Policies and procedures are boring. You know it. I know it. Just the words “policy” and “procedure” conjure images of red tape and notions of bureaucracy—all things NOT creative.
Yet, stifling as they may be, policy and procedure are necessary evils. Especially when it comes to social media. Running a really creative social media campaign is essential for it’s success— nothing’s riskier than running a campaign with no creative content, a stale Twitter strategy featuring Tweets with no voice and a Facebook page with no semblance of company culture. If you don’t have the right people planning your campaign, you run the risk of spending money on a social media program that yields little to no results, simply because your social media managers didn’t inject enough creativity into the plan.
That being said, it’s so important to realize the policies and procedures of each social networking platform you’re using, and stay within the boundaries. Probably the most tangible example of this is the Facebook contest.
Here’s a scenario faced by many social media-literate business people:
You want to run a really great Facebook contest for your company. You want it to really wow your audience, and you want the numbers to be good. A lot of engagement, a lot of traffic for your site and ton of likes for your Facebook page. You want the contest to be something few companies have attempted, something beyond the facile “Like us and win!” concept.
Great! So, now you set forth planning. You devise a scheme that makes use of the tagging and sharing functions. It’s perfect. It’s easy; it’s engaging…there’s just one problem: you haven’t read Facebook’s policy on promotions.
It’s an innocent mistake! No one told you that you needed some sort of permission to promote your business…you thought that’s what Facebook was for! Why have the option to create a page for your business if there are strings attached to how you promote it to the community?
Thing is, Facebook is stepping up its game when it comes to protecting the privacy of it’s users. So, if you’re going to be collecting personal information with the intention of contacting them if they win, Facebook wants everyone to know that THEY aren’t the ones soliciting this information, and they won’t have access to it. Also, those awesome functions you want to use for your contest? You know, tagging, sharing and all that great stuff? They belong to Facebook. Now, you can’t use them as a mechanism for entering a company contest. In fact, the only Facebook action you’re allowed to use as a condition of entry to your contest is the “Like.”
I know all of this sounds like a major damper on your creative ability…but, it doesn’t have to be. There are solutions:
1/ Familiarize yourself with the Facebook guidelines. You can find them here.
So, now you know you need to develop something called a Facebook application in order to run your contest.
2/ Look into Facebook app development. There are some great DIY sites. But, if you don’t have the time or the proclivity, no problem! You can outsource all your contest development needs to independent developers or a creative marketing agency.
3/ Research some successful Facebook contests. Take a gander at a few right here!
The upshot of this Facebook contest policy lesson is: if you don’t make sure you’re within the guidelines, you run the risk of having your contest shut down and potentially being banned from Facebook for a while. That’s disappointing and detrimental to your overall strategy.
This summer, Tim Horton’s introduced a new procedure where the person taking your order got a little more personal, “Hello my name is Debbie” were the words you heard as you drove up to the area where you initiated your first cup of java for the day. I waited for the new procedure to fall off but after several months the location I frequent has kept up the pace of being as warm and comforting as the products they serve.
Shift to small town New Brunswick. I had to visit recently on a family matter and stopped by the busy little Tim’s that has graced the community of less than 1000 for about 10 years now. Even the old boys that used to hang out at the barber shop and local gas station have migrated up the hill to their new spot and are quite comfortable calling Tim’s home.
For the most part, East Coasters have a reputation for being pretty friendly but when I took a spin through to get my morning coffee I didn’t hear the “Hello my name is…” greeting. Inquisitive person that I am, I mentioned my story to the lady serving me at the window. Her response was something like “Yes, we got some CD down from Ontario but I can’t see us doing that.” She proceeded to get my order and left me with these final and sincere words,”You have a good day now honey pie!”Friendly enough wouldn’t you say?
For all of us that have tried to initiate new processes and procedures is there a lesson to be learned? I think so. We tend to create all encompassing policies because we are either afraid to or are not able to single out individuals causing us grief in some way. Do most hourly employees punch time cards because at some point everyone was fudging their hours or because a few were? Are trucking companies religious about measuring on time performance because they were always late or because they messed up less than 5% of the time? Has anyone created a long list of rules and regulations for everyone because a small percentage of people are doing the equivalent of “peeing in the pool”…and does that sign on the wall actually stop those individuals from doing so in the future?”
I remember a blackout happening in Fredericton, NB where I went to university. At first it was “yahoo” with speeding cars everywhere but within a few hours there was self managed order without a street light or policeman in sight. In “Good to Great”, the author promotes self managed order as the key to business sustainability. It’s a leap of faith that requires a huge amount of trust. For the time being it seems the rotten apple continues to set the environment for the basket.
Lee’s quote for the day
“For the most part, the only thing tougher than initiating change is being on the receiving end of it.”