Social Media SCORE! (Actually, no)

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To protect the identities of the innocent, and in order to avoid risking libel by naming the guilty, all names in this blog have been changed.

Earlier today, a coworker of mine here at bloomfield knoble was thrilled to hear that he’d won a major sporting league’s social media contest. The entry was as simple as tweeting a picture using the league’s designated hashtag.

His victory lap hit a major hurdle however, when he received a DM from the organization asking him to send them his address and contact information (understandable), including email address so that they could send him an affidavit that they were asking him to print out, sign, notarize, scan and email back within two weeks (Wait… what?!? Not understandable at all).

All of this to receive a $100 gift card.

All of his good feeling, not only about winning the contest, but the affinity he had for the league and the sport, quickly began evaporating with this nonsensical barrier to receive his prize.

Now, I’m not a lawyer, but something tells me that there’s a better way to conduct a contest when the entry’s as simple as sending a tweet. There has to be a way to get the prizes in the winners’ hands without creating a multi-step process that involves printing, visiting a notary, scanning and emailing back. For a contest that originated on social media, the process quickly devolved into something from the era when men wore beepers on their belts.

Oh, because his post included the outcome of the game that took place three days ago, the league also requested that he refrain from tweeting scores (for a game that had been over for 3 days!), until they had a chance to send out the scores themselves.

When my coworker tweeted back to them to point out the ridiculousness of the prize acquisition process, and the absurdity of their score posting prohibition, the response was “We appreciate your feedback.”

If anybody needs social media governance, it’s these guys. They’re obviously beholden to their attorneys, which is the opposite problem of companies who let the interns run the accounts with little or no supervision. In this case, the legal eagles have flown away with all the “social” in social media. Either way, governance helps keep a company’s social strategy on track.

A well-thought out and executed social media governance policy is designed to create specific parameters for the social media team of any size organization. The team knows how far they can go, and has free reign to play within those boundaries. But because the governance policy has been vetted and approved, ideally by legal counsel at some point in the process, an overly lawyered response to something as simple as how to have a gift card mailed to you would never happen.

Good governance also creates baseline expectations for what type of content gets posted, how it’s created and the frequency with which it’s sent. In the case of the scores getting posted, this would guide the social media team to update their feed with the scores in a timely manner. If days are going by before scores are posted, the league is doing a disservice to their fans, and creating fewer imperatives for those fans to follow their account.

At bloomfield knoble, we’ve managed the social accounts for companies from mom and pops to the Fortune 10. In every case, no matter the size or scope, governance comes into play, allowing the social media manager (often us) the structure to make quick decisions with confidence, and allowing our clients’ legal departments to rest easy.

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