We’ve all seen extremely reputable, high-quality news outlets post headlines with typographical errors to their social media accounts. How can that happen? Where are the brand standards we’ve come to associate with that organization? Do users no longer care about errors and typos if they don’t actually obscure the intended meaning? What if they DO obscure the intended meaning? Do these sloppier posts erode the brand? Clearly, we have some questions.
In a conversation with several well-reputed colleagues recently, they revealed that they were thinking about hiring “younger” people to run their social media accounts with the assumption that younger users had the inside track to mastery of all things online. The organizations were actively looking for entry-level employees at entry-level salaries so executive team members could continue to focus on operations and business development without having to get involved with social media at all. The inappropriate age prejudice aside, there’s an uncomfortable dissociation between social media and brand communication revealed here. This attitude also undervalues the critical importance of social media to our communications (why entry-level?). Unfortunately, this mindset begins to answer some of our questions above, especially “How can this happen?”.
With a few adjustments to this hands-off and leave-it-to-the-newbies attitude toward social media posts, everyone can be satisfied and brand quality can be maintained, even enhanced.
If we consider post content separate and apart from the act of posting (think publishing), social media can get the careful attention and quality control it deserves. If we ensure that social media managers, especially entry-level hires with little business experience, fully understand the brand and speak it fluently, we can safely use social media to bolster our brands. When hiring inexperienced staff to run social media, go even further: institute a process that supports brand adherence and quality — a process that simultaneously supports social media managers and provides the scaffolding the brand needs to excel on the social media platforms that align best with its brand and its customers. Go ahead and plan posting activity; write posts; and, circulate the plan and the content for review and approval so your organization’s posts aren’t hitting your followers’ newsfeeds before you’ve seen them. Keep a strong connection between social media and your core business builders (business development, marketing communications, sales, human resources…). With a schedule of approved posts, our social media mavens can focus on doing what they do best: getting our brands in front of the most appropriate audiences to encourage greater engagement.