By Daniel Bailey, Digital Account Lead
Mergers and Acquisitions don’t come around too often, especially now that Britain’s EU referendum vote is set to significantly impact the global state of the M&A market. Fortunately, I’m not here to share more Brexit doom and gloom… I’m writing this blog to explore how you can harness the power that social media holds to ensure any upcoming M&A deals you might be involved in are handled as smoothly as possible online.
The key to ensuring success is to put together a social media plan. This plan would outline what needs to be done and how you intend it to be carried out — including what you need to deliver to support the deal. This can be anything from drafting social media posts, to creating a step-by-step guide on how staff members can change their social bios. The plan should consist of at least three sections, including News, Handover and Support. Across the plan your guiding question should be: “how can I increase awareness?”.
News – Here you should define your activity and how you intend to get the message out via your social media channels. The most important aspect of this section is creating social posts that will be shared to spread the news and keep your message consistent. But it won’t just be posts for the company’s social feeds — don’t forget about your staff. By drafting a handful of messages that they can use/adapt for their own personal feeds further helps you maintain that consistency. This section is also perfect for detailing how you plan on tracking traffic back to your website, and for outlining any target audiences in case you’re planning some sponsored social posts to push the news to a wider audience.
Handover – This whole section handles the transition phase of closing down the acquired company’s social media feeds. You should agree a timeline and establish some pre-approved messaging to be used on each of your social media bios. It’s helpful that social networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook allow you to pin posts to the top of their news feeds. This functionality is ideal for ensuring that anyone who visits the page will see the news straight away. Another quick note, don’t forget to affiliate the acquired company’s LinkedIn Company Page with the parent company’s page — this can easily be done by following these instructions.
Support – The support step is about ensuring that the M&A process is being monitored online and that the right support is being provided to both companies and their staff members. Social media monitoring platforms such as Hootsuite are ideal for monitoring Twitter for any key words related to the business deal, this is vital for keeping an eye on any mention of the news before, during and after the announcement. Providing support to staff is also crucial during an M&A deal so ensure you share any social media guidelines and best practices amongst your teams. The more your staff are sharing the news, the wider your message will reach.
Of course there may be a few curve balls along the way — like the news leaking out before the official announcement — but following a best practice approach can certainly ease your organisation through the process and provide a good base from which to tackle any issues.