What’s Your Social “Backup Bench” Plan?


This month’s post is coming live from my couch. Thanks to a torn tendon in my foot, I’ve been working from home while recovering from surgery. It’s been a long process, 5 weeks down, 1 to go, and not much fun in between. My situation required a lot of planning and re-thinking schedules at home and at work. And it’s why I’m asking you: what is your social media backup plan, and who’s on your backup bench?

I am so lucky to have a great team of peers that are always willing to pinch hit when needed. But social media can be a tricky knowledge transfer. There are so many moving parts, multiplied exponentially with each social platform you have a presence on, and all those parts leave multiple opportunities for mistakes and dropped balls.

What’s your social “backup bench” plan? Click To Tweet

Planning for the future

Nobody wants to be out of commission, but the odds are good that there will be situations in the future where you need to know that someone has your firms’ back when it comes to your social/communication plans. Whether you are taking care of your social activity yourself, or you have an admin/marketing manager who oversees these initiatives, one thing is for sure – social doesn’t sleep. Do you have a contingency plan in place to make sure your social voice doesn’t need to go on hiatus?

Some points to consider:

  • Designate a backup person: There should be at least two people who know how to perform key social functions, even if it’s only to put things on hold in an emergency situation. While it’s obviously easy for us to get into our own little silos – especially in small offices where resources are at a minimum – it’s never a good idea for someone to be the ONLY one who knows how to maintain a function of your firm.
  • Accounts and passwords: Have a living document that lists all of your social channels, scheduling services, and passwords. This document should go through quarterly audits to ensure it is up to date. This is also a great way to make sure any archiving services (such as SMARSH) you use are still connected and keeping you compliant. This living document needs to be accessible by the owner, as well as at least one other person that is a designated backup person in case of emergencies, or even scheduled needs (extended vacations, etc.)
  • Social training and approvals: Make sure your primary (possibly yourself) and your backup know the ins and outs of your social media policy.  Anyone who will possibly write or manage the social presence needs to be trained on guidelines set forth by your firm or firm’s home office, and what is okay and not okay in our regulated industry. Don’t set up your backup for any regulatory fouls.
  • Step-by-step guides: I realize that it can be a lot of work, but consider having detailed step-by-step directions that walk through your social media processes (think legal review, publication, scheduling, etc.) I’ve found that screen shots are extremely helpful. Remember, your backup will more than likely get trained and walked through your processes and then not need to actually step in for long periods of time. Visual cues are great to refresh a person’s memory… especially if the need for the backup is unexpected and they haven’t had the luxury of a refresher.
  • Don’t forget about your social scheduler: If your firm uses a social media scheduling platform like Hootsuite or Buffer, don’t forget to include this in your backup plan. In the case of a planned absence, it’s a huge benefit to be able to schedule social activity to take the burden off of your backup. But make sure that your backup knows what’s scheduled, and how to edit/pause/delete any scheduled message just in case. You never know what could happen while you are out that may affect something already setup to launch.

An ounce of prevention

Planning for the unknown may not always seem like the first priority on your long to do list, but imagine the strife you can avoid by having that plan in place. Trust me, when emergencies arise, social media is not going to be first on your priority list of concerns. But it doesn’t mean it needs to fall by the wayside either. The good news is that social media is also not “hard” to do; most people at this point have at least some familiarity with social platforms. So set some time aside now in your schedule and get a backup plan in place. You’ll thank me later. I promise.

Heather Wilson

Heather Wilson

Heather Wilson is the social media contributor for Practically Speaking and social media manager within the SEI Advisor Network.

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