Social Media Governance – What can a baking giant teach us?

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The Greggs debacle last week should be considered a complete success for their PR. If you hadn’t kept up with the news the fiasco involved the unfortunate replacement of their logo with an offensive spoof when Googling ‘Greggs’. In most cases this would be a PR disaster, but we have the social media team at Greggs to thanks for ‘saving their bacon’!

Encouraging Google by posting pictures of complementary doughnuts, sausages & pasties Greggs managed to get the incident fixed promptly. Hurrah. But fixing the incident wasn’t what made this a success; the team at Greggs utilized the attention and quickly turned the situation into a positive brand awareness stunt. By responding with the delicious images of their doughnuts they contradicted the negative spoof logo and proved they are a trustable, high quality supplier of takeaway food.

 ‘Every day’s a school day’ - one of our favourite mantras here at the Perceptive Flow office. In spirit of this we asked ourselves: What can we learn from this social media success over at Greggs?


Dedicated management

Firstly, if a business does not have a team or person dedicated to managing social media they are doomed to fail. For Greggs, without their rapid response PR team the occasion could’ve quite easily turned into a disaster for the brand. A successful social media strategy should incorporate elements of give and take – whilst providing useful content through tweets and posts, even more important is to respond swiftly to any engagement. The only way this can be achieved is if you’ve allocated people to this task.

Social media provides an organization with awareness of competitors, customers & your own brand image so regular monitoring is essential.


Personal is engaging

Too often large corporations are dehumanized making it difficult to have a trusting connection with the consumer. Whilst expensive and time consuming personal engagement with social media is very much more powerful than scheduled tweets, so a balance is needed. As Greggs has shown adopting a personal, friendly style of social interaction enabled them to diffuse the situation perfectly and use it to their advantage.


Above: Gregg's follower count on Twitter courtesy of Spike occurring during and following the incident.

For social media personality and humour will work for any business, but especially so for large corporations often associated with being bland & boring.


Plan ahead

It is critical to identify how social media will be used to benefit the brand and integrate into the existing business model. Here are a few of our top questions to consider when developing a business’s social media.

• Which teams will control social media? PR and marketing will be involved but have you considered legal and HR?

• Many social media nightmares happen when ex-employees still have access to the accounts – do you change passwords regularly to combat this?

• Rather than an advertisement social media needs to be used as a brand awareness tool to see ROI. How will you deliver content consumers & clients will find engaging?

• If you are protecting a big brand do you hold a crisis management plan?


Above: employees wreaking havoc with HMV's twitter account.


To conclude...

Over half the UK population now makes use of social networks on a regular basis. When done correctly, social media provides incredibly powerful tools allowing businesses to communicate and connect with their target audience as we’ve seen from Greggs. But with great power comes great responsibility – so a well-managed and planned social media strategy is a must for businesses wishing to participate in this exciting opportunity.

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