by Lisa Zone

June 9, 2015

D&E recently hosted a Brainfood session for clients and friends of the firm, part of our series of thought leadership sessions designed to share the latest and greatest thinking about emerging trends and issues facing communicators and marketers. The topic? Social media playbooks. About 25 professionals from organizations large and small, public and private, attended the event – and nearly 90% left the session agreeing that their company did, indeed, need a social media playbook.

Does your company need one too? Before deciding, consider what a social media playbook is. The way we see it, a playbook provides a detailed roadmap for how to tactically implement your company’s social media strategy. This ensures consistency across platforms (and accounts, for those companies that manage several discrete social media brands), helps companies avoid legal implications (especially those that are public companies or in highly regulated industries) and provides guidance to the folks who are actually behind the keyboard on behalf of your company – whether a seasoned marketer, junior associate or external agency partner.

So do you need one? If you identify with one or more of the scenarios below, your organization could probably benefit from developing a social media playbook. With apologies to Jeff Foxworthy, if your company…

1. Has many “hands” posting on its behalf – either from inside your organization or via external agency partners

2. Is getting more active on social media, but doesn’t have a clear strategy for how to use it

3. Is likely to have many corporate-sanctioned accounts (for specific lines of business or discrete product brands)

4. Relies on very junior or inexperienced staff to do social media posting

5. Is risk averse, in a highly regulated field or a public company that needs to follow disclosure rules

6. Or wants to position specific individuals as thought leaders or subject matter experts via social media

… then you probably need a playbook.

The format and contents of a social media playbook should reflect what your organization needs. We generally recommend presenting the content in situation-specific chapters (such as trade shows/events, thought leadership, crisis management, CSR communications, recruiting, etc.) rather than platform-specific ones (such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.). In this way, the social media element of any marketing or communications initiative becomes an extension of what you might be already doing from a traditional marketing or communications perspective, rather than its own stand-alone activity operating in a silo without any real connection to the other things you’re doing.

What should your playbook contain? Download our suggested content list below for some ideas. In essence, you’ll want to include content covering soup to nuts – from strategy to implementation to measurement.

Want to talk more about whether your company needs a social media playbook? Shoot me an email or give me a buzz at 216.241.4629 to chat further.