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A quick note on social media governance

There are some general best practices and trends that I’m noticing are emerging in modern “social” organizations. Here are some governance recommendations based on these “best practices”:

  • Social media strategy should fall under the portfolio of marketing , communications or equivalent
  • Official social media engagement should fall under client services, customer service, or equivalent.
  • Social media content should come from the various content experts in the organization
  • Social media guidelines should be created by the “strategy” team and approved by HR and Legal
  • Unofficial social media participation can come from anybody at any time. Nobody “owns” it. Need to follow guidelines, which are merely reminders as opposed to restrictions. Note: It is crucial that your organization positions them that way as well.

I’d be curious to hear thoughts from other consultants and/or practitioners. What are you noticing?

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  1. Aaron

    Curious about engagement falling under client services as opposed to with the content experts/owners. What do you mean by client/customer services?

  2. Hey Aaron, I’m referring to the people in the organization that are already responsible for day to day interaction with clients and/or citizens (e.g. the best example is Dell training 9000 of its customer service staff in monitoring and engagement). Ideally, they should be the ones trained in engaging on the “official accounts” of the organization on a daily basis (not the best use of content expert time necessarily). In certain organizations (especially smaller ones) that job is undertaken by the content experts simply due to resource constraints. That being said, whoever is responsible for the “official account” engagement should be empowered to quickly reach the appropriate experts should they have to. Also, the content experts are likely to be “participating” and building their own personal brands concurrently. The two responsibility areas are not mutually exclusive. Finally, everyone who by nature is proactive and passionate about their field should at the very least be monitoring their community/industry.

  3. Paul

    In my experience all these players are ideally involved working together. This can be challenging in a government context. As a result sometimes it makes more sense to have people whose jobs essentially ential all three components.

  4. When no other alternatives are possible, I see that happening as well. That being said, someone can be a brilliant strategist and a terrible communicator/conversationalist. It’s important to specialize otherwise you run into the “jack of all trades, master of none” dilemma.

  5. For those who are interessested in, here you find the results of our scientific survey concerning “Social Media Governance” in German organizations, including structures, responsibilities & task. The full report in english language is downloadable for free

  6. Hi Mike,

    Good piece. I think this topic is one we in government need to be discussing and brainstorming around more.

    I agree with your points but feel the engagement point needs to be expanded or more clearly defined. For some organizations, client services could likely manage the ‘soft’ engagement that addresses the service side. General questions etc., could easily be managed via those units.

    Where I think the model would splinter would be in areas where social media channels are more specific to a certain policy or program area. In those cases, I think it’s critical program or subject matter experts be trained and/or closely involved.
    A pilot I took part in would not have been successful without the policy people involved.!/entry/266

    If there are opportunities to continue these discussions I’d love to!


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