and the buck stops…

How a business engages in social media should be directly related to their social media policy. Just like any employment conditions, every business should have their engagement policy in social media documented.

This will this protect the employer and the employee. Everyone knows what is expected from them, how to engage and the consequences if they don’t comply. Blocking sites is one option, but in the age of social networking more harm can be done than good – it is really archaic. Educating staff is the best solution.

Where do I start? A social media policy needs to be in line with the business ethics and leadership. “Buy in” is needed from the most senior of management to every employee. At the end of the day the “buck stops” with the business owner/senior management so they should lead in the writing of the social media policy.

Social Media Policies take time to write and will constantly change as technology evolves. Often the best place to start is writing what you don’t want to happen.

Each business is different – so one model does not fit all. If you need help with your social media policies please feel free to contact me at jhall@e-resources.co.nz.

Convincing the troops

How do we convince risk-adverse staff to participate in social media?

As a business you have taken the time to have an online presence.  Your Facebook site is done, your LinkedIn page is done, you are even blogging, but now you have to convince others in the business that this is a good idea.

Like selling any product or service you sell them on the benefits of social media.  You must show them how they can engage with their customer easier.

In every business there are different personality types.  Take these needs into consideration when putting together a social media policy.  What type of media is comfortable for one person to communicate on can be totally outside someone else’s comfort zone.  Some will engage faster than others, don’t take it that the “others” are interested, often they may need more coaching.

Before launching social media in your business, brief your staff, set expectations and guidelines.  Dont make it too complicated.

  • Explain the purpose of social media. Why are we doing it as a business.
  • responsible for what you write: exercise good judgement and common sense.
  • Be authentic: always sign the post with your name, your position and your company.  Dont be afraid to express your personality and engage with your customers.
  •  Be Transparent: Everyone can read it.  Current clients, potential clients, as well as current/past/future employees.  Customise your content appropriately.
  • Exercise good judgment: “Think twice before hitting send”.   Respond to comments like you are responding face to face.  The old “write, save and walk away” comes into play.  There is a difference between opinion and inappropriate content. Give examples to your staff.  Every business is different, get the buy in from senior management on what they want to see online.  Have guidelines for your staff.
  • Give credit where it is due: if you repost or share, name the source.
  • It’s not necessary to share everything: confidential information must stay confidential.
  • Social Media = timewasting?: set some guidelines around social media engagement.  What is supposed to be done in work time etc… the right balance is essential
  • Finally Use your common sense.  If it doesn’t feel right dont’ post it.

and remember “Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard with your face on it.”

– Erin Bury

Know your boundaries. Knowing the rules of engagement

In social media you must know what content is appropriate. To keep your followers interested follow this list of etiquette.

Personal information. Keep personal information for your friends and family. Draw the line in the sand!

Create two different profiles if needed. Keep the two seperate.

Don’t post personal comments on your business sites. People don’t want to hear about your kids sport events on Saturday mornings. Keep “personal” personal and “Business” business Saying this you can promote yourself through your personal sites but just be aware of when “too much is enough”.

Business sites

Complete your business profiles as much as possible. Use real details – your name, your phone number and professional photos (avoid family snaps)

Don’t slander customers on social sites. if you wouldn’t say something to someone “face to face” don’t say it online. Once online it is visible forver.

LinkedIn
Don’t connect with people you have never had any association with. If you want to be introduced go through a mutual contact. Or send a personal email. Say how you are connected or why you want to be in contact. LinkedIn is a great resource when used the right way.

I am always talking about content – but is important to create content, dont just share it.

time to take the plunge…

As a business where do you start? You want to do this but it is quite a minefield. It doesn’t need to be scary… just jump right in.

You have information you want to share? Start with small but regular posts – don’t be dishearted if no one reads them initially – they will.

Break it down into the types of content you want to deliver. It is as simple as getting a whiteboard or piece of paper and drafting it out.

Put all the different channels down – Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube etc.. then underneath those write what types of communication you want to deliver. Now below the headings write the information you want to share.

Then it is as simple as just taking the plunge. Go do it!

Small business and social media… how much are they engaging in NZ?

Going into combat – two different ways of delivering your troops!

Like going to war, you need to think about the delivery mechanisms for your information. With this I don’t mean twitter, facebook or linkedin – I mean “how” can I get the customer to read or watch. How can I deliver my product information in a new and exciting way?

There was no “death by powerpoint” at a sales conference I presented at last week. Instead I used two relatively new ways of sharing information. First is xtranormal. “if you can type, you can make an animated video”. The response I received was worth the time invested. You can create the first animated video and share it for free – after that there is a small charge. It isn’t huge $$ so give it a go. My last blog has an example of xtranormal.

Second was Prezi. Online sharing and editing of presentations. Prezi takes a few minutes to get used to, so use the tutorials.

These new tools help deliver product training and allow you to share information in a new and varied way. Think about the information you want to share and how you can deliver it. The content that you deliver is essential. Make it concise and appropriate to the audience.

Variety is the spice of life!

Next blog: Another two…