Over the past several years social media has begun to play a pivotal role in the way many organizations function. Especially in the world of incentives, the way your rebate program is perceived online can “make or break” your brand.
Online social networks have given consumers the power to shift public perception about a brand with alarming speed. For marketers operating rebate programs, this means that if there is any sort of negative experience from a rebate program, your team must be equipped to handle adverse comments and posts that can be hurtled your organization’s way. The United Airlines’ recent “re-accommodation” controversy provides a powerful example of this.
Handling social media appropriately can be tricky when your team is unsure of organizational standards. Introducing an outstanding social media policy is then key to ensure your brand manages its social image respectably while also allowing employees to get creative online.
Here are four critical components of a robust social media policy your brand should possess:
An Authentic Company Voice
Implementing a social media policy sets the tone for all employees and creates clarity on brand value and culture, generating a consistent voice across all social platforms.
A consistent voice is necessary for any business that wants to become more personable and create a stronger bond with their clients. A policy can set guidelines and expectations for employees who operate an organization’s social accounts so that they don’t diminish the voice the brand has worked so hard to create.
Rules and Regulations
The rules and regulations component is the backbone of the social media policy: setting standards on how employees are expected to utilize corporate channels, and what is appropriate to share/post/comment.
This portion should include:
- How to interact with clients/prospects.
- When it is appropriate to provide disclaimers. Are employees allowed to post on behalf of the company? In most cases, employees should provide a disclaimer referencing their name and stating that all opinions expressed are their own.
- How to discuss the brand including product or promotions – what promotion is running? How can an employee discuss it online?
- How to approach negative comments or accusations online. What is best practice? How can an employee turn a negative experience into a positive one?
- Confidentiality. To reduce risk and legal exposure for the business. Social postings should not disclose any information that is confidential to the company or to any third party that has disclosed information to the company.
Social media policies should outline a specific workflow. The workflow should specify who is monitoring the social accounts and when, what their tasks are and when to pass a customer onto someone of higher authority. When a negative experience about your rebate is broadcast across social platforms it is important to have a workflow in place so that the situation does not escalate and customer issues can be easily passed on to a community manager.
Work flow should always outline the process for negative encounters. In any negative encounter with a customer, it is important to take the conversation offline. In that instance there should be a process as to who facilitates the offline conversation. This smooths the customer’s experience with their rebate redemption because an employee is actively working, one on one, with the customer to resolve the problem.
To ensure all of your guidelines are being met and the employees operating your social accounts are accountable, there has to be effective training in place.
Training should include training of the tools used for social posting and monitoring, as well as training on the content of the social media policy itself – some people may not know what is acceptable to post and what is not. With training, your employees can feel more comfortable with their ability to share online and ask any questions they may have on policy regulations.
Providing a social media policy is a critical component to your brand, it enables employees to respond effectively to negative comments and maintain your brand’s image by understanding the voice of your brand and the necessary processes involved. By including these components in your social media policy your social platforms remain protected and your incentive programs can thrive.