The connections between individuals and groups online are no longer defined by or confined to 1:1 or even many:1 relationships. They have transformed with the onset of the digital era into a mind boggling system of many:many, which brings with it both opportunities and hazards.

As consumers share information to their networks or providing feedback to organisations through social media, the opportunity is for organisations to leverage consumers who carry their key messages for them through creative and compelling communication strategies. The hazards? The exposure to the communications platform can at times be challenging for organisations whose public profile is under scrutiny or their is negative feedback from consumers. Today, an organisation’s reputation can rest in the hands of its employees and consumers.

The management of criticism in today’s setting can be quite challenging. At Ellis Jones, we consider risk management to be pertinent to the success of any communication strategy. Companies and organisations spend relentlessly to pay for services that protect their brand and public profile through calculated and complex statements or responses. However, not everyone can manage to pay the big bucks to counter every single Facebook troll.

At Ellis Jones we have discovered an effective and self-sufficient model of managing risk when engaging with consumers and stakeholders on social media and to effective decision making. It’s easy to learn and even easier to apply. All it takes is a bit of practice. An effective business should be able to utilise the key policies that affirm its values/principles and tailor their responses online to manage criticisms seamlessly. We call this our “decision-making framework”; a tool to give any community manager confidence and speed when responding to negative or positive feedback online.

Ellis Jones believes in efficiency. It’s at the core of all of our methodologies. As a big part of our communications and risk management strategies, we encourage our clients to engage/keep in mind their organisational vision when producing any content. Better management encourages greater efficiency and in turn that means better productivity; in principle that is what all businesses want and we help them get there. Our model encourages businesses to ask themselves some key questions before they produce statements to protect our brand and public profile.

Organisational Alignment 

Is the content consistent with the vision and values of the organisation? (i.e. commitment to people, service delivery, safety, clients and the environment)?

Does it support your company policies and vision?

·         Aligns with stakeholder demographic

·         In line with organisational values & policies

·         Avoids issues of contention and risk

·         Supports business objectives

 

Business alignment

Does the content drive your business objectives? Generally it should be:

·         Reaffirming position as leader

·         Delivering call to action

·         Building relationships

 

Risk Assessment

Does content avoid subjects that are currently or have been historically an issue within stakeholder groups?

·         Employee

·         Client

·         Shareholder

·         Industry

·         Media

·         Community

 

Stakeholder alignment

Ensure that the content is relevant to one or multiple stakeholder groups.

 

Image credit: A.u.t.u.m.n, Flickr Creative Commons