Who is in Control of Your Communications?

Every business wants engaged, happy and enthusiastic staff and more and more businesses are now handing control of their social media channels over to their staff. But is this wise?

As a communications agency, we know first-hand that planning and generating genuine, engaging content for ourselves can be time consuming and (dare we say it?) a bit of a burden sometimes. So much so, that we’ve taken the approach that if we don’t have anything useful or engaging to share, then we won’t share anything at all.

But how do businesses adapt to the ever changing world of social media while maintaining the balance between happy and engaged members of staff and communicating with its customers?

Times are changing

On average adults now spend over two hours a day on social media which means it’s becoming an increasingly important way of communicating with your target audiences which could be either existing and potential customers, employees, partners or suppliers – or a combination of all of these.

Positive and engaged members of staff can be great brand ambassadors for your business, but it’s worth bearing in mind that the opposite is also true: unhappy or disengaged employees can have a negative impact on your reputation.

So is it wise to hand the management of your channels to your staff? Understandably not every business is comfortable doing this and therefore it’s important to agree have some clear guidelines in place. If you do choose to allow this staff-lead approach, then there’s a couple of points to consider first:

  • Are your staff proficient in using social media or could they benefit from some training?
  • Do you have a robust social media policy?
  • Do your staff have a good understanding of your comms strategy and your overall business objectives?
  • Are they familiar with your brand values and tone of voice? 

Set some boundaries

There are some high-profile examples of where allowing an intern or junior member of staff has worked well for a business; but there are lots more where it’s gone horribly wrong!

For example, in 2017 Southern Rail took on 15-year-old work experience student Eddie. Eddie took the company’s usually anger-fuelled Twitter page to a new level. It’s a short-term strategy, and one that couldn’t have been planned, but it meant Southern Rail enjoyed a reprieve for a few days and it did wonders for them in the short-term.

Eddie 1

Eddie 2

Eddie 3

On the flip side, having someone else manage your account can sometimes take a rather different direction. Recently, an aide of former Labour MP Jared O’Mara left some rather scathing remarks on his Twitter account before then publicly resigning.

Jared O'Mara tweet

Your marketing and HR teams should have a policy in place for social media which supports staff managing social media on behalf of their employer, which makes it clear what is and what is not acceptable. 

Channel by channel approach?

Some businesses will hand over control of an individual channel to staff or a specific team member, such as Instagram for example, to encourage more authentic content or ‘behind the scenes’ insight which can help position the business as a great employer to work for.

The advantage of this approach is that you should have plenty of content and involving staff in the company’s social media can make them feel more valued and invested in the success of the business.

The content and delivery of your communications will generally be driven by the structure and make-up of your team. For example, at Shooting Star we have a relatively flat structure, so everyone can contribute, but the strategy is driven by our marketing department. This encourages continuity in terms of tone of voice and content and allows us as a business to get our values and ethos across.

If you’re struggling with the creation of a social media plan, policy or communications strategy, then we’d love to support you. Please get in touch with a member of the team today or take a look at the range of services we offer.