Social media governance is a critical ongoing process that focuses on reducing social media-related risks, such as those caused by reputation damage and cyber threats. While each organization should craft an approach that perfectly fits their requirements, a robust and efficient social media governance plan should include the following key elements:
The right stakeholder mix will depend on factors such as social media adoption level and corporate risk profile.
It is important to identify and establish risk priorities based on specific needs and the corporate risk profile.
Choosing the right metrics will ensure that social media practices, processes, procedures, and protocols are aligned with both corporate risk priorities, and overall business goals (e.g. increasing mindshare, growing visibility, building customer communities, etc.).
Social media governance is definitely not a “set it and forget it” function. It is essential to analyze performance to establish best practices and learn from mistakes.
● Regulations & Laws
The growing role social media in business is driving a complex and changing body of regulations and laws. It is necessary to review these details and dynamics and ensure that the plan is in alignment with them at all times.
It is important to review the corporate social media policy on at least an annual basis, to ensure that it is relevant, consistent and updated.
● Participation and Risk Reviews
Social media is a catch-all term for a mix of tools and technologies. Each one has its own specific set of risks that change over time, and these must be monitored, managed and mitigated.
Each social media touchpoint is both a gateway for potential new customers — and potential threats and vulnerabilities. It is vital to audit each touchpoint at least once a year, whether it is a web page, platform, portal, app, and so on.
● Governance Processes
This element covers all of the processes that maintain social media governance. They activate the plan, drive execution, and bring it to life.
● Risk Implementation Procedures
When predictable risk scenarios emerge, this element of the plan outlines the approach and/or steps to address, control, resolve and ultimately prevent the risk from re-emerging.
Every employee, from executives to interns, must be trained in appropriate social media usage, and in identifying potential threats or risks.
Many companies tap their employees as “brand ambassadors,” and encourage them to post on social media platforms to promote corporate-friendly messages. This activity must be supported by suitable monitoring procedures to ensure that well-intentioned employees are not violating guidelines and best practices.
Last but not least, it is necessary to identify who, how and when the plan will be comprehensively reviewed.
The Bottom Line
The influence and impact of social media on the business landscape will only get bigger. A robust, comprehensive and functional social media governance plan helps ensure that these developments are positive and profitable – rather than dangerous and damaging.