Enterprise Social Media Help

Social Media. It Works.

Social media is evolving to greater heights each day, but why? Because, It Works!

There are a number of skeptics, along with those who are resilient to change, but the vast majority are adapting to the medium. Why? It is free, reaches scores of people in minutes and almost everyone is tapped into the internet. An underlying restraint could be the user friendliness of the platform that skews in the skeptics. Not everyone is adept to adjusting their technical learning curve but for the upcoming generations, new media deems to be part of their DNA!

Social media lends itself to the cutting edge communication that all generations can immerse themselves in. Whether for business or pleasure, it offers latitude. Through many sites you can manifest news, information, videos or pictures across the globe anytime of day and majority are FREE. But one of the main differentiators, it is more sociably accepting. People who have been introverts for years are now joining the extroverts in online communities and cultural barriers are breaking down.

Interaction in social media sites are woven into our daily lives and slowly being stitched into business operations. Coca-Cola recognizes the importance and created their own set of principles. Stating: “These Online Social Media Principles have been developed to help empower our associates to participate in this new frontier of marketing and communications, represent our Company, and share the optimistic and positive spirits of our brands.” With that, reports show that online activity has amassed exponentially over the last couple of years and is poised to broaden its landscape to be the medium of choice worldwide. Why? It Works!

Social Media Is Here To Stay

There’s been a number of elements, ideas, processes or technology that have come and gone, but “Social Media” is here to stay.

A lot of skepticism surrounded the new way of communicating, both personally and professionally online, from “crash and burn” predictions to “it is only a fad”. But years later, social media has certainly turned out to be the norm when it comes to establishing connections and engaging in online conversations.

The media outlets have no boundaries for the young or the old and it has knocked down geographical barriers. So for those who were skeptical from the get go and resilient to experience it, should get on the band wagon because social media is  everywhere from educational centers and communities to the workplace and everyday interactions.

It has opened doors for philanthropy to draw awareness to causes, provided businesses to engage with employees on ideas and situations at hand and allowed greater involvement across the globe for participation in community promotions. Here’s a few examples of how social media has played a significant role in today’s communication:

Kohl’s Cares Campaign – In celebration of Kohl’s Cares® 10th anniversary, they are donating $500,000 to 20 schools each for a total of $10 million from the Kohl’s Cares® cause merchandise program.  The organization embraced the social media channels to get  the word out about the chance for 20 schools to win by submitting their vote online.

Best Tennis Town – This contest was opened up to the public to vote for their city to help develop the growth of tennis in their community. Details were broadcast through the USTA website and social media networks to establish participation across the globe and encourage everyone to cast their vote!

Corporate World
Microblogging – With the future workplace taking a turn to be more virtual, it only makes sense to incorporate microblogging into daily interactions. Harvard Business review outlines how businesses can replicate the micro blogging experience in their organization.  Yammer or Socialtext could be the next developmental training offering that many organizations will be looking to adopt in the workplace! If it streamlines operations and increases productivity, why not?

The bottom line, with the immeasurable success of social media infiltrating all aspects of our lives, it is not going to go away any time soon. If anything, the platforms are going to develop with the growing infrastructure and our economy. It may even be the avenue to increase jobs across the nation!

Online Advertising: What To Consider Before You Sign-On

Social media has created a world wide haven to engage, share and manifest news. Newspaper subscriptions are becoming a thing of the past and online advertising is increasingly dominating the marketing landscape.

If you are a small business owner, how do you determine the key channel to advertise your brand online? First and foremost is doing your due diligence by researching the sites you are targeting to place your ad. Is the site turning up in search engines, in particular is it one of the top three or four in the list? If it does not turn up at all, take a pass because if their site is not turning a result in a search neither will your ad!

Here’s a list of the most common advertising methods to purchase:

  • CPM (Cost Per Mille), also called “Cost Per Thousand (CPT), is where advertisers pay for exposure of their message to a specific audience. “Per mille” means per thousand impressions, or loads of an advertisement. However, some impressions may not be counted, such as a reload or internal user action.
  • CPV (Cost Per Visitor) is where advertisers pay for the delivery of a Targeted Visitor to the advertisers website.
  • CPV (Cost Per View) is when an advertiser pays for each unique user view of an advertisement or website (usually used with pop-ups, pop-unders and interstitial ads).
  • CPC (Cost Per Click) is also known as Pay per click (PPC). Advertisers pay each time a user clicks on their listing and is redirected to their website. They do not actually pay for the listing, but only when the listing is clicked on. This system allows advertising specialists to refine searches and gain information about their market. Under the Pay per click pricing system, advertisers pay for the right to be listed under a series of target rich words that direct relevant traffic to their website, and pay only when someone clicks on their listing which links directly to their website. CPC differs from CPV in that each click is paid for regardless of whether the user makes it to the target site.
  • CPA (Cost Per Action) or (Cost Per Acquisition) advertising is performance based and is common in the affiliate marketing sector of the business. In this payment scheme, the publisher takes all the risk of running the ad, and the advertiser pays only for the amount of users who complete a transaction, such as a purchase or sign-up. This is the best type of rate to pay for banner advertisements and the worst type of rate to charge.

Next thing to look for is the number of ad options the site offers. Are they strictly text ads? How many ads are posted on each page? Is their site mobile compatible so ads can be viewed on cell phones? There are a number of ad types but here’s a short list of those most widely used:

  • Floating ad: An ad which moves across the user’s screen or floats above the content.
  • Expanding ad: An ad which changes size and which may alter the contents of the webpage.
  • Polite ad: A method by which a large ad will be downloaded in smaller pieces to minimize the disruption of the content being viewed
  • Wallpaper ad: An ad which changes the background of the page being viewed.
  • Trick banner: A banner ad that looks like a dialog box with buttons. It simulates an error message or an alert.
  • Pop-up: A new window which opens in front of the current one, displaying an advertisement, or entire webpage.
  • Pop-under: Similar to a Pop-Up except that the window is loaded or sent behind the current window so that the user does not see it until they close one or more active windows.
  • Video ad: similar to a banner ad, except that instead of a static or animated image, actual moving video clips are displayed. This is the kind of advertising most prominent in television, and many advertisers will use the same clips for both television and online advertising.

Now that you have determined your method and picked out your ad type, you need to choose the right website to place your ad. As mentioned above, doing a search for the business and/or advertising agency through the major search engines is definitely a step in the process. The other part of your research to help uncover their online presence is checking them out in the social media arena. Are they actively established on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn? Do they have a blog and consistently post viable and rich content? Is there an option to sign-up for a regular monthly newsletter and is advertising in their marketing campaigns an option?

After the research is done and you are ready to post your ad with the business, pause for a moment and check their pagerank before doing so! Google pagerank is the measure of an internet page, expressed as a numerical value, from PR0 to PR10, with PR10 being the highest possible PageRank (PR). Visit www.prchecker.info, type in the URL to the page you are considering posting your add, click the “check PR” button, add the Anti-bot code, then click the “verify now” button to return the pagerank result.

This is a lot of information to consider and absorb for those new to the internet online advertising medium. But not to fret, there is an array of tools and resources out there to get you started including businesses specializing in this area to help people get the most out of their advertising budget. For PR and marketing, check out Madison+Main, an an award-winning marketing and new media firm that provides creative solutions for emerging companies. And for social media help, contact Daulton West Jr., Social Media Champion, with any questions you have relative to targeting the right online networking channels.

Social Media Policy

As we progress from a social media trend into the cutting-edge style of communicating in business, should employers be adopting a social media policy and/or incorporating standards into already established ethics policies?

There have been numerous reports of employee abuse of social media networking while at work and faux pas posts made about the companies they work for. Needless to say these result in either losing a job and/or embarrassing/damaging exposure that harm business reputation. Take Dominos for example when a video was posted on YouTube showing employees violating health codes in a Domino’s kitchen. The video amassed millions of views and resulted in countless negative posts from customers but Dominos was ill prepared to address the situation in a timely manner because of their lack of online social media presence wherein the relentless havoc was stirring.

On the other hand, businesses who have entered into the social media arena for the opportunity and benefit of building brand awareness need social media guidelines for the employees who represent their culture online to remain within boundaries and/or customer service limits.

For a social media policy to be effective and successful, businesses need to be transparent and should have social media policies in place, providing clear examples of what is/is not acceptable use of social media.  For employees to be held accountable for their actions while in the workplace, mutual consent must be obtained for monitoring and taking action if unacceptable behavior is exhibited by an employee.

CareerBuilder has plunged into the social media frenzy and their brand is plugged in many of the top sites with resourceful information. One of their resources I highly recommend, although targeted for recruiting, there are tips anyone can apply to their social media use. Including their social media policy that they offer to use as a template for your own to build on:

Courtesy of CareerBuilder ~ Setting Up A Social Media Policy
Afraid of saying – or tweeting – the wrong thing?  Creating a social media policy – and communicating that policy throughout the organization – will direct  responsible employee engagement across social networking platforms. When creating your social media policy, remember two very important things:

Make sure your employees know that you have the right to monitor employee use of social media regardless of location (i.e. at work on a company computer or on personal time with a home computer).

Remind employees that company policies on anti-harassment, ethics and company loyalty extend to all forms of communication (including social media) – both inside and outside the workplace – and that bad mouthing the organization or colleagues online can lead to consequences at work.
Below is Careerbuilder’s Social Media Policy – feel free to use it as a template for your own.

  • Consider Your Persona:  If you are blogging about CB or the work you do at CB, make that clear and identify yourself. If you identify yourself as a CB employee on a personal blog or social media page, whatever you say will be associated to you as an employee. What you write about can be read by anyone and will be perceived as a reflection on the company, its employees, its leadership, its owners and its clients. This includes blind/anonymous posts using name such as “CB person,” “CBconsultant,” “CBemp,” etc.
  • Play in Your Sandbox:  Write what you know; be current and be relevant. This is the best way to be interesting and garner followers. Don’t speak about an area outside of your expertise; you risk being challenged, posting redundant  content and negating the other CB messaging out there.
  • Respect Others: Do not use personal insults, obscenities  or engage in conduct that would not be acceptable in the workplace or anywhere else. Be considerate of other people’s sensitivities to certain topics like politics or religion.
  • Don’t Pick Fights: If you see CB represented in an unfavorable light, disagree with someone’s opinion or think a member of the media, analyst or blogger has misrepresented  CB, do not make unnecessary or unproductive comments. Check with Leadership or Corporate Communications teams to see what their response is, if any. If they choose not to respond, but give you the ok to do so, be factual and respectful in your response.
  • Don’t Talk About Competition: Period.  Again, leave that to the Leadership or Corporate Communications teams.
  • Internet Vs Intranet: Remember that public blogs are just that: public. Don’t use a public forum as an intranet.

For the full CareerBuilder Social Media eBook, click here!

Social Media is Taking Shape Across the Corporate World

In the last couple of years, Social Media has evolved from staying in touch with friends to being the most widely used medium to manifest news, information and resources. The hype transformed business communication into a new avenue to extend their reach to the public and build awareness about their brand. Thus creating and redefining the structure within the corporate entities to conform to social media and adopt it within the marketing, PR and/or communications departments. Not sure that all businesses have determined where social media should exist within the corporate walls, but they do know that it must take shape to remain competitive in today’s market.

Here’s a list of a few of the corporate heavy hitters using Twitter:

@BoeingCorporate provides followers with status updates of their plant operations, including assembly production, industry news and executive conference coverage.

@Ford has over 31K followers and has a number of employees involved in the twitter verse to bring the organization’s news to the people. Ford is not only ingrained in Twitter but also a number of the top social media channels used today (i.e. Facebook and Twitter).

@McDonalds is lovin it on Twitter! With exhibiting a presence in Twitter, McDonald’s not only tweets out what it serves but also uses the channel to interact with its customers. What’s not to love about it! Oh and for the coffee lovers you can  get in on the McCafe love with @McCafeYourDay.

@Target where else can you expect more! Target jumped into the twitterverse and amassed over 20K followers with just over 400 tweets. Peeps want to know where the deals are so by following Target, they can get the low down on daily deals without have to hunt for them!

The above is a mini list of the corporate heavy hitters on Twitter who have aligned themselves with social media. For the most part if you can find them on Twitter, you are more than likely to also to channel up with them on YouTube, “I Like” them on Facebook and view their latest activity on LinkedIn.

Giving you a sample of who to find in social media doesn’t mean that it is only for the heavy hitters. The platforms are built to be used by everyone across the globe, big or small and anything in between. Businesses without a PR or Communications department can still dive into the social media arena and learn the ropes just like the corporate giants. It’s not the size of the company that determines the success in social media, it’s the values and targeted strategy that returns greater results. If an organization does not exhibit transparency when interacting/engaging with people or portraying a confident mission, they will not amass a social media presence like those who understand humanity.

To wrap it up, there are no concrete rules in social media other than respect. The platforms provide opportunities for people and businesses to grow, build and communicate across the globe. And the good news, with every new tool there are resources! For a list of social media networks and resources, go to Social-Media-Help, in particular for the ladies in business browse through DownTown Women’s Club for an array of connections and networks to learn from. Then there’s social media training to fit any budget and because not one size fits all there are options to attend on your own or in a group – check out Giovanni Gallucci’s course offerings. If you are not able to find what you are looking for from the above options, then you may be in need of a social media champion to form a foundation to get things off the ground and immersed into the social media frenzy!

Stay tuned for the next post with tips to help extend your reach and understand the need to adopt a social media policy.

Non-Profits Getting Social

For the most part non-profits are already engaged on the web and have an established donor presence. But with the new resources in today’s market, they are now jumping into the social media frenzy to extend their reach.

Social networking turned from a trend in building sustainable relationships both professionally and personally to the norm.  Committing to be actively present in the social media arena can be very time consuming, but is key to the success of social engagement online.

Most wonder what is it and how can it help non-profits?  According to Wiki, social media is information content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies. At its most basic sense, social media is a shift in how people discover, read and share news, information and content. It’s a fusion of sociology and technology, transforming monologue (one to many) into dialog (many to many) and is the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers into publishers.

While there are advantages of enhancing an online platform through social media, with any type of marketing, it is important to remember what is important to building a positive presence. Authenticity and transparency prove to be the frontrunners in building rapport in any relationship so why not demonstrate what you do offline with everyone online!

Develop A Social Medial Strategy
As you plot out your social media strategy, you can integrate some of the tools and resources you already put into practice while engaging in local community efforts to non-profit networking events.  And it can’t be emphasized enough, your reputation across networks are equally important both online and offline.

With a strategy in place, it is time to set out your goals and which social networks to join.  Just like networking offline (in-person), you need to develop a presence, give back and add value.  Let’s say one of your goals is to increase donor awareness, then you need to maintain an active presence in the social media channels in order to keep your donors coming back for more.  Additionally, you will want to include donation opportunities on your networking pages to foster awareness and draw attention to the mission of your cause. Based on your strategy and your goals, as well as know who your target audience is, will help determine which social media network will be the best ROT (return on time).

An array of options to Get Social!
There’s an array of social media sites out there so be sure to take stock of which sites will give you the best return on your time invested each day in social media. Most importantly find out which social media environments you need to target for your non-profit whether it be a social news site, social bookmarking or social networking. Here are a few questions to compel your thoughts: What type of non-profit do you have? Who do you want to extend your reach to? What  are your specific social media goals (i.e. raise money, draw awareness, donor support, etc.)?

Social News is a website wherein users submit and vote on news stories or other links.  A few examples of the 50+ sites out there are Digg, Reddit and Mixx.

Social Bookmarking allows users of the internet  to store, organize, search, and manage bookmarks of web pages.   You may have heard or browsed through Delicious which is one of the most popular bookmarking sites out there.  Other ones are Faves (formerly Blue Dot) and Diigo.

Social Networking is the primary channel for non-profits to “get social” and here’s an short list to help get the ball rolling.

LinkedIn – primarily referred to as the professional social network that allows you to create a compelling profile.  It also gives you the option of joining groups of interest and add applications such as a blog.  Additionally, LinkedIn allows charities to form their own non-profit profile and it can be associated with all employees and volunteers working for the non-profit.

Meetup.com is a portal that facilitates offline group meetings in various localities around the world. This site allows members to find and join groups unified by a common interest, such as politics, books, campaigns, careers, etc.

Twitter – primarily referred to as a micro platform wherein you post short “tweets” of 140 characters or less to inform everyone of current campaigns, educational information, important issues and/or causes, promotions, updated website content, etc. There are a number of Twitter apps to leverage but two that are widely used are TweetDeck or Twhirl. These apps allow you to filter tweets, shorten URLs/links and manage multiple accounts.

Facebook and MySpace – two of the most prevalent friendly social networks.  Both created for the school/college arena but then made their way into all streams of life, including non-profits.  One of the main differences between the two is that Facebook has made major leaps over the last year with developing their platform, but have failed tremendously recently with user privacy.

Here’s a list of other social sites to check out:
43 Things
Live Mocha

Measurement is not always based on how much money is raised, but how the scope of influence has manifested across the globe. It is easy to focus on the short-term gain, but ultimately the investment made in social media today will reap a sustainable foundation built upon trust for the future!

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