Business

Craft a Solid Social Media Policy

ID-100144400Imagine the following occurring at your business. You hire a social media marketing agency to help develop and implement social media strategies for your brand’s advertising and marketing programs. You give the staff access to your corporate accounts. One day you learn that a staff member from the agency drops the F-bomb while tweeting about your industry on your corporate account.  This is the nightmare the Chrysler Group faced.

Crafting a social media policy that outlines your organizations’ guidelines for communicating online saves you from these types of public embarrassments.

Consider this incident.  You notice the Internet is slow. Your IT team works on the problem. They discover the problem is due to issues pertaining to the bandwidth. Too many items have been downloaded, and your IT team attributes those items to the thousands of minutes your employees consumed on Pandora and YouTube. This is a what Procter & Gamble endured.

Don’t let these incidents happen to you.

A social media policy helps you to manage and monitor discussions about the company as well as the use of social media networks by employees.

When you write your policy, account for the company’s personal ethics. In other words, ensure the policy upholds the values of the organization. The policy needs to have a strong legal backbone that addresses issues, such as securing trade secrets, compliance with federal and state laws, privacy and employee liability.  Keep the policy authentic. Even though many generic templates are available online your businesses policy must speak to the company’s culture and focus on the unique ways the business can give value on social networking platforms.

Start putting your policy together with a task force of social media evangelists at your company and upper management. Outline an approval process and determine who’ll have authority over the social media networks. Clearly establish the content identifying what’s acceptable and what’s unacceptable. Next, do some research. Find effective social media policies and learn how these policies are evolving by visiting the National Labor Relations Board. The Board puts out a report that discusses different social media policies.

Remember, a social media policy avoids risks by protecting the company’s online brand.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Extra

CEOs are Embracing Social Media

Many businesses realize involving the CEO in its social media activities raises a company’s thought leadership and credibility. CEOs reap these benefits including a raised profile.

CEOs interest in social media over the past couple of years has grown. They are curious about what customers have to say, and they are listening to the conversations that are occurring online. The CEOs who participate in online activities understand the need to relate with the company’s customers and its prospects.

Slowly, they have increased their visibility on company websites and videos.

CEOs Social Media Resistance

The process of CEOs joining online conversations has been slow because some CEOs haven’t felt the need to communicate on social media. They’ve reasoned if business is good than what’s the point. Others have questioned the return on the investment. However, this way of thinking doesn’t work anymore. Customers are asking questions and they are looking for companies that are more socially responsible.

Customers are drawn to company’s that are more socially conscious, such as those brands that have incorporated social and environmental causes into their mission.  They’re looking for brands to demonstrate their passion for causes on social media, and this is encouraging companies to communicate.

In addition, concerned CEOs also feared risks, such as security breaches and data privacy; and, they worried about negative feedback. However, if CEOs and businesses arm themselves with a solid social media strategy and social media policy, these situations are often avoided.

The Benefits of a CEOs Social Media Presence

As a leader of an organization CEOs have a pulpit where they can share their voice. They can use it as an opportunity to empower a community, nurture the culture of the workplace, set the tone of the work environment, inspire and encourage people to reach their goals.

A CEO’s participation is critical because it fosters a dialogue and relationships. If offers transparency, especially when success and mistakes are acknowledged because it creates authenticity which can build trust.

The engagement of C-suite executives on social media makes them better equipped to lead a company, communicate values and shape a company’s reputation, according to Brandfog’s 2012 first annual CEO, Social Media Leadership survey.

In addition, respondents of the social media leadership branding firm’s most recent survey viewed CEOs social engagement as a gateway to create deeper connections with customers, employees and shareholders. The 2013 survey, questioned 800 US and UK employees at startups and Fortune 1000 companies.

The analysis revealed 80.6 percent of survey respondents believe social media is an important communication channel. It offers CEOs  a chance to engage with customers and investors. In addition, 83.9 percent thought CEO social media engagement is an effective tool to increase brand loyalty.

“The role of the CEO has been transformed by social media and CEOs have no choice but to become more visible, social and accessible than ever before,” says Brandfog’s CEO Ann Charles in a company statement.

 

Business, Extra

CEOs’ Use of Facebook

hand working businessMore CEOs are gravitating toward social media to capture insightful information and to participate in online chats and conversations. One popular social networking site they are choosing to appear on is Facebook.

Facebook has dominated the social networking landscape. It has more than one billion active users. An estimated 143 million Americans have a Facebook profile, according to a 2012 “Social Habit” report from Edison Research and Arbitron, and many of them are dedicated users.   The report found nearly a quarter of Facebook users check their account at least five times a day.

Researchers for the 2012 CEO.com Social CEO study combed through Facebook filtering out CEOs with accurate profiles, relevant content and a good number of followers. They found as many as 38 CEOs from Fortune 500 companies use the site.

However, Edison Research and Arbitron’s discovery that Facebook is the dominant platform for brand-following behavior and that it’s the network that influences respondents buying decisions the most is resonating with CEOs.

Some businesses hear “Facebook” and only think its relevant to the B2C side of business; however, they’re mistaken. The social media platform can serve their B2B side as well.  In fact, Hubspot’s 2012 State of Inbound Marketing report learned the 43 percent of B2B companies who were questioned acquired their customers using Facebook.

They use the platform to build awareness, generate leads and build thought-leadership.  In addition, they customize offers throughout each stage of the sales funnel to connect with people on Facebook.

CEOs can take advantage of the Facebook’s social networking platform by providing their perspectives and insight, responding to customer feedback, seeking suggestions for new products and services and understanding EdgeRank.

Photo Courtesy: GraphicStock.com

Do you think CEOs should have a presence on Facebook? Why or why not?

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Read more:

Understanding Edge Rank

Learn more on this topic in the ExecSense webinar, “CEO Best Practices for Using Facebook to Land New Customers.”

 

Business, Business writing, Career, Small business

Build buzz and generate income by guest blogging

ID-10049737Guest Blogging is a great and inexpensive method to create buzz around your business and to promote new products. It involves writing a blog that is published on another blog site. The site that hosts your blog posts is one that’s related to your niche and has attracted a large audience.

Simply blogging on your own website has a list of benefits of its own, but this list expands when you are a guest blogger. Here’s why. Blogging builds your online reputation because you are joining a community of thought leaders, and when you respond to comments you are participating in the intellectual exchange of ideas and thoughts. This helps you build relationships within the blogosphere as well as people within your industry, and these communities can help build awareness about your topic and your business.  As a guest blogger, you are provided the opportunity to reach more people especially those within your target audience.  When you include a link back to your post, you increases traffic back to your blog or business website and this helps generate income.

Bloggers are known for being great networkers and this helps makes approaching them very easy; however, you will still need to practice the proper etiquette. First, start reviewing the blogs within your niche by either using Google Blog Search or Technocrati.  Once you found the blogs sites where you would like to contribute your post, show your appreciation for the content that already exist by leaving well-thought out comments and re-tweeting the post you liked.  Next, send a pitch explaining why and how the topic you would like to post on their blog will help their readers and boost their audience.  Many bloggers anticipate guest bloggers, and they will develop a set of guidelines for them. These are usually posted on their site. If see them, ask what rules you will need to adhere to as you write your post. Once the blog owners’ accepts your idea, write your blog posts, but also make sure to include your author bio and link back to the website you would like to promote.   Now that the post is up, don’t make the mistake of thinking all your work is done.  Unlike article writing for most print and online publications, you will need to follow your post and respond to the comments that are made.

Guest blogging is a great way to promote your blog site and your business. Always practice good blogging etiquette by letting others know about the blog posts on the host site, respond to comments made on your posts and invite the owner of the blog site who welcomed you the opportunity to contribute a post on your blog site.

Image courtesy of jscreationzs/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net