The 5 Keys to Digital Governance Success

Recently, our VP of Product, Michael Sentfleber, and the Senior Director of Digital Governance at PepsiCo, Cory Notrica, hosted a webinar titled, “Keeping Your Brand Safe on Social: Best Practices for Approaching Brand Security and Risk Management.” Most brands understand that cultivating a sophisticated social media presence is now a must, but the webinar was an eye-opener in another respect: Notrica and Senftleber declared that digital governance is now also a must for brands of all types, in all industries.

Social media governance is now a must for brands of all types, in all industries.


Sentfleber quoted Warren Buffett: “It takes twenty years to build your reputation, but five minutes to ruin it.” He added that, on social, those five minutes can be reduced to mere seconds. “There will always be risks with social,” Sentfleber explained, “but we’re here to help. If you keep in mind how hard it is to build trust and how easy it is to destroy it, you’ll do things differently as a brand on social,” he added.

Social media moves quickly, and brands need to keep up to remain competitive, but they still must keep risks at bay. The two biggest reasons to invest in digital and social media governance as a brand are reputation and reach, Notrica explained. Companies, he said, are based on their brand reputation: “If consumers don’t trust your brand, they won’t buy from you.” Social media governance therefore enables your brand reputation. Notrica explained that the way to reach customers is to communicate with them and today, social media is the best place to facilitate that communication.

Specifically, brands need three key criteria to stay safe on social: social governance policies, processes, and technology, Sentfleber explained. All three were thoroughly explored in the webinar, and below, we’ll summarize Notrica’s suggestions for governance policies and processes. For more details on the third component—technology—we point you to the webinar or our recent blog post.

The Five Keys to Digital Governance Success

Notrica identified five components to social governance success, all of which are crucial and work in concert. Notrica stressed that each brand will have unique needs when it comes to governance. Some brands, for example, only need an informal workflow when it comes to content management, while others work better with a well-defined and comprehensive approach to all types of content. It is therefore important to assess your brand’s unique needs using the following as guidelines:

Each brand will have unique needs when it comes to social media governance.


1. Strategy

Set the right tone with your brand’s governance vision and mission and have the right policies in place. A vision, explained Notrica, is static, whereas a mission is dynamic. Your social media mission details how your brand will accomplish its vision. It takes time to come up with a vision and a mission for your governance program, and stakeholders throughout the company—from marketing to legal to communications to IT and more—will need to be consulted.

2. Risk assessment

Identify what could go wrong for your brand on your social channels. Involve the entire company in risk assessment so that you have a full sense of problems that could arise. It’s important to constantly reassess risks to your brand on social and how to address them, Notrica said.

3. Business process

Develop both a short-term and a long-term plan to address and prevent the risks you’ve identified before they occur. It’s this action plan that helps protect your brand. Every component of this list is important, but this one is crucial, Notrica said.

4. Communication and awareness

Keep everyone in your organization aware of what’s going on with your social media program. Commit to communicating to the organization as a whole about what everyone needs to watch out for and what your expectations are in terms of governance. Notrica recommended putting both items in writing, even in smaller companies.

5. Monitoring

After you’ve done the above, you need to know if your governance program is actually working, and that’s where monitoring comes in: Keep track of what consumers and other brands are saying about your brand on social and if anyone is impersonating your brand. Some brands use technology to do this, while others might use interns or other employees. It’s important, Notrica said, to identify threats to your organization on an ongoing basis: “Put your foot down on the accelerator and don’t let up,” he explained.

Listen to the entire webinar (on demand right here) for more details about social media policies and processes from Notrica. Also in the webinar, Sentfleber dives deep on tech: he explains how you can use Spredfast Vault to ensure consistency with governance across your business and protect your brand’s reputation when employees must go native on social.

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Jaime Netzer is Spredfast's Senior Content Marketing Manager, leading content operations. A Lawrence, Kansas native, she traded seasons for breakfast tacos seven years ago and hasn't looked back since. Also a fiction writer and journalist, Jaime tweets semi-regularly and reads constantly.