What Is A Social Media Playbook?

As with everything in life, it is best to be guided by rules. Rules can give you a sense of direction as to what your purpose is and how can you become a better person.

The same thing goes for social media, where although everyone can have a say in how they use it, there are some entities and personalities that would need to protect their reputation while being in it. If you are an influential personality with a number of social media accounts managed by agencies, or a major corporation that has a lot of stakeholders, a social media playbook would be the guiding document that can provide all of the people within your company the list of freedoms and boundaries for their day-to-day social media use, and rules for engagement when using managed accounts.


A social media playbook is a living document that has the following:

  1. The objectives of your company as far as social media is concerned;
  2. The roles and responsibilities of every employee in social media (both personal and company managed accounts);
  3. The Rules of Engagement;
  4. Guidelines for Reporting and;
  5. Your company’s Social Media Policy.

To better understand these areas of the playbook, let’s break it down one by one.


The first thing you have to ask is “What will my company do in social media?” Will your company use it as a customer service channel? Or are you using it to promote your products and services? These are the key questions that you need to answer to determine how your playbook is going to be written. These objectives should be results-driven. Every objective should have an expected and measurable result that applies to what you will be doing in the world of social media. The two most commonly used objectives are:

-To gain presence of one’s brand in social media
-To provide engagement and/or customer service for one’s brand via one or multiple social media platforms

From these main objectives, you can add more goals that you would like to set up for your company, all of which are dependent on the size and the nature of business that you have.

To take the Salesforce.com Social Scorecard TEST: http://www.radian6.com/socialscorecard/ For resources on building your company objectives in social media: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-setup-a-social-media-business-strategy/

If you are still questioning whether there is ROI in social media, I suggest you watch this short video by entrepreneur and social media thoughtleader Gary Vaynerchuk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwZT4qg0d-A


Every employee will have an influence over your company’s social media efforts. Whether directly or indirectly, every person represents the company in one way or another in the online world.

Some of these employees will also take the role of being the voice of the company through engagement in social media, and it is important to set rules for them so that they can be consistent and cautious when using company social accounts.

The roles and responsibilities will also cover the organizational structure of the company, as it shows who are the people answerable to each other’s roles, with respect to social media.

One of the most common mistakes companies make is to give one of their junior staff social media as their side project. For a reputable company, social is an opportunity to connect to your customers in some of the richest and most personal ways online. Don’t be the last mover in your industry to get active on social media, customers are not going to wait for you.


Think of the rules of engagement as the heart of the playbook. It is a systematized plan that shows who does what, within a certain time, and how they should do it. Key components include:

-Keyword management process – What is the process for continuously optimizing the keywords you are listening for -What to respond to versus what to ignore – e.g. Do you respond to people swearing at you? -Tagging and assigning posts – How do you define positive vs. negative sentiment? -Crisis detection and escalation – What is the process you take in case of a crisis? -Quality assurance – How do I check the quality of the work my social media team are doing every day? -Response times / SLAs – What time of day will I respond to customers, and how quickly?

Here is an example of how Havaianas could respond to various mentions relating to their brand:


Reporting covers the data that you will gather based on what you know about your brand in social media. By using a social listening tool, you can capture the data and translate it to reports that you can show to your stakeholders. At AllFamous, we use Radian6 and the Radian6 Engagement Console for this. It captures the mentions of a brand from social media and renders it usable as data that you can then escalate, assign and tag. For social media playbooks that require reporting, it is important to determine which social listening tool is going to be used to provide the information needed by the stakeholders of a certain enterprise.

BRAND MONITORING REPORT Frequency: Weekly or monthly

Create a report that monitors your brand and allows you to create actionable insights. The key information for this report (aside from the key metrics described above), would be:

-Brand Sentiment trend and spike analysis -Competitor sentiment trend and spike analysis -Examples of Tweets to support spike analysis -Recommendations


If the rules of engagement are considered collectively as the heart of the playbook, then the Social Media Policy is the brains of the operation. It provides for the rules as to what one must and must not do in social media, through managed accounts or even through their personal accounts.

An example of which is the social media policy of multinational corporations. Companies may require a disclaimer for employees using their personal social media accounts. Notes such as “The views and opinions of (employee) does not necessarily reflect that of (the company)” in personal social media accounts is in itself, a part of social media policy that is applied in certain companies such as law firms, media conglomerates and advertising agencies. This is just one of the many possible clauses that are within a social media policy.

See examples of social media policies by clicking here: http://socialmediagovernance.com/policies/


The answer to this is a definite YES. Establishing a playbook from early on will protect and establish your company’s reputation in social media. If you see social listening and engagement as a viable channel that you can use to your advantage, then you need a social media playbook to drive you towards the right and consistent direction.

-Understand how necessary it is to have a social media playbook: http://www.slideshare.net/MohdshamsherKhan/what-theheckisasocialmediaplaybookandwhydoineedone
-Learn more about how to create a Social Media Playbook: http://http//readwrite.com/2012/04/09/how-to-create-your-own-social#awesm=~oE7Z0KfMA9sSP2
-Find Social Media Playbook resources: http://http//www.salesforcemarketingcloud.com/resources/ebooks/

This article was also on: https://www.afdigital.com/what-is-a-social-media-playbook/

Ready to Redefine your experience?

Reach out to us if you need help in your digital marketing and transformation.
We’re here to help set you up for success!

Let's work together