Essential Tool: The Social Media Playbook

After you make the decision to get into the social media world – now what?  If you had to get the buy in from executives, your boss or your business partner (or even yourself!), you’d better hatch a plan for what’s next.  Having a plan will serve as a guidebook and framework for where you are going and the boundaries you’re going to stay within.

Playbook + Policy

On our team we have a communications professional who is great at planning for the positive and preparing for the negative.  Before we went to our leadership team, we worked on a playbook for social media to make sure we had an idea how we would respond to certain types of posts.

We started with a similar document from our colleagues at Sobeys – they had launched social media before us.  From there we added some possible scenarios, updated it for our needs, and submitted it for approval.

Along with this playbook, we created an employee policy to reinforce the importance we place on protecting our brand online.  The policy draws a parallel between commenting about the company on social media, and commenting on behalf of the company in the media – we see it as the same thing.  Along with the playbook, this policy will evolve with time.

The Playbook will Evolve

As important as it is to have this document, it’s also important to know it has to be updated.  Things change so quickly in the world of social – and you have to know when your ideas are outdated.  Here’s a great example of a scenario we had in our original playbook eighteen months ago:

Comment – tweet/FB Post:        “I found a spelling mistake in your flyer”
Suggested action:                     DO NOT RESPOND

This is so opposite of how we would handle this now!  If I received this comment now – I would ask the customer to tell me what page so that we can address this, and possibly create a retraction.  So much has changed in the last 18 months in how we handle these types of comments.  Our playbook is under review at the moment, I need to find more hours in the day to update it!

Equally important is knowing when to go with your gut and handle a situation that may go against the playbook.  It’s important to have the plan, but even more important is to throw it out when the situation calls for it to make a customer happy.

Let your playbook serve as a historical document – where you started and how far you’ve come.  For us, it gives us direction, will be a training document as our team (hopefully) grows, and gives us a template to work from.

Sarah Roberts

Sarah Marlayne Roberts is a public relations and digital media strategist based in Victoria, BC. She has extensive marketing, social media, public relations, and special events experience from her work in television (CTV Television, Canadian Idol, Juno Awards, The Bachelor Canada) and with some of Canada’s most vibrant brands including The Edmonton Oilers, the legendary Hudson’s Bay Company and now, Thrifty Foods. Her focus at Thrifty Foods is on the company’s digital presence including the web and social channels, working to reflect the in-store experience online. In her spare (?!) time, Sarah also blogs about pop culture and other stuff you shouldn’t live without at STUFF by Sarah and works with small business clients on maximizing their online presence.

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