Every company, government agency and not for profit organization needs to consider how it will respond to social media and complaints. Some mentions will be positive and some will be negative.
Policies or instructions needs to be documented for the front line staff that will be responding to these postings. While this used to be the responsibility of the public relations departments in the past, social media, blogs, and complaint sites have made this task grow exponentially and with it the need to engage a broader group of employees as responders.
US Air Force Process
The U.S. Air Force has published its process for how to handle comments on a blog post. If the comment is negative, there is an entire flow chart of activities to follow.
Some definitions might be of value:
1. Troll Sites: Sites that normally bash or degrade others. The Air Force doesn’t respond to these as these sites generally don’t care about the truth. The sites are monitored.
2. Rager sites: Rager sites rant or say something funny or satirical. Again, the air force does not respond to these sites for the same reason as #1
3. Misguided: These articles contain inaccurate facts. Here a response to correct the facts is in order.
4. Unhappy Customer: These articles are from customers who have had a negative experience.
In addition to the flow, there are also human factor and emotional considerations included in the guidelines, including timely response, in an appropriate professional tone, citing accurate sources and declaring that the respondent is employed by the air force.
I find it interesting that the air force also has a process to handle positive comments, including the sharing of a success story.
This process deals with blog posts but many of these ideas could apply to other web based media, such as social media and complaint sites.
Documentation for Airmen
The US Air Force has also produced a guidelines for airmen to use when responding to many kinds of web based media. It is called New Media and the Air Force and it covers most of the current media.
This process and its accompanying guidelines for airmen can be used as a role model for other organizations creating their own policies and internal training and documentation.
Do you know of any other good examples? Write them in the comments below.
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