Category Archives: social networking

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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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 www.b2bbarometer.co.uk) 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 http://www.b2bbarometer.co.uk. 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 www.b2bbarometer.co.uk 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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2010 Social Media Map

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Top 10 B2B Social Media Tips

I recently presented a B2B Social Media case study at a recent B2B Marketing training workshop on “Create the best social media strategy for your business” during the session I shared my top 10 B2B social media tips with the delegates. So, here’s a summary taken from my own experience of running integrated B2B social media campaigns:

  1. Understand – in order to truly understand social media you need to be actively participating in the medium. As digital marketers you should be able to market and create your own personal brand presence within the major social networking sites. Being active in social media will help you understand the opportunities and limitations of social media.
  2. Purpose – before rushing full steam ahead with a social media strategy, stop and think about your purpose. Are you using social media for awareness, brand engagement, research, crowd sourcing ideas, listening to customers or watching your competitors? You need to be clear on your objective before starting out.
  3. Research – so you now understand social media and have your purpose identified, you now need to identify your audience and where they are. Please don’t start with technology first, as you will fail. Your audience may not be active in Facebook or Twitter, your top influencers may be in a niche social network or discussion forum. Hence you need research to identify this. I would recommend that you spend at least 4 weeks in this stage of your social media planning.
  4. Resource – social media campaigns won’t succeed unless you invest in resource, to be successful you need to allocate resource to execute the campaign either by allocating someone internally to manage your social media or commissioning an agency to develop and create your campaigns.
  5. Sponsor – for social media to succeed within an organisation there needs to be an executive sponsor who really understands the benefits of social media and drives through social media organisational change without this you won’t get the organisation to commit to social media.
  6. Plan – make sure you create a social media plan before starting your social media campaign, including how your are going to measure and monitoring the campaign. Your measurement goal and social media monitoring software should be in place and tested before the inital pilot project is launched.
  7. Pilot – start off with a social media pilot; initiate a small project once successful then plan out a more advanced social media strategy. Always allocate about 20% of your project time to pilot new techniques as you find them so that your social media presence evolves over time.
  8. Test, test and more testing – it is so important to test and refine your social media campaigns, don’t just let your campaign run on its own, continue to test and make adjustments to obtain the best results.
  9. Integrated – don’t run your social media as separate campaigns, to get the best out of your campaign integrate with your other digital outputs.
  10. Investment – contrary to what most people believe social media is not FREE. Yes, it is free to open an account on most social networks, but in order to create engagement you need to invest in appropriate content creation for your target audience, for example, video, premium content, competitions, games etc.

If you found these tips really useful and wnat to hear more I’ll be presenting some of my B2B social media case studies and offering advice at the forthingc B2B Marketing Magazine’s seminar: Create the best social media strategy for your business.

For my latest digital finds and thoughts, why not follow me: @zoe9?

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