Category Archives: Social Business

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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Filed under Social Business, Social Enterprise, social media, social networking

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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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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Filed under B2B Marketing, Social Business, Social Enterprise, social media, social networking