Warm Handoff Is Key to Managing Channels

A runner handing a baton to another runner Part 2 in the Outside Channel Managers Series

Guest post by Jennifer Hatton

It is rare these days to begin working with a new client who doesn’t have at least one live social media channel.  Many clients have two or more channels that are “live” and because of that we have a process to make sure we get the information we need and get off to a good start. It’s called the warm handoff.

The warm handoff is a term used in tech to categorize a  service or support issue for which everyone on the team knows what’s going on.  A cold handoff is one in which information is missing or a ball gets dropped along the chain.  We of course prefer a warm handoff when we onboard as channel managers, which means you have everything you need to get started.

Onboarding Existing Channels

Getting a verbal or written download from the previous channel manager is the first step. Learn all you can by asking them questions such as:

  • What is your process for posting and reviewing content?
  • Where do you get content that is not directly from the client? Other organizations’ Facebook pages/Twitter accounts, websites, etc.
  • What gets the most response from followers?
  • What is the least popular (but maybe necessary) content?
  • In your opinion, what is the tone and voice?
  • Is there an approved strategy?
  • Anything else that is important or noteworthy?

There are times when the person you are relieving is not available.  When this happens, you can use the same questions, but you’ll be answering them by observing the channels directly.

State of the Channels

Now is the time to start digging into the channels and do a mid level “state of the channels” review.  Go through the pages. Look at everything. A good place to start are the bios – are they complete,  still relevant, using the correct hashtags, do the links work.  For Facebook, take a long look at the “About” page to make sure hours, links, long and short descriptions, and the custom URL are all filled out. Double check the type of page while you are there. One surprise is often the organization forgot to claim their page name and URL.  Check that too.

Secure the Channels

Security is important but we frequently see clients who get busy and forget about their channel security.  Who has access to the channels? Do you need all those page managers?  What email addresses are linked to Twitter and Instagram? Use a password keeper application or a document to list all the channels and log-in details.

Passwords should be different for each channel and changed whenever you change channel managers.  A yearly security and password update is also recommended to keep you and your client safe. There are easy to use password applications that not only save your passwords but help you create new ones, too. One example is Last Pass (link to site) but there are several to choose from.

Check All the Images

The last step in reviewing the state of the channels is to look at images. Check for current logos, make sure sizing is correct on profile photos and that images are credited properly. Facebook cover photos should be refreshed periodically. As a new channel manager, you have the opportunity to plan ahead to switch them out at least quarterly to keep the page looking fresh and visually interesting.

To sum it up, ask lots of questions! The more you know the easier it will be to onboard as a new channel manager. What tips do you have to make sure you have a warm handoff?

In Part 1, we looked at the keys to being a successful outside channel manager.

In Part 3, we’ll look at how to review your channels with a critical eye.

Jennifer HJennifer Hatton photo atton manages social media channels –from the outside–for clients in healthcare, tourism, retail and the hospitality industry.