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7 topics to include in your playbook for award-winning social customer care

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Frost & Sullivan recently praised HGS’s social media best practices and, in celebration of that award, following are some tips on developing social media processes that you can apply to get the most out of your social care program.

Create an EPIC social media playbook

Considering all the places where conversation about your brand can come from, it’s important to know how and when to interact. For instance, “owned” mentions occur on social media channels created and managed by your brand (e.g., Twitter, YouTube, Instagram). Think of it as people who are talking directly to your brand.

In contrast, “earned” mentions occur when ideas and opinions about your brand are exchanged through channels that your brand doesn’t own (e.g., blogs, review sites, third-party Facebook feeds and, often times, frustrated tweets). Responding to these can be very impactful. Acknowledging and adding context to reviews, engaging playfully with influencers, and meeting detractors head-on can neutralize and convert. 

But how do you determine which mentions to act on, and how?

Create a playbook

Whether you have 4 or 400 community managers, a playbook should be central to your program, as it explains how the brand comes alive on social.

Applying an EPIC approach can underpin your playbook:

  • Engage – In-channel, using creative and authentic responses 
  • Protect – Stop rumors, correct inaccuracies, protect IP, and neutralize negative sentiment
  • Inform – Flag potential PR crises for the business and glean insights through regular reporting and analysis  
  • Create – Amplify opportunities, post engaging content, and build relationships 

These easy-to-remember EPIC pillars can unite and inspire your social team members, but they also need step-by-step instructions. 

Include 7 key topics in your playbook

Documenting social media processes sounds old-school, but it’s a sure-fire way of building a scalable social media team, bridging the needs of social stakeholders, providing quality social care, configuring social media management and CRM software, and executing your social media strategy.

Every brand manager has goals for social, whether they are articulated or not. Some want to use social for customer care, some for promotion, and some for business insights. Having a comprehensive playbook that prioritizes and provides a roadmap makes the goals easier to achieve.

But what specifically should a social care playbook include? 

  • Rules of engagement and best practices. Spell out the elements of a “great” post or response; build on your brand guidelines to describe the desired tone of voice and differentiate from competitors. 
  • Processes and workflows. Identify how mentions get captured, filtered, sorted, triaged, addressed, measured, and improved. Explain how to review posts, vet customer profiles (fan, detractor, bot, troll, influencer, competitor, or real customer?), and break down post elements. 
  • Quality management. Detail how to achieve customer and business expectations. 
  • Targets and key performance indicators. Explain the quality, speed, volume, sales, CSAT, etc. levels needed to meet targets. 
  • Case management and escalations. State how to handle complex interactions and escalations. Describe how customer concerns are documented, tracked, addressed, and escalated. Ensure operations, social, PR, legal, and marketing are all on the same page.  
  • Ideal agent/community manager profile. Outline the skills, experience, attitude, etc. required to execute your social strategy. 
  • Training program. Structure the playbook as a training tool. Our playbook is built in PowerPoint (sometimes 100 slides!). Include copious examples of what to say and not to say, along with key resources for community managers to consider.

Keep your playbook up to date

At HGS, we make a point of updating our playbooks at least semi-annually. If there are world events, product changes, organizational policies, new competitor approaches, major issues and crises, etc. that affect the playbook, we revise more frequently. Being diligent in making process and procedural updates along the way will keep your community management team performing at their peak, as well as consistently align with your intended outcomes for the social media program. 

On June 25, 2020, HGS Digital (with experts from Frost & Sullivan, Sam’s Club, and Alaskan Dream Cruises) is hosting a webinar that describes the playbook in detail and dives deeper into how you can build and maintain a winning social care program for your brand. We’ve also provided a social scoring mechanism that may help to identify the elements missing from your social strategy. 


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HGS Digital provides intelligent automation, AI, analytics, cloud services, and DigiCX® services to leading enterprises. Specializing in a technology-agnostic approach, our solutions help to improve customer engagement, optimize operations, reduce cost and increase revenue.