timely. A good workflow helps the community team in their work to listen and engage on behalf of the brand by: Creating a record of the conversation tracking Finding your company s advocates, influencers, or detractors Separating employee conversations from community members so that you can focus your attentions in the right areas Escalating issues to other departments or to senior management Creating reports that show share of conversation, share of voice, sentiment, and much more Workflow Provides the methods and processes for tracking, measuring, and responding to conversations about your brand. You ll want to ask: Who is posting? What are they talking about? Is it negative or time-sensitive? Who should respond? Any further context to add? Where does the post stand? Has their ticket been closed or question been answered by someone else? Of course, once you ve been working from the same workflow for a while, you won t need to ask these questions every single time a post or tweet comes in. But it s a good place to start, and it s good information to have documented in case a new team member begins to cover social media. When applied correctly, a solid workflow can save you and your team a lot of time. Before responding on behalf of the brand, you need to ask a few key questions to make sure you are responding within your playbook guidelines. Then, apply this information in your workflow, which can be used for reporting purposes, as well as providing a clear snapshot around the context of each person you engage with, for future engagement. 10 What is a Social Media Playbook, and Why Do I Need One? exacttarget.com

11 Set Engagement Classifications Engagement Engagement is both a goal and a direct result of a helpful social media presence. Building a community is less about seeking engagement and more about simply sharing content and information that benefits others. Expanding networks, connecting with more people, and being present in the moment are all ways to help boost your engagement with customers on social media. Classifying the conversation When someone posts about your brand on social media, you need to set some engagement classifications to make sure the right team member responds to the message. Classifications are selected by the person on social media listening duty to track the nature of online conversation. exacttarget.com What is a Social Media Playbook, and Why Do I Need One? 11

12 Set Engagement Classifications Here are a few examples of post classifications and definitions: Product review: Product feedback and review, including RTs General product or company mentions: Passing thoughts about your brand Industry discussion: Industry conversations, including competitive reference Share of Voice The degree to which your brand is mentioned in comparison to your competitors in online conversations. The higher your SOV, the more you re being discussed in relation to your competitors. Company events: Conferences and webinars Company outreach: Mentions by an employee or partner Support: Existing customer support inquiry Recommendations: Positive reference to using your product or service Partner or reseller: Mention by a partner or reseller Share of Conversation The degree to which your brand is associated with the conversations in the industry. The higher your SOC is, the more your brand name is appearing in online conversations. Of course, you want your brand to be top-of-mind when making purchasing decisions. Ensuring you tag your posts appropriately will help with your reporting when you re looking at share of voice and share of conversation. 12 What is a Social Media Playbook, and Why Do I Need One? exacttarget.com

13 Create Post Assignments Social listening and engagement should not be restricted to just the community team. Social organizations should involve the entire company. While the community team will often be the first to encounter a conversation and assign who s covering the post, they ll often assign posts to others instead of solving it themselves. Assigning posts helps with the who, how, and when of response management. Perhaps assigning the post to management helps alert them of an impending issue, or assigning it to a technical department ensures a response with sufficient detail and understanding of a complex issue. No matter your business, and no matter how good your social media manager is, he or she probably doesn t know the answer to everything. Assigning posts can help with that. Post Tags Provide a summary of the content in a post or posts. Post tags enable you to categorize posts. For example, a post might be tagged as customer support, PR, red flag, or something else. exacttarget.com What is a Social Media Playbook, and Why Do I Need One? 13

14 Handle the Escalation of Issues Every playbook should have an escalation process, which needs to be specially tailored to your organization. You should determine what categories of posts may need to be escalated, and who should handle them. Some potentially escalating issues may include: Competitor mentions Libellous comments Personal attacks You should also make plans for when escalating issues might come in clusters (like during a company event or big announcement), as well as the worst case scenario of a full social media attack on your organization. For each, be sure to know who will do what; when and how you ll meet to discuss; and the details of any standardized copy to share in case of an emergency. Map out this process in your plan, including how to reach people in an emergency and everyone s exact roles and responsibilities. Be sure to review and practice this plan at least twice a year. Generate Reports Your social media playbook should include guidelines on reporting and analytics. Great reporting is a helpful way to inform management of the strides you re making on social media. Here are a few tips to consider for reporting: Ad hoc reports can be prepared to report on specific events. Weekly reports can offer a quick summary of the top issues and where competitors stand in comparison to your organization. Monthly reports can provide much more detailed information around your overall objectives. 14 What is a Social Media Playbook, and Why Do I Need One? exacttarget.com

15 Don t Set It and Forget It Playbooks are living plans. They guide your brand through the who, what, when, and how of listening and responding in both everyday business operations as well as unplanned and unexpected events. As you begin to define and align your playbook from business objectives all the way through reporting, don t forget that you should review it over time as you discover more about recurring issues and the strengths and weaknesses of your team. For example, if you find that you re constantly needing to address a common customer complaint, add a section to your playbook about best practices for that issue. New team members, interns, and your manager will thank you. By developing a playbook that addresses both everyday and worst-case scenarios, your organization will have a strong plan of action in place. No matter what arises, your social media playbook will be a powerful tool to set you on the path to greater social media success. For tools that get results and start conversations that convert, discover ExactTarget Marketing Cloud s next generation social marketing solutions at exacttarget.com. exacttarget.com What is a Social Media Playbook, and Why Do I Need One? 15

16 Power Your Customer Journeys Make the most of your customer data with , social, mobile, and the personalized web. Our cloud-based marketing software powers relationships between brands and customers. Check out exacttarget.com to learn more! exacttarget.com Title of Whitepaper Here 1

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