Creating a Social Media Policy – 10 Points You Should Include

Before embarking on a social media journey within your organisation you need to create a social media policy as guidance for your employees, partners, resellers and customers on how you operate within the social channels. Your organisation’s social media policy should not merely be a list of do’s and don’ts, but rather guidance on social conduct and netiquette. The best social media policies are kept short and sweet and are not open to interpretation or misinterpretation. Remember mobilising your employees, partners, resellers, clients and customers socially helps open up new communication channels and networks that were previously untapped for your organisation. So, be brave and utilise social media and blogging for your organisation. The following bullet points are worth considering when writing a social media policy for your organisation:

  1. Engagement. You can’t have a meaningful conversation when you’re an “observer”, so take action and join in with the social conversation. If you’re new to social media, then start by posting a comment on your organisation’s discussion board, forums or blog. Next, start commenting on third party blogs, Facebook pages, news articles, responding to tweets and then if you’re feeling brave start your own blog. You never know you might just enjoy it creating content.
  2. Identify yourself. When you post on third party blogs and forums make sure you provide your full name, your role and organisation name. If you’re posting on an external site and the topic involves your work, make it clear who you are representing; yourself, your organisation, a client or a combination. Never hide behind an online avatar or profile name. Be open and honest.
  3. Respect the rules and get legal savvy. Individuals are personally legally responsible for any content published, this includes; tweets, blog posts and comments. So, pay close attention to user guidelines, terms of service, terms and conditions, copyright, fair use, financial disclosure and local laws, plus your organisation’s internal communication policies and contract of employment. When quoting someone, use quotation marks and attribute the quote to the content owner.
  4. Don’t reveal sensitive or confidential information. Take the time to learn what information needs to remain private within your organisation. Don’t share sensitive information or provide any financial, confidential or proprietary information about your organisation or its clients, customers, partners, suppliers or vendors. When in doubt always seek advice.
  5. Be transparent. This does not mean share everything, see point 4. However, transparency means admitting your biases, being the first to correct your own mistakes and never altering previous posts without indicating your revision. This invites honest and open conversations. Remember timelines, status updates, comments and posts can still be found within the cache of a search engine. So, deleting will not remove the content permanently. Be careful and think before posting or commenting. Ask yourself will this post or comment benefit your personal brand and the community. If not, then don’t post it.
  6. Practice proper netiquette. Don’t pick fights in order to spark a conversation. Be constructive, respectful and provide recommendations. Show proper consideration for privacy and avoid inflammatory topics and language. Don’t post any material or content that is obscene, defamatory, profane, libellous, threatening, harassing, abusive, hateful or embarrassing to any other person or entity. Think Karma – it will come back to haunt you. So, be a good online social citizen.
  7. Link often and connect. Find out who else is blogging and tweeting on your chosen topic and mention them. They may even return the favour and connect with you. Social media is about making connections, so share the love.
  8. Add value. Provide worthwhile information and commentary. Don’t merely summarise without offering any insight into the subject you are addressing. Readers prize clarity and conciseness. Respect their time and intelligence. Become a subject matter expert and share your knowledge and expertise with the community, you will soon create a respected follower base.
  9. Be yourself, but only better. Blogs, discussion boards, forums, social networks and wikis are places where people interact on a one-to-one or one-to-many basis. So, help humanise the brand and let your real voice be heard. You can and will make some great business connections via social media. So, what are you waiting for? Be personal, start creating content and connect with your peers.
  10. Don’t embarrass yourself. Be mindful to extend this care to your organisation, clients, customers, partners, suppliers and vendors. Be mindful that what you write will be public for a very long time. Think about the social journey as an investment in your career and develop a personal brand that matches your career aspiration. Think before publishing your content and you’ll never have any fears of something embarrassing popping up in the future. Remember what stays online, stays online for a very long time.

Finally, remember keep your social media policy simple so that people can easily digestive the guidance and act within your organisation’s outlined policy. Make sure all your current employees are aware of your new policy and all new hires have the social media policy in their joining instructions. You want to help cultivate a social enterprise and reap the rewards of humanising your organisation’s brand. Good luck with your social media and blogging journey!

You can find me on Twitter or LinkedIn and if you thought this post was interesting, then do check out my Tumblr – Learning and sharing.


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10 Ways to Use Vine’s Six Second Video App in B2B

We’ve heard all the buzz about Twitter purchasing Vine, the six second video social networking platform, which is fast becoming Twitter’s raising star. So, you’re probably thinking what all the fuss about Vine is. Well, that’s exactly what people thought back in 2006 when Twitter emerged on the social landscape. In fact in this ever fast changing world content has to be delivered quickly and succinctly, and this is where the Vine App, a six second social video sharing app plays to this need perfectly. Here are few ideas on how you can utilise Vine:

  1. Develop a short brand video, showcasing your brand values and strap line.
  2. Create a brief customer reference video including a selection of your customers’ logos.
  3. Photo animation of customers with your products.
  4. Create a recruitment video with employees saying your strap line, then closing with a careers URL.
  5. Film a short six second infomercial on your organisation’s statistics.
  6. Whilst attending conferences, exhibitions and trade shows create a feel for the events with a short video.
  7. Shoot brief testimonials from your customers, partners and resellers.
  8. Short product demos can be shot plus use the #demo hashtag when uploading.
  9. Short how to guides plus use the #howto hashtag when uploading.
  10. Product launches can be unveiled in a six second video.

There are so many other opportunities for creating short videos. You are only limited by your own imagination, so what are you waiting for?! Please share your ideas in the comments box; I’d love to see these.

You can find my Vine videos by searching for me “Zoe Sands” or via my Twitter account @Zoe9.

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Vine App Explained and Tips

In this ever fast changing world content has to be delivered quickly and succinctly, the Vine App, a six second social video sharing app plays to this need perfectly. You don’t need to be the next Spielberg or Tarantino to create your short video clip on a continuous loop. All you need to do is point, shoot and upload, it couldn’t be easier. To help you get started the following explains how to use the Vine App, plus I have included a few tips:

  1.  “Home” shows; your timeline of videos you have created, Editor’s Picks, videos you have like and videos from people you are following.
  2. Make sure you use the appropriate #hashtag. You can find the most popular #hashtags by going to “Explore”. You can also search for people too.
  3. The “Activity” section details your videos, people who have started following you and who has liked your recent Vine posts.
  4. Make sure your Twitter profile is completed, as this data will be pulled across to your Vine “Profile”. If you don’t have a Twitter profile, then register for an account today.

Vine App Tips

  1. Keep your videos fun and simply. Don’t over complicate your shoot, remember you only have six seconds to get your message across.
  2. Check for lighting and hold your device steady, this will help make the video look more professional. Unless you are looking to create a six second “Blair Witch Project” masterpiece.
  3. Press the screen for six seconds to create a continuous video. To create a stop motion video tap the screen every time you want to move your static item until you have completed the motion. Once you are happy with your results press “next”.
  4. Add a caption for your video, be descriptive and add appropriate #hashtags.
  5. Add a location for your video, note this is powered by Foursquare.
  6. Upload your video and share on the Vine App, Twitter and Facebook to maximise exposure.
  7. Finally, promote your Vine video multiple times on your social profiles to increase views and likes.

You can find my Vine videos by searching for me “Zoe Sands” or via my Twitter account @Zoe9.

Vine is simply, so what’s stopping you from getting started?!

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Consumerisation of IT Trends for 2013

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting with Cesare Garlati, Vice President, Mobile Security at Trend Micro. It was an enlightening and informative meeting; he is a security veteran with vast experience in mobility, his chosen specialism – I learnt a great deal from meeting him. Our conversation started around the Consumerisation of IT, as it is now driving a new level of challenge across the enterprise, and how, rather than thinking of this trend as a mobility issue, it’s being thought of as an innovation – the lead being taken by consumer brands rather than traditional IT vendors. This is an interesting perspective. As IT professionals there is value in being receptive to non-traditional competing factors. Cesare stressed that we have to have the mindset that “consumerisation is not just mobile, it is all encompassing”, and that’s where the topic currently lies with IT. Over the past two years there has been much interest in the ’Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) topic, but it’s important to remember this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Consumerisation of IT. So, when will we see a more holistic approach taken for consumerisation of IT? After my meeting with Cesare I think 2013 will be the real turning point. Here are some of the predictions we spoke about in during our meeting:

  1. The past two years has seen a big rise in the adoption of BYOD. This is not going to go away; there will be more BYOD and more usage within the enterprise. According to the iPass Q4 2012 Mobile Workforce Report BYOD is at 46% penetration and expected to reach more than 50% of the workforce in 2013. Organisations need to be prepared for more non-corporate devices accessing their networks.
  2. More organisations will realise that mobile device management (MDM) a traditional approach to securing corporate networks won’t work in the future, it is not a security fix rather than a patch on your network. The new approach will be holistically managing data and thus protecting intellectual property and assets.
  3. Corporate liability versus personal privacy will be discussed extensively during 2013. With more and more cases being taken against organisations because individuals’ and third parties’ data has been exposed. Organisations will need to weigh up the risk of privacy beaches against productivity gained as a result of consumerisation of IT.
  4. The odds dictate that there will be a major security case during 2013 due to consumer mobile technology in the enterprise. Mobile security and mobile malware will become mainstream themes.
  5. IT departments will need to reinvent themselves. Rather than being seen as the traditional gate keepers of the corporate network, a move towards providing IT consultancy and services for the business units will be imperative.

What do you think of the above Consumerisation of IT trends? Do you agree? Do you see other potential issues arising in 2013? I would love to hear your thoughts on this, so please post your comments below.

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Mapping the Customer Experience Ecosystem

I had the pleasure of attending Harley Manning’s Customer Experience Ecosystem master class a couple of weeks ago, which was organised by the IDM. He started the session by telling a story about Zion National Park, Utah, US where there were no butterflies present, which left people and scientists wondering why. Basically numerous visiting tourists had scared off the cougars, which in turn enabled the deer to flourish with no natural predator. The deer then ate the entire vegetation, which affected the ecosystem and resulted in the butterflies no longer being present. So, how does this fit into a master class on Customer Journey? Well, without analysing your customer journey you’ll never know whether your sales journey is truly flourishing or whether areas within the process are becoming extinct.

Enter the Customer Experience Pyramid

This classical customer experience journey of discovery, evaluate, buy, access, use, get support then either leave or reengage simplifies what happens during the buying process and can be attributed to either a B2C or B2B buying cycle.

Customer Experience Pyramid by Forrester, 2012

Customer Experience Pyramid by Forrester, 2012


If something happens within this cycle then the ecosystem can become unbalanced and customers will leave just as the cougars did at Zion National Park. How many of us really know our most important customer buying cycles? We often don’t hear about a broken buying ecosystem until we lose an important customer and then investigate what went wrong. Today’s ecosystems are extremely complex and involve mapping across multiple channels and different departments within an organisation and can take a considerable amount of time, resource and budget to map out. However, mapping the customer experience ecosystem can not only help improve customer satisfaction rates, but also profit and ultimately the value of your organisation.

Charter Communications Customer Experience Example

To demonstrate this Harley shared insight from John Birrer, Senior VP Customer Experience at Charter Communications. When he started at Charter Communications John needed to solve the poor experience of buying software. Customer service had no solution to this ongoing issue, so John conducted a customer touch point analysis and remapped the customer journey. As each department owned only a small part of the customer journey and with sales and marketing targets achieved, it wasn’t until customer services reported a huge dissatisfaction that this highlighted the ecosystem wasn’t working. Basically from his customer buying cycle analysis he identified that there wasn’t anything wrong with the product or service offering, but it was basically down to one business process which broke the ecosystem. On reflection, the business process was meant to protect the business from any legal actions, but in fact it drove up customer dissatisfaction, which broke the customer experience.

The learnings we can take from this is it is essential that organisations map their customer journeys including what can and can’t be seen by the customer. Organisational policies and procedures can damage the customer experience and ultimately the profitability of an organisation. Most organisations often think that there is nothing wrong until they start to investigate the experience of a customer. This analysis usually identifies the policies and procedures that are failing the organisation rather than a particular product or service.

Finally, Harley finished off the session by highlighting that customers reward good experience and so does the market. Top performing businesses on the stock market have great customer experiences that have transformed the business. He then closed with a mantra we should all remember: “I need my customer more then they need me”. In these times of change and competition, we must know our customers and offer excellent value-add customer journeys. Have you mapped your customer experience ecosystem? If not, why not?

(For more on the Forrester view on the importance of a customer experience strategy, view Harley Manning’s 2012 IDM Annual Lecture, delivered in London on 8 November 2012: video and presentations.)

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B2B Marketing Awards 2012 – the crème de la crème of B2B Marketing

The greatest B2B Marketing event any B2B marketer should find time to attend; that is the B2B Marketing Awards. I was really proud to be part of this fantastic event not only from a marketer’s point view, but as a Judge and also handing out an award during the evening.

At this year’s awards it was nice to see the crème de la crème of B2B marketing on offer, amongst the winners on the night were some huge brands along with lesser known SMB brands, which just goes to show that the awards is all encompassing. You don’t have to spend mega bucks on a campaign or programme to enter in order to win at the B2B Marketing awards, it is more about getting that creative, objectives, strategy and results right. This was my second year as a judge on the awards, my first tenure was back in 2009 and I can categorically say that the submissions for this year’s awards have come on leaps and bounds in terms of the quality of submissions. The professionalism and creatives produced were amazing, who said B2B marketing can’t be as creative as B2C, if not better!

As a digital marketer my favourite categories on the night were;

  • Best Use of Digital Techniques or Technologies – WINNER
    ‘King’s Cross – Alive like never before’ for King’s Cross (Argent) by Billington Cartmell,
  • Best Use of Social Media – WINNER ‘Luv the nug’ for Scotsman Ice by Gyro Cincinatti
  • Best Use of Content Marketing – WINNER ‘Banking 20|20’ for Cable & Wireless Worldwide by The Channel Partnership
  • Best Website – WINNER ‘British Gas – Energy made simple’ for British Gas Business by Rufus Leonard

The full list of winners can be viewed here.

As always Joel Harrison and his team put on a fantastic event, this is most definitely the one night of the year you can’t miss for catching up with old friends and past colleagues along with making new acquiesces within B2B Marketing. My highlights from this year’s awards has to be meeting up with people I know, going on the dodgems, the photo booth – see B2B Marketing Facebook page for the hilarious shots and of course the after show party at Proud Cabaret.

If you fancy picking up an award a next year’s ceremony, then start thinking about the fantastic campaigns and programmes you been running from May 2012 and planned campaigns up until April 2013 you can enter for the 2013 awards. To help you get your 2013 submission right, why not register to attend the 2012 Awards Showcase on 5 March 2013? Good luck!

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How essential it is that B2B businesses get social media and become a social business?

On my quest for social media knowledge and learning I continue to attend lots of social media events, most recently SMWF Europe. After attending many sessions it sprung to mind that although there is still a lot of buzz around social media, most businesses are not truly utilising this channel. I hope that the following piece on social business may resonate with you to take action within your organisation and start your own social business journey.

Social media to become a ubiquitous business tool

Just as email has become a ubiquitous business tool so will social media in the coming years, therefore it is imperative that businesses take notice of social media. When I first started my digital career at Hyundai back in 1997, I was the only person within the organisation that had an email account and access to the Internet. Gradually over time more people were provided with an email account and Internet access and nowadays it’s expected you would have access or you cease to be efficient and effective in your work. This may seen completely alien for those who are generation Y, but this was the case in the late 90s early 00s. To some extent social media is seeing this restrictive access within organisations, where only certain people in certain business functions are encouraged, or in fact provided, with access to use social channels in their every day work.  Without full social media access for all employees within an organisation you can’t expect to develop a social business.

Today we see a lot of organisations blocking the use of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter within the corporate network. This dictatorial attitude only forces employees to use other methods of accessing these sites bypassing the secure corporate network and accessing social media via their own tablets or mobile devices. It is far better for an organisation to instil social media best practice and governance than it is to demonise social media and drive employees off the network.

Social business a possibility

Businesses need to realise that being social is not about your organisation having a social media presence just for the brand, but that it means empowering employees to use social media in their every day roles to influence, engage and join in conversations about business needs and opportunities. This is what leads to a social business. There are very few businesses that can truly say they are a “social business”; the businesses that spring to mind that are truly social are those who have built their businesses on social technologies; for example Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to mention a few. If businesses choose to always do what they have always done, then they can only ever expect to get the same results. Businesses should ultimately look to achieve being a social business within three to five years. The first step would be to look at social media as a new communication channel, which opens up new opportunities for businesses. Gone are the days where marketing is used in the traditional sense, and classed as a cost centre function. Marketing now needs to prove itself and show return on investment, a contribution to the bottom line and add value to sales pipeline. Social marketing allows for greater engagement in the buyers journey along with assisting the humanisation of brands. Next step is empowering your employees to be your brand advocates and utilise the social channels in their everyday work. Finally encourage your customers to actively be social with you and engage and leverage your content for their benefit.

Plenty of research has taken place over the years that says people don’t form relationships with brands, they form relationships with people. Social media accelerates the formation and depth of relationships by enabling quicker communication and sharing amongst their individual networks. If your employees are not allowed to use the social channels in their every day work then they are limiting their marketing effectiveness in this fast changing social world. So, what are you waiting for? Make a plan to pilot social media within your organisation. Enjoy and good luck!

I spoke about this at the recent IDM Knowledge & Networking event “Meet the socially skilled business marketer” on 19 April 2012 in London.

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VIDEO: Vital statistics for every B2B marketer inc. B2B Social Media stats

Vital statistics for every B2B marketer inc. B2B Social Media stats

Earnest would like you to use and abuse at your leisure… where possible the agency has tried to accurately cite the source and provide a link to the site where it came across the research. Here’s the references for this video. Enjoy!

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The 3rd B2B Barometer® Report reveals new confidence amongst B2B marketers

The third in a series of market surveys carried out by B2B specialist research agency Circle Research and supported by ABBA and the Institute of Direct Marketing, has revealed exciting, positive changes in the market over a six month period. The B2B Barometer provides a factual marketing perspective on how B2B companies are reacting to changes in the market.

The latest B2B Barometer survey of around 120 B2B Marketers and Agencies (FREE to download at shows that optimism is building in the B2B sector, with the majority of agencies and marketers revealing rising revenues and improved future growth prospects. In addition 41% of the client marketing professionals reported larger marketing budgets for the next year, but 59% of the agencies surveyed reported a decline in the quality of enquiries and 30% of the agency sample actually experienced declining revenue. It has provided a true measure of what is happening to business markets and will certainly help both clients and agencies make future decisions based on real peer-to-peer information.

Debbie Williams, Chair of the IDM B2B Council, said, “The B2B market place is a real barometer of what’s happening in business. it is often very difficult for companies and agencies to keep pace with the latest market trends and this series of surveys has proven to be a valuable measure for B2B agencies and marketers. Some very interesting facts about social media and its relevance have been unearthed. I am delighted to be associated with this unique and ongoing survey programme.

Social media is declining
Just 28% of B2B marketing respondents actually had a strategy in place for Social Media. Many of the remaining group are beginning to question its relevance to the B2B sector. However, 86% still insist that spending on social media will increase over the next twelve months. An interesting fact is that 70% of client side organisations still have no social media strategy in place, which is a 7% increase from the last B2B Barometer survey in December 2009. A key issue for client marketers would appear to be the measurement of results, with 79% of those polled indicating that no actual measurement of social media activities was taking place, though 64% of the group believed it was possible!
Key factors for B2B Marketers and agencies
Many of the professionals surveyed were anxious to increase two way communication with their clients, and build on customer relationships. It was believed that email marketing could be a more effective tool in relationship marketing.

Data raised its head yet again as a critical factor and all those surveyed were in agreement that accuracy and quality in data were critical factors in B2B Marketing.

Measurement was again highlighted as a critical area for attention. Suggestions indicated that more integrated systems and better sales force alignment was required to make ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment) more effective. Only 43% of client side respondents actually measured ROMI and the metrics used were the ‘easiest’ to gather rather than those which would have the greatest benefit for the business.
An executive summary of findings has been published at To find out more about B2B marketing budgets, key trends and insights into the social media phenomenon – including how project fees are calculated and how the impact on reputation is managed please visit The new report will be available shortly in PDF format for FREE download direct from the site. Copies of the original benchmark study and the second survey are also
available for download.

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5 Tips for getting more Eyeballs on your Tweets

Here’s a list of five really helpful tips for getting the best return on your tweets and most reach:
  1. Timing: Research has shown that Tuesday is the most popular day for Twitter activity, accounting for 15.7% of total activity; followed by Wednesday (15.6%) and Friday (14.5%). During the day, the most Twitter activity appears between 11am to 3pm (EST)/6pm to 12 midnight (BST), which makes sense covering the US working day and evening activity for Europe. So, try to scheduling your tweets and identify when you are experiencing the most interaction, that is responses and retweets of your messaging.
  2. Repeat – Parroting: The vast majority of people on Twitter do not see every tweet from everyone they are following. They might check their tweet stream once or twice a day and rarely look back in time. Brands should not be afraid to re-share something that has already been tweeted. Try rewording the messaging and scheduling the same message at different times over two week period. You may find that you need to extend the timeframe for re-sharing important news items. Think about when B2C brands recall products, huge media buys with repeat messaging are often booked to gain as much reach as possible. Scheduling one tweet won’t get your message out, but don’t spam people with hundreads of variations of the same message, as they will unfollow your tweets. As long as you don’t repeatedly tweet the same message and over again, you won’t be viewed as spam. Remember you need to balance the frequency of the messaging.
  3. Keyword choice: Choose your words carefully and write your tweets with search optimisation in mind. However, try not to keyword stuff your messaging so it clearly looks like you are trying to gain a listing with the major search engines. Note that the most retweetable word is “you”. Other frequently used keywords are; Twitter, Google, Apple, Microsoft not surprising as these are firmly householder brands. Be sure to share how your tweet can help your followers directly – for example, special offers, legal notices, product launches, news and events. Note that “how tos”, “best practices” and “top 10 lists” get shared often and terms like “5, 10 or top” indicate that lists are popular.  Make sure your tweet has trending keywords or includes topical information that is relevant to your business that will help it be discovered for someone who is searching for interesting tweets.
  4. Linking: The study found that the presence of a link in a tweet increases the chance of being retweeted – 57% of retweets include links, which sends the reader on for further explanation and more added value. There are a number of shortening URL providers, the most popular link shorterning tool is, which can be used on it own or simply integrated into your preferred Twitter application. Shortening links add in terms of reporting and identify who has helped influence the spread of your messaging.
  5. Succint: If you want it shared don’t use the full 140 character limit in Twitter, keep it to around 120 characters or less to make it easy for retweeting. Otherwise your readers have to rewrite your tweets to retweet out to their networks. Short and Sweet is preferrable. Another tip to keep your character useage down for those retweeting your message is to have a shorter username this helps retweeting too, for example, my main Twitter ID is: @zoe9

Hope you found these tips of some use and benefit. Please add any of your hints and tips you would like to share in the comments box below.

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