As the Nation gets ready to welcome a new Prime Minister and the camera crews move into pole position outside the front door of Number 10, the media channels were buzzing with dialogue over the ‘big move’ and what housekeeping is needed behind the famous black door to make the transition as smooth as possible.
At PM’s question today, David Cameron was even asked to clarify the ownership of ‘Larry the Cat’. In a heart wrenching response he stated (as quoted directly on @Number10gov):
PM: Larry the cat belongs to No10. The staff love him very much and so do I. #PMQs
— UK Prime Minister (@Number10gov) 13 July 2016
Whilst our thoughts are with Larry, our eyes have been drawn to a more feathered variety in the form of the official Twitter account for Number 10 Downing Street, namely @Number10gov. And ironically if today was a popularity contest between ‘Larry the Cat’, who has his own twitter profile and Theresa May, the incumbent PM would be losing out to her feline colleague who currently has over 61 thousand followers. The social presence stats of the day look like this (as at 13.07.16 1pm) The stats show that @Number10gov account has over 4.58 million followers, far outstripping the efforts of any of the individuals themselves (including Larry the Cat). To date, the channel has been very relaxed and engaging but what next? Already the twitterarti have started mobilising the hashtag #IronMayden and who knows perhaps this is an indication of what’s to come?And whilst we suspect that the very last thing on David Cameron’s mind as he heads over to see the Queen will be what happens with the @Number10gov Twitter channel, we suspect that we are on the cusp of seeing a ‘packing of bags’ and a redecoration of this key social media asset, which has become the backbone of Conservative Government communication and reach.
As Theresa May steps into the driving seat as PM she will unpack her own tone of voice and social media policy, outlining to her communications team how far and what messages they can push out through the social media channels. For the many who follow the account this will be a sudden jolt of change and may be confusing and even unpalatable at first. We are only human after all and having built a relationship (albeit digitally) with one entity, for it to end is tantamount to ending a long term (in this case 6 years on Twitter) relationship.
The Prime Minister (and the communications team who must be working around the clock to support him) are not unique in facing the dilemma of how to manage the transfer for such a valuable social media digital asset.
Here we take a quick look at the key considerations to explore when transferring a social media asset over to a new figurehead. A checklist that we hope the Number 10 Downing Street find very useful at this time! However, equally relevant to new CEO’s, programme leads and any scenario where social media ownership changes hands.
- Update user access & passwords – often change can happen quickly (certainly the case here) and the number one priority is to transfer control of the asset completely to the new owners without any hiccups. Change can often be hard for the outgoing team and emotional outpourings are hard for a brand to recover from. No brand wants to risk a rerun of the HMV employee who on the verge of redundancy took the twitter account hostage and they are not alone, as we have witnessed many examples of ‘asset sabotage’ in times of change. This is very much where social media management platforms with security tiers of access come into their own, ensuring that social media accounts are locked down effortlessly and efficiently where a transfer is needed.
- Update the biograph & associated imagery – today people flock to social media in times of change, crisis and drama. People admit to sitting watching a twitter account or a hashtag as drama unfolds. So where a transfer is planned it is essential that the new biography and creative is ready to go to mark the occasion. This level of detail counts in maintaining brand reputation.
- Check who the account is following – the incumbent CEO (or in this case Prime Minister) may have very different views on strategic partners to their predecessor. Following an account makes a very strong public statement of support akin to a product endorsement, so it is wise to check these thoroughly to ensure that there is no uncomfortable awkward linkages made by the public or press once in situ.
- Check who the account has liked – by ‘Liking content’ it is flagged and highlighted to any followers of the account. Again the incumbent may hold very different views or perhaps implementing a new/ different type of strategy which demands a rethink on the types of content likes in the future. In this case @Number10gov has only ever liked 4 pieces of content which makes this job relatively easy but none the less uncomfortable, and it is also important to have your Crisis PR plan ready to go just in case there is any fall out from those who are publicly ‘un-liked’ in this way.
- Update/ delete lists – the @Number10gov creates a really interesting example. The current account lists are a mix of news directories and people that have supported David Cameron with the Dementia Challenge. Being named on these lists is an extremely valuable endorsement and signpost for those organisations (especially when it is the Prime Minister) but they may have no link to the incumbent.
- Determine Tone of Voice – a new CEO, President or post holder is likely to have a very different tone of voice and approach to content delivery. It is interesting to note that Theresa’s accounts have been running for a relatively short period of time and very few posts were created directly by her (two signed off by TM at last point of counting) . The communications team tasked to support her will have to work fast to create a tone that is authentic to the new post holder, without undermining the momentum built by the brand (in this case the Conservative Party) to date.
Once this housekeeping is done, then the longer term tasks of updating the social content strategy and social media policy can be put into play. We hope that you find these tips useful and please contact us here at CrowdControlHQ if you need any specialist advice/ help on transfer of social media assets.
We would like to give special thanks to David Cameron and wish him well. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting him and he played a star role in our selfie blog back in 2014 and we are very grateful for the support he has given digital entrepreneurs in the UK through #Pitch10.
Marketing Director CrowdControlHQ
CrowdControlHQ is the UK’s leading social media risk management and compliance platform built for Enterprise. Identified by Forrester in 2014 as a ‘Worldwide’ contender in the management of social media risk and winners of CIR Risk Management Product of the Year. If you like our content, please tweet us @CrowdControlHQ or get in touch by visiting our website www.crowdcontrolhq.com