One of the roles I’ve taken on here at Voce has grown to include my talking to new hires about what we try to do with our social media profiles and give them some general social media guidelines as well. Since a good amount of our new ACEs and interns are fresh out of college it’s highly likely that they’ve been using Facebook and other social networks for much of the last four years. But as I explain to them, there’s a world of difference between personal usage and building them in to a sustainable and measurable strategy for client use.
One of the points I emphasize while talking to them is that their social profiles are theirs and they are free to continue to use them as they have been. No one will be telling them what to say or how to say it and mostly what we expect from them is that they follow the “If I Wouldn’t Say This In My Mother’s Living Room I Won’t Say It Online” rule, which is more or less common sense. Only when they step well – and I mean well – outside of that will anyone be talking to them about what their status updates are saying. Some clients, after all, follow the people who work on their accounts and it’s important to keep that in mind.
Another concern I make sure to put to rest is that their social network profile is not expected to become an integral part of any client’s strategy and they are under no obligation to re-tweet every announcement or update. If they do want to, which we certainly don’t have a problem with, the only thing we ask is that they include a simple “#client” (hat-tip to Doug Madey who came up with that elegant solution) in their update to act as disclosure that there is a business relationship there. Do that and, quite frankly, it’s all good.
There are many Voce folks who do re-tweet client news and other updates and that’s great. It’s also in many cases because the Voce staff person has been on that account for a number of years and formed their own relationship with the client and the contacts there, a great testimony to the passion that people at this agency have for their work.
Just as when a client program is being put together it’s important to lay out expectations that are respectful of all parties – staff, agency, client – at the outset so that everyone is clear on what’s to be expected of them and what is and isn’t acceptable. At Voce we believe that creating an artificial set of results for clients by creating an environment where Voce staff are propping up program numbers isn’t realistic or sustainable. It’s about trust. Plus, quite frankly, our programs don’t need it.