10 Step Checklist to Follow When Your Social Media Superstar Leaves
A local country western music station here in town is losing their superstar morning DJ. For 20 years, Bob Cole has been the face of KVET radio. He has led 2 decades of toy drives, his voice has urged supporters to build the Dell Children’s Center, and he has become known as a loyal champion of our military heroes. He has been the face and voice of this radio station’s brand. Bob Cole is KVET radio – he IS their brand.
The way the station is handling Bob’s leaving is worth noting. They are running extended narrative ads, playing with high frequency at various times during the day, telling the story about his departure. They explain how he has been there leading the way, how he has contributed, how he has done good work. They recognize their audience’s participation in the results Cole facilitated. They assure the audience he is leaving on good terms. They express their appreciation of his contribution and wish him the most sincere best wishes as he moves into the next phase of his life.
Here’s the clincher – they ask everyone to share their stories, memories, and feelings about Bob on their Facebook page. Ah, sweet golden nectar! Rather than ignore the brand impact Bob’s leaving will have, rather than simply have people wake up one morning and he is gone, rather than being impersonal and “business”, they integrated it all together. Ahhhh….
Here’s the thing though – not everyone on the FB page is loving it. Apparently Clear Channel (a mega media conglomerate) is making format changes beyond just Bob. Not everyone’s happy. Some commenters are complaining about deleted comments, so the company might be struggling a bit with how to manage it all. But they are still letting the situation evolve on its own, for the most part. I wonder how well most companies would do this same thing…not very, I suspect.
You might not like what they’ve chosen to do as a radio station, but they are having the conversation out in the open. In one way, the company is moving the station to something that their numbers have shown will work better. Industries change. Sometimes management navigates that well, sometimes not, but kudos to KVET for not censoring most comments (beyond removing comments that are abusive). They are letting the conversation take place. Hard to do, but a fantastic example of real life social media.
This real life laboratory example of social media, branding, and expectation management messaging got me thinking. What are you going to do – how are you going to talk about it – when your social media superstar leaves? How are you going to manage an industry-wide change that impacts long standing talent you’ve had in house? Are you incorporating the audience into the experience? If not, why not?
To highlight a few ideas to consider, here is a 10 step checklist of things to be sure to do (based on this example) to navigate the exit of your talent:
- Acknowledge the value of the relationship
- Highlight the shared accomplishments
- Give a sincere and honest rendition of the situation (be careful here – too much spin will not be respected)
- Honor the audience’s role in the relationship
- Say what’s come before, what is now, and foreshadow the future
- Integrate mixed media messaging to get the word out
- Be proactive - have liberal policies that encourage rather than discourage sharing & discussion
- Invite participation and let the conversation happen uncensored (negative opinions ok, hate speech not)
- Say please and thank you
- Don’t introduce the new participant too soon
Of course you are going to change social media profile passwords and such but there is more at stake than any nefarious shenanigans in a change like this.
If your social media person has been doing a kick butt job of living your brand, they are entangled with you (and you with them). The audience has come to love them and you need to stay keenly aware of this.
Some of you may be saying that the real answer is to not let any one person have “that much” power over you. WRONG answer. The work great social media professionals do requires personalization, affection, and devotion. Staying nondescript and corporate will not build your audience. It will not build rapport and loyalty. You will not gain the traction you could if you attempt keep your employees at arm’s length from your brand and your audience.
Cultivating and nurturing social media superstars takes finesse. You need to remember that personal digital reputation is an asset. Encouraging your officers, employees, and beyond to join the social media conversation will lead to them developing a digital reputation and that is a good thing. How you handle the bumps in the road and the natural evolution of your talent and your industry is something you will have to do deal with. Deal with it and you’ll be fine.
Til next time!
Vicki @Smartwoman Flaugher
p.s. This is NOT autobiographical in nature – I am happy as a bug here at commPRO and I love them like crazy. Hope you’re enjoying the show we put on for you here too.
[graphic by Creative Tools]
Published: December 19, 2011 By: