There are a few casino properties that have taken the time to create a social media policy. Some, not all, casino properties that have created a social media policy have written a social media policy that is poor. A poorly written social media policy can restrict and kill social media engagement, which is the exact opposite of what Social media is supposed to do for the business.
Social media policies should support and empower high-quality engagement. It is about empowerment and trust. Some casinos have adopted the idea that an advertising agency can be responsible for social media for the property. It will only be successful if there is constant contact between the casino and the advertising agency. Also the discussion between the casino and the advertising agency needs to be clear. Realize that the advertising agency is now a third voice for communication to take place between the casino and the public. Just like in grade school; if you get to many people in the middle passing along the story, the story will change before it reaches its audience. Some casino properties try to stay away from social media because they do not trust an employee to be online and / or they do not trust their advertising agency. The policy of putting the social media responsibility into the advertising agency can also kill social media engagement. The reason it kills the social media engagement is because an advertising agency begins to use social media as an advertising channel and not as a real-time marketing tool and building a relationship with customers and engaging in a conversation with customers. Example: “Here are the winners of our poker tournament!” – This announcement has no way to engage in a conversation with your customers. (This will be covered in a later discussion)
Why have Social Media Policies?
Social media policies are different. In most policies and procedures, we document what staff should do in certain situations: “If this happens, do that.” For social media, there is no way to know exactly what situations may arise – or in many cases – how staff should best handle them. Each social media network and each relationship is unique and the social media environment changes daily. “No way to know exactly what situation may arise” – A great example was the way MGM handled the big crowds of people that were in Mandalay Bay the night three major events were taking place at the property. The staff at MGM got onto the social media channels and informed the public that they were aware of the crowds and were working on the efforts to get people in and out safely and in a timely manner. A majority of the comments directed back to the Mandalay Bay by the public through the social media channels were comments of gratitude, thanking Mandalay Bay for being aware of the situation and trying to do something about it. A great example of real-time marketing! Within minutes of the situation taking place, the casino was able to inform the public that they were aware of the situation and were working on it, and also within minutes of making the public aware, the customers were able to provide feedback.
Given an uncertain environment, how do casinos move forward using social media?
Listed below are areas that your organization can use to begin your social media policy for your casino.
Gather Your Team
A social media policy cannot be written by one person alone. It must be unique to your property and ideally should include input from many different people from different departments.
A team approach ensures that key areas of risk are managed properly and that any future challenges that may arise are handled appropriately.
Besides the staff directly involved in social media, potential team members might include: CEO, General Manager, HR Director, IT Director, Marketing Director, Hotel Director, may be all department heads, Legal Counsel and at least one person that has a complete understanding of social media, even if it is an outside source.
Not every member of this team needs to be aware of the intimate details of your social media activities. Think of it this way: if a crisis should occur, what information does your team need to have (about the social media and legal landscapes as well as your organization and values) in order to respond appropriately on social media?
Who needs to be on your social media team? How does it compare to who is on your crisis management team? Or does your property have a crisis management team in place? Does the other employees from all of your departments know who is the social media team or crisis management team? The other employees from the other departments should be informed of these teams. If a situation should arise, employees would know who to turn too on either one of these teams.
Focus on Creating Culture
Social media changes every day. Bureaucratic policies aren’t likely to be successful. Instead, create a culture of innovation, idea-sharing, problem-solving and creativity. There is a direct link between internal organizational culture and policies. In fact, the policies that are put in place shape the culture of the business.
As you write your policies, include processes that reinforce a culture of evaluation and learning. Here are some questions to consider:
Who is on your social media team? Does the social media team reflect the crisis management team?
How often does the social media team meet? What is covered in the meetings? Is there a 3 month, 6 month, and 12 month plan in place?
How are problems/challenges handled and by whom?
How will successes be evaluated and what will be learned from failures?
In your policies, you can acknowledge the social media cultural values of transparency, consistency, connection, creativity and promptness. With these values in mind, build processes that emphasize training, support and evaluation.