Why you need a Social Media Manual
A critical part of operationalizing your social media strategy is putting it down on paper. Playbook. Manual. Blueprint. Operational Tactical Manual or Standard Operating Procedure. Whatever you call this (I’m going to call this a manual) you need your strategy and tactics laid down on “paper” (either electronic or hardcopy).
Why do you need a Social Media Manual?
One reason for the need for a manual is clear. Even in small to medium sized businesses, let alone large multinationals, turnover is expected, and you don't want your social media activity to be a victim of personnel attrition. Your manual is helpful both for the purposes of retaining corporate knowledge - all that hard work detailed in the last four blogs; but also for easy and consistent on-boarding of new team members as your powerhouse grows.
Most importantly you want clear and agreed upon processes for engagement in all defined scenarios. Because you have already discussed these processes with the departments involved, the manual serves a point of signoff and agreement between the social media team (the hub) and each department (the spokes). Having everyone agree to and sign-off on the playbook is an important part of bringing your stakeholders with you, which we wrote about in the last post.
The process is not only an important part of stakeholder management, but helps mitigate risk and avoid internal conflict. Clear directives about what to do in common day-to-day interactions helps co-operation between departments and enables quick decision making and empowerment on the frontline. Everyone knows who is responsible for what, and no one is stepping on or getting their toes stepped on.
Additionally, having a manual makes the design of approvals, workflows, and permission frameworks much easier. You have a defined structure. These form what are known as "swim lanes" to keep everyone on track with their specific responsibilities. Then when the time comes to adopt the technology needed to scale your social media, setup and configuration becomes a much easier process.
The manual is also a place where you can capture best practice over time. Which means you MUST maintain and optimize your manual. The manual isn't something you spend hours compiling only for it to sit on a shelf collecting dust. This must be a living, breathing document always evolving with platform, strategy, and internal organizational changes.