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4 components of a social media governance model

Michael Ansaldo | Feb. 16, 2012
Many organizations are still struggling to embrace it for fear that it negatively effects worker productivity or puts the company at risk.


Nokia recently installed a Mission Control style social media monitoring station of six LCD screens in the lobby of its headquarters so that any employee can see in real time online conversations around the brand. This ambitious move underscores the importance of gathering and sharing information from the social web to help shape your strategies.

Your brand is likely being discussed on the social web whether you’re engaged in the conversation or not. It’s imperative you tune in to the chatter. Twitter and Google alerts offer simple ways to search for the names of your brand, your employees and your competitors. Social Media Monitoring tools like Radian 6, Sysomos and HootSuite offer more robust tools for acquiring, analyzing and acting on intelligence. Regardless of the tool you use, monitoring is a must for everything from shaping consumer sentiment about your brand to heading off a potential PR crisis.

Crisis Management Plan

In 2009, Toyota launched the largest recall in the company’s history in response to hundreds of reported cases of sticking accelerator pedals. The problem was caused by the pedal getting caught in the floor mat, making affected vehicles speed up uncontrollably, and it was linked to at least 50 reported fatalities. Rumors and panic spread across the web, and suddenly the brand, a model of automotive safety for decades, was embroiled in a digital disaster with little foundation in social media with which to combat it.

A PR crisis doesn’t have to be as dramatic as Toyota’s to be damaging. The Toyota recall illustrates a common thread that runs through all PR crises: a slow response from the organization exacerbates the crisis. At its basic level, your crisis management plan should outline how to use your social media channels to deliver a quick and appropriate response.

Toyota eventually turned to social media to repair its image, but its effort would have no doubt been more effective if it could have been leveraged to diffuse the controversy before it spiraled out of control.

Frequent Updates

A social governance model isn’t something to be stuck in a binder and shelved -- it’s a living system. The social media landscape is evolving at lightning speed, and your policies and best practices should evolve right along with it. Designate a social media governance team and a frequency for re-evaluating all elements of your governance model to assure it's never outdated.


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