Rules of engagement for social

If you need some practical tips about community engagement on social, you’ve come to the right place! Audiences, whether in B2B or B2C are very unforgiving when it comes to how brands engage with them – more than ever, we want brands to be fast, human, clear and concise when communicating, but how can you put the proper planning in place to empower your team, inspire confidence and truly get on with the business of being great at their job.

Business values and standpoints

Look at your brand positioning – who are you on social? What does your organisation care about, and how do you demonstrate that through your policies? If there’s a specific standpoint, make sure you can back this up through actions. Create a deck that answers all these questions to help frontline communicators feel confident about engaging.

Tone of voice and consistency

When you know who you are, you can determine what tone of voice you’ll use on social. This could be in the words or phrasing you use – a great exercise is to choose words with the same context but a different tone. For example, a brand might choose to say “we’re excited to announce X“, or “we’re buzzing to announce X” – slightly different but gives an indication of who the brand is.

The message needs to be consistent, whichever channel your audience decide to engage on – not the same words, though. Work through your channel strategy and you might find you can be more “chatty” on Twitter responses than on Facebook, for example.

Alignment internally

This one takes effort, and a great culture to work in the long term. By aligning the needs of the marketing/social media and customer service/sales teams, for example, the customer has a FAR better experience overall. Build those relationships by exploring your shared goals and values, aim for the greater good.

Quick wins – FAQ’s and expectations

What’s the best way to help your audience? Answer the queries they have without costing them time! It should be easy to determine the most frequently raised questions, so publish them online to enable the search engine, or use your content on social to explain further. And set expectations – a customer with a query visiting your social profile could feel far less frustrated if they can see that you’ll be online and available between certain times of the day. Or, even better, providing an alternative route of contact for those times you’re not around.

Response frameworks

Alongside the FAQ’s, build some response frameworks, but BEWARE! Social is a conversation, so you can’t be “on script” every time – by all means, workshop some responses and include indications for the best words, phrases and links to share, but don’t restrict your frontline communicators, they’ll only appear less human then!


The best thing you can do to prepare for negativity is to do some crisis planning. Perhaps appoint a “devil’s advocate” and explore all of the worst things that might happen, from small issues to large crises. Consider when you might need to escalate an issue and who to – bigger problems might need an emergency mobile contact, or even legal team to be involved. If all of this is scoped out to start with, it’s faster to deal with and runs less risk of things going awry.

Influencers and advocates

Brands with fans – it’s the dream! But working with influencers can be tricky – it SHOULD be about more than just paying for a good review of your product or paying for a video to be created. A stronger, advocacy relationship will perform better over the long term.

  • Scoring – if you’re approached by a fan or influencer, determine how you’ll score them in terms of value to your brand. Bearing in mind that micro-influencers are still influencers, think about their follower numbers as reach and make sure that you like their content style. Also align with them on values, because if they choose to post something which doesn’t align, it could create a negative association for the brand.
  • Outreach – build your programme in advance. Map out the objectives for any social content and make sure your brief is clear.
  • Build a relationship – yes, you need to ensure you have the right mobile number and social profile links for the influencers, but more than that, show them you value their time beyond just paying them. A gift, or even personalised “thank you” can go a really long way!
  • Adhere to codes – it’s a no-brainer, don’t fall foul of advertising codes, place the “Ad” or “paid partnership” labels clearly on content!
  • Employee advocates – this is also about empowerment. Of course, organisations should have social media policies, but avoid your staff feeling too scared to post about where they work and empower them to be evangelical about it!

If you’d like to work with us on your engagement strategy, get in touch – oh, and sign up to this page if you want to watch our recent webinar all about Customer Experience, featuring insight from The Co-Op, Sprinklr and Business EQ!

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