Social media often serves as the first line of communication between an organisation and its audience, allowing consumers to watch in real-time as brands respond to everything from complaints, questions and general feedback.
While the immediate nature of social media can help enterprises build strong relationships with their audiences, it can also lead to major customer dissatisfaction when a poorly-timed or off-brand message is published.
Consumers are always eager to call out organisations that misbehave on social, and the scathing public response to social blunders reminds us that even deleted Tweets can live on to haunt us for years to come.
Across social media networks, the ripple effect of social mishaps begs the question: how do posts like this get past corporate marketing and communications teams in the first place?
One assumes that large organisations with their well-defined processes and procedures would quickly flag and remove these blunders before they happen. Often however, too many cooks in the social media kitchen can create more problems than they prevent. This is often the case for social media and marketing teams working with external agencies.
What's required is a real focus on social media collaboration between the corporate team and the agency, and also internally between the team members themselves. This close collaboration can prevent embarrassment and keep their social presence on-point and on-brand.
Here are our 4 tips to help streamline the brand-agency social media collaboration process, build a stronger working relationship, and ensure an effective social media presence.
1. Define primary roles and responsibilities
Unclear roles and responsibilities within the team can cause slip ups and a lot of wasted time. Before you start creating your first post, your team and the agency team need to define the primary points of contact for each activity. It's important for everyone to understand who the go-to person is on both sides, for example, who is responsible for maintaining and updating your social media profiles, who is writing copy and creating images, who is scheduling messages and for which accounts, who is validating or signing-off outbound messages, who is responding to inbound customer service enquiries?
All of this should be outlined in your social media strategy, and also reviewed during your monthly client-agency planning sessions and changes made as and when required.
2. Embed the right social media collaboration tools
Effective client-agency collaboration requires good planning and the right supporting tools or technology. Look for a social media management tool that allows all stakeholders to work collaboratively on planning, creating and scheduling social media content and then reporting and analysing activity and performance. Each member of the team can then work on their respective areas and eliminate a lot of the manual, time consuming back-and-forth of emails and catch-up calls.
Establishing a social media content validation and/or sign-off workflow is essential for close client-agency collaboration and ensuring messages are approved by the right team member before going live. Relying on emails and spreadsheet lists often means that approval gets delayed when team members are simply too busy, or messages are approved too hastily without being properly checked for quality and consistency. Using a platform to centralise and automate much of this collaboration work significantly reduces the time it takes to complete it, helps catch any poorly-timed or off-brand messages that might otherwise be published, and maintain an audit trail of all inbound and outbound messages.
3. Maintain a consistent brand tone-of-voice
Closer collaboration leads to better control of the brands tone-of-voice on social media, ensuring it is accurate and consistent, and also ensuring that all outbound messages comply with any industry-specific rules or regulations, such as in the financial products and service industry. With the right social media management tools in place, multiple team members can create content without risk of the brand's tone-of-voice changing significantly as content can go through 'two sets of eyes' process. This enables the internal team and the agency team to work together to tweak content and get it just right before it is published. Content creation and publishing becomes a seamless and collaborative process.
4. Evaluate your social media strategy and adapt over time
Analysing social media engagement levels and the performance of individual posts on all accounts gives some insights into what is working well and what is not, but its also important to monitor how the social media team is performing too. This helps to identify where there are any potential holdups in the delivery of social media content and engagement so that collaboration and processes can be improve over time.
When working as a team to manage social media, having an effective workflow is key. Don't let the collaborative processes and tools be an afterthought or to be under-valued, which can lead to high-profile mistakes by brands on social media. Get the right social media strategy, tools and analysis in place, and the brand and agency can work together more effectively to deliver real business results from social.