Posts Tagged ‘social networking policy’

The 10-60-30 Rule of Social Selling

April 12, 2014

If Social Selling is all about Connecting, Listening and Content Sharing, then getting started on Social Media can be a daunting task. Have you ever wondered which tools you could/should be using? And more importantly, how much time you need to spend on it. Here is my take (and experience) on it.

connect - listen - share

Connecting
Social Networking platforms are made for connecting. Here you will find the obvious candidates such as LinkedIn and Twitter. However, Xing and Viadeo might be good alternatives in the German and French speaking markets. Not everyone is on LinkedIn. In a B2B situation, Facebook seems the last option social sellers jump on. But since so many people have a profile here, it might make sense to link here too but you need a clear strategy on what and how to share. The inevitable discussion between personal and professional lives.

Finding and connecting new prospects and clients are here clearly the marching orders. Nothing new so far. Make discovering new contacts part of your daily routine.

Listening
Here it becomes a little more complicated and time consuming. There are at least 2 reasons for monitoring: understanding what your contacts are saying/doing/interested in and finding interesting content to share in the content sharing stage.

Listening to what your contacts are saying can be done through Hootsuite and LinkedIn Saved Searches, while finding content could be done through Google Alerts, LinkedIn Pulse, Feedly or any other RSS feeder program.

How much time you will be spending on this part of your social selling routine will vary a lot depending on the number of contacts, the activity level of those contacts, the variety of topics you are following and how much reading you will be doing yourself.

Content Sharing
Content is everywhere on the internet but prime locations are Slideshare, YouTube (or Vimeo), Blogs and Forums. Once you have that content you will want to share it. Tools such as Buffer or Hootsuite.

Additionally to sharing interesting content from others (less than 40% of all your content) you will need to create. You might create presentations, blog posts and general status updates/tweets. Let me be clear that this is a time intensive task and thus easily postponed. Once you created your own content you will want to share this with your contacts via Status Updates and Tweets.

Finally, through the monitoring and listening programs you will also find more opportunities to engage with and help your clients and prospects. Your entrance ticket to become a trusted advisor.

Again, it is hard to put a number on this when it comes to time spent. Do not consider this lost time but think how much time you saved by not having to drive to your client to have a conversation.

10-60-30 Rule of Social Selling
Social Selling is more about the approach rather than the use of a number of tools (see above). Over the course of time, this has evolved into a daily routine. My experience has demonstrated that the different steps and tools must be interwoven with everything you do during the day.

Today I can say that I spend about 10% of my time working on the connecting bit. 60% reviewing what my listening tools unearth in terms of client conversations and content. And I must admit that most of the time goes to reading and qualifying whether this information can be shared to provide more value to the clients (and me, of course). Finally, 30% is the actual sharing and personal content creation.

So how does your social selling routine stack up?

Who controls the social media policy creation?

May 29, 2012

We all know that control and social media are contradictory, but that is what people and companies think you achieve through a social media policy.

Where in the past social media was the exclusive playing field of marketing, today HR, sales and other departments are finding great benefits in social media.  These departments are discovering new platforms or uses for existing platforms to benefit their departments.  So with this expanding usage of social media, comes the awareness that a social media policy is needed.

Today I am seeing a new battle arise, namely who will create the social media policy.  A number of departments are trying to pull that creation of such a much needed policy to them.  However, there are 3 clear main drivers: HR, marketing and IT. They do this for different reasons.

But first, the creation of a social media policy is project that is done in a number of different ways today.   Some resort to an automated tool to create a policy.  It goes without saying that this can’t be the full answer.  Others will surf the internet for a policy and do a copy/paste, this is a better approach but the reality is that your social media policy is not the same as the one from any other company and thus requires a personal approach.

In order to reflect all requirements and wishes within the company, a number of departments must be included in the creation of such a policy.  Each department will bring their unique experience, skills and motivation for the policy to the table.  No department alone should be dominating this effort.  Here is some experience from real life why.

Marketing wants to control all messaging by being in charge while having free reign.  They will try to create either a minimalistic policy (“use your common sense” as only rule) or control the usage by a detailed “how to use social media handbook”.

HR wants to limit the risk, liability and time usage.  Though they do bring the skill of creating successful policies to the table, their angle will be focused on “do not …” rather than “do…” or “become…”.

IT will be concerned about bandwidth and IT security and their driver will be shut down as much as possible in terms of access to social media.

Legal will for liability reasons be trying to cross all the t’s and dot all the I’s in terms. Most of the time this achieved through complex wording that no one understands (cfr. Terms of services of most social media platforms).

Employee will either want as much as possible access to social media with nearly no rules or guidelines while others will want nothing to do with it.  The contributors will be giving the social media policy makers the real insight to the use of social media in the company and they should be considered valued contributors.

Unions are a much dreaded group of contributors.  Companies are afraid to involve them in the process.  However, since policies must also be reviewed, approved or endorsed by these unions, who by the way also use social media, they are critical to implementing social media policies successfully.

In my personal experience, creating a 2 page or 20 page social media policy (guideline or handbook), you need to have all these people and departments involved in the project to create a personalized and integrated social media policy for your company.  To make the roll-out process a success you need to accompany this project with social media awareness sessions and/or training.

Do you have different views? I love to hear from you!

The anatomy of a good social media policy

March 7, 2012

Whether your company is active on social media, your employees probably are.  So you should have a policy.  Over the course of the last few years I have been involved in writing and reviewing a lot of social media policies around the world.  It is becoming clear that social media policies have some kind of anatomy.

Of course, there is not “one fits all” solution since every company has its own needs and wants.  I would like to share with you what I am seeing as best practice components in social media policies.

Here are the different section one could have in a policy

1. Why do you have a social media policy?

In general employees do not like policies.  But protecting the reputation of your company is every employee’s duty and that is what a policy should attempt to achieve.  You can carve your policy in such a way that your employees are your ambassadors

2. What is social media?

Most of your employees have a limited view of what social media really is.  It is more than Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  A good definition of what you as company understand under social media will help you set the scene.

3. Which social media and networks are we talking about?

It is good idea to name the major different social media platforms, what they are best used for and what the benefits and dangers are.

4. To whom does the policy apply?

Different types of people are working in companies.  Of course you have employees of which some are spokespeople.  Many companies also employ contractors or free-lancers and you need to decide whether your policy will also apply to these people.  You might need a subtract for them.

5. How to get access of social media?

In some companies you still need to ask permission to access the internet and/or social media. We tend to think that this practice is becoming extinct but still many companies block access to social media for the majority of their employees under the umbrella of productivity loss.  That is what the social media policy is trying to address.

6. Definition of Terms

In this section you will define the difference between policy and guideline, personal vs professional use, employee vs spokesperson, etc.

7. Social Media Policy

It is clear that some items must be policy (use of logo’s, spokepeople, disclaimers, creation and ownership of accounts, etc.)

    1. For spokespeople
    2. For employees
    3. For contractors

8. Social Media guidelines

The social media guideline will help your employees protect their own reputation and thus also the reputation of the company.  In this section you will find items such as authenticity, correct errors, honesty, suggestion of identity and email addresses, etc.

9. Where can you your company on social media? And how are you using it?

Do not assume that your employees know what social media you are using as a company.  A lot of companies do not mention their accounts on website and leave it up to their employees to discover where they are.  This practice will make sure that all your employees know what the official accounts are.

It is also a best practice to tell your employees what you are using these social media accounts for.  Let’s call it leading by example.

10. How do you handle mentions (positive and negative)?

We all know that companies and people are talked about.  Many companies have some kind of social media monitoring but many more do not.  So if your employees who can be your eyes and ears in social media (provided they are your ambassadors) see any message, they need to know what the procedure is to handle these mentions or posts.

11. Where do you get help for your Social Media

As companies are gearing up for social media, it is also a good idea to setup a help desk or a social media help account (which could be any employee within the company).  Indicate in your policy who these people are and where you can get the necessary training.

12. Tips and tricks

Nothing works better to create ambassadors than provide tips and trick so you should include examples with tips and tricks.

I understand that including all these sections can lead to a long document that people might not read which brings me to a final point about a social media policy.  The key to success is the roll out phase. That’s the moment where you can create a simple hand-out or give-away that supports the introduction and announcement of the policy.  You can really get creative with this and get a lot of support for your policy.

I would love to hear your comments and feedback.

Is LinkedIn running out steam for recruiters?

February 6, 2012

Over the last couple of weeks I have had many recruiters in my social media classes and every time they focus all their attention on LinkedIn as a recruitment tool.  When I come to Facebook, they seem to be shutting down. It seems they do not take Facebook seriously as a recruitment environment.  Maybe, they should think again.

One reason is that there are over 880 million people on Facebook vs the 147 million on LinkedIn.  Secondly, more and more companies are active through a fan pages on Facebook and using it for employer branding.  Fan pages allow much more flexibility and functionality to companies and recruiters than the LinkedIn Company pages.

And then there are several applications that have started to give LinkedIn a run for its money.  They listen to names such as Glassdoor, Beknown, Talent.me and BranchOut.  These apps bring LinkedIn functionality to Facebook making it the next best environment for recruitment.

Glassdoor is a free jobs and career community that offers the world an inside look at jobs and companies. Using the Inside Connection product lets you find companies and what connections inside you might have.  Additionally, you can find interview questions, salary ranges, company reviews, and job openings.  In true social media style the content is generated by the job seekers.

Beknown is a Facebook application by Monster.  There is a lot similarity between Beknown and LinkedIn: create a profile, you connect with people, get recommendations, find jobs, and follow companies. Beknown will let you see the 1st and 2nd line connections like LinkedIn. As you accept people in your network, you earn badges like in Foursquare.

Talent.me is a professional networking app on Facebook which answers the questions where your friends worked and who your inside connections are at companies.  The goal of Talent.me is to help you leverage your friend network and make it work for your career advancement.  You can also endorse your connections and build communities around specific talents.  This social media network seems to be very US focused.

And finally, there is BranchOut.  On BranchOut, users leverage their Facebook friends to find jobs, find sales leads, recruit talent, and setup relationships with your professional contacts. BranchOut also operates the largest job board on Facebook with over 3 millions jobs in 60 countries.  Recruiters from all over the world are joining BranchOut and taking advantage of lower priced recruitment packages to find and attract new talent.

Of course, LinkedIn is still the standard when it comes to recruitment, but I am convinced that Facebook will take over very soon.  Today, it seems that BranchOut is the forerunner but it is still early days.

Do you know any other tools?  Feel free to share through the comment field.

Can a serenity prayer help social media marketers?

March 12, 2011

We all know that marketers are a strange breed. I am also one of them.  We are the people with the latest gadgets, following the newest trends and do the fun things in the company.  So social media is like a gift from the gods.  Every day a new tool or platform emerges.  It is hard to keep up with the newest technologies.  Never a sad day again!

We have also discovered that these social media fit our toolbox perfectly. We can get close to our customers; create more visibility for our company; built more interactive campaigns; and send out more messages to the world.

As marketers we know we have to listen to what is said about us.  We soon find out that we are not alone sending out messages about our company, products and people.  These messages also come from our co-workers.  We get upset since we consider ourselves the only one that can speak in name of our company.  We are losing control of the brand and it makes us furious.

Company management also have gotten the fact that people, including their own employees, are speaking about them.  So they are requesting that a social media policy be created to guide the employees when using social media.

The job is often given to HR or IT to come up with such a policy. With a little bit of luck, marketing gets called to chip in (from my personal experience more and more).  However, it freaks us out to live by all these rules.  We feel caged by these rules and they limit our creativity.

Our skepticism stands in the way of us seeing how such a policy can actually help us turn these employees into great ambassadors.  We keep on saying that there should be only 2 rules: “people have to use their good judgment” and “we are the only one to speak about the company”.  But every day we see examples in the newspapers of how people are using their good judgment.

Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter blunders happen all over the world every day!  We should really understand that we should contribute to a positive social media policy rather than fighting it.

I want to offer the marketers some advice I heard from some self help groups.  We have to accept that there are things we can not change (loss of control of your brand); have the courage to change the things we can change (contribute to a policy); and have the wisdom to see the difference between these two (share our social skills to make our co-workers become our ambassadors).

Trade Unions and Social Media Policies: an explosive mixture

February 20, 2011

I am looking with a lot of interest at the actions of trade unions when it comes to social media policies in companies.  Over the last months several court cases, which I do not care to mention (just Google “social media policy union”), have made the news and have spread via different media across the world.  It is true that currently most of the controversy is coming out of the US but I am sure in time we will have similar discussions in Europe.

There are 2 points that intrigue me:

  • Trade Unions about Social Media policies
  • Social Media policy in Trade Unions

I know that I am touching on very sensitive points.  So I think we need to face this topic before more discussions end up as social media cases.

Trade Unions about Social Media Policies

As more and more companies are seriously beginning to look at creating and implementing a Social Media Policy to control their employees, it raises more attention with the trade unions.  We all know that controlling social media is impossible!  So what am I seeing?

  • Some companies have realized that rather than creating a strict policy it is better (for company ambassadorship) to provide guidelines to the employees.
  • More and more companies are involving different functions and departments during the creation phase of a policy. We see HR, marketing and IT collaborate on such policies.

My recommendation, however, is that you make the trade unions part of your project team to create the company social media policy.  Daring?  Impossible?  Not!  Speaking from experience, it can be done!

Social Media Policies in Trade Unions

Source: Alexwhite.org

Trade Union members are active on social media, let’s not deny this.  While most are there from a personal point of view, some are their as a trade union member.  This brings me to wonder if trade unions have their own social media policy or even social media guidelines since they are a brand too. What guidelines or policies are in place for trade union members to react via social media?  Just imaging how much damage the trade union brand and reputation could suffer from not having these guidelines. So far, I have not found one trade union that has published a policy but it would be interesting to see what their guidelines/policy looks like.

My recommendation is that Trade Unions should create, implement, communicate and publish their social media policy so their members do not hang out the trade union’s dirty laundry.

Conclusion

My business mantra is that you can complain about a problem but you need to come up with at least one solution.  So if trade unions are going to fight social media policies, they need to have one themselves and companies must include the trade unions in their social media project creation and delivery teams.

I would love to hear your comments and feedback.

Social Media Policy unites Social Media initiatives

January 30, 2011

As social media is being used by different departments in larger companies, we tend to see that all the efforts are undertaken in somewhat isolation of each other. Call it social media chaos. Marketing uses it for brand awareness; HR for recruitment; Sales for lead generation; etc. All might be using different media, different approaches, and different rules. Sounds familiar?

The ultimate solution, of course, is that companies hire a social media manager. Hopefully, this person can sit at a corporate level as to not be driven by one type of function but we all know better, right! However, we all know that few companies are willing to invest in an FTE for social media because of cost, lack of strategy and no real view on time and effort needed. So why not use the social media policy to unify the different social media initiatives within the company.

How? One of the key building blocks in the acceptance of a social media policy is that is created by multiple departments otherwise you end up with a unilateral policy. Marketing will make it as minimalistic as possible as to not have any limitations, HR will make it restrictive in line with the other policies, IT will close down as much as possible, legal will have it so unreadable, etc.

Putting together a team to create your social media policy is more than a good idea. The first step in the creation of a social media policy is to raise the awareness of the topic to the same level for all the participants. So in this step of the every department makes an inventory of what it is using, why and how. By presenting this to the team, it will not only create a better understanding of what social media means to everyone, but also where the company is active (you will be surprised to see the results). It will also reveal possible synergies. Why evaluate and set up 2 different monitoring systems (one for marketing and one for customer service, and yes, it happens!).

By understanding everyone’s efforts (call it their social media goals), the policy can be created with the necessary flexibility and more importantly, it be will be endorsed by everyone in the organization which is another stumbling block when implementing such a policy.

Or how the social media policy unites company social media efforts!

Does your social media policy fall short?

November 13, 2010

If like me, you keep an eye on the trending topics of your business, interesting stories show up. In the world of social media, there were 2 trending topics over the last week. One was the fact that the American Medical Association just created a social media policy for physicians and the other about a medical technician being laid off on the basis of her comments about her supervisor on Facebook (NY Times article).

First to the policy, it is simple, straight forward and still comprehensive. It can be summarized in 5 short statements:

  • Separate private and professional presence online
  • Respect Doctor-Patient privacy and confidentiality
  • Maintain Doctor-Patient relationship online
  • Use security settings to the maximize protection for your social media profiles
  • Know that your online presence will influence your offline reputation especially true with negative content


This is a great start but it is by no means a complete policy. I would consider it more some guidelines on usage rather than calling a policy. Some hospitals are taking this one step further and making more extensive policies that include aspects such as authenticity, honesty, disclaimers, etc. Good examples are the policies of the Mayo Clinic, Ohio StateUniversity Medical Center, etc.

However, as companies are hurrying towards making and implementing such a policy, the latter trending topic is generating a ground breaking legal case, which is stopping companies in their tracks. What is going on? A medical technician was fired over violating the rule for depicting the company in a negative way on social media (specifically Facebook). National Labor Relations Board has jumped in and said this firing was illegal since employees have the right to talk about the working conditions whether that is at the water cooler, in a bar or even facebook. It is unrealistic to think that barring employees to talk about their company anywhere is an option and even a very restrictive social media policy will not help.

There are five conclusions I would like to draw up:

  • The best way to address such a situation is to have an open door policy where unhappy people can go and vent their frustrations to a real human being with no repercussions so they do not have to do this on social media.
  • Include a paragraph addressing respect for and defamatory statements about company, co-workers, clients, suppliers, etc.
  • Additionally, social media policies should include actions and consequences when the policy is not adhered to.
  • Often forgotten, is the fact that you need to make sure employees have read and understood the social media policy to the same extend as the employment policies.
  • Finally, employees have to keep in mind that they are also tarnishing their own reputation making these types of remarks and burdening their future employability.

hospitals and their social media policy

October 31, 2010


I did not think I was going to write so quickly a follow up to my last week’s post on social media in the hospital area, but my interest was peaked this week by a poll I saw via Twitter (@reedsmith).

The polls asked the question whether the organization/hospital had a social media media policy.  The result was somewhat amazing.

72% of the people who answered (25 answers) the poll said they did have a policy.  This number is very high but due to the fact that on average only 1 in 3 has a policy.  The fact that this poll was run through Twitter probably skewed the results.  The users are already on social media and thus somewhat likely to have a policy.

Looking at some publicly published policies, the areas that are covered can be summarized as:

  • Clear definition on where the medical facility stands when it comes to social media and what usage during and off work-time.
  • Commenting guidelines and rules
    • Focus on positive comments
    • posts with abusive and offensive language will be removed
    • posts with personal attack  will be removed
    • All spam-like posts will be removed
  • Blogging guidelines including the use of disclaimers in both directions (medical facility and the commenter)
  • Identity and affiliation with the medical facility
  • Use of code of ethics including all other applicable policies
  • General rules of conduct (add value, be smart, be authentic, etc.)

Though it is great to see that there are good examples of social media policies being put in place?  There are in my opinion 3 major components missing in these types of policies:

  • What are the clear guidelines to deal with negative comments?  What is the plan?  Who is the go-to person/department?
  • What monitoring is being done to make sure this policy is being “enforced”?
  • How has the policy been communicated to the employees?  Just put on the intra-net does not do it.

So as a conclusion, I think that having guidelines for your employees is great, but they need to communicated and monitored effectively so. People must know what can and can not be done and what to do in cases of emergencies.

Contact Centers disconnected!

October 10, 2010

This week I had the pleasure of sitting in a panel at the Belgian national conference for contact centers.  Since the theme of the conference was “look who is talking”, it seemed appropriate the discussion touched on social media.  To my big surprise, social media seems to be an unknown and much feared topic within the contact centers environment.

Will virtual communities replace contact centers?

The biggest fear seems to come from the fact that people are going to switch from a contact center to virtual communities to get their questions answered or to find information.  To a certain degree this is true but I am convinced that there will always be a place for these contact centers.  Not everyone is online and some of us rather talk to a human being via the phone. Some companies are using Skype-like solutions to talk with their customers as Rabo Bank from Holland demonstrated.

Conclusion 1: Customers will use the channel that fits their needs and behaviors to find information.  After the hype, a new balance between will established and social media will be part of it.

Conclusion 2: Contact centers should add the social media channel to their product offering to be more attractive to both the company and the customers.

Contact centers are not connected to social media while their clients and employees are.

My quick research and market study project confirmed that less than 50% of the members of the Belgian contact center association (90 companies strong) have a social media profile.  Of those who do have one we can safely say that they operate in an international environment.  Checking some of the monitoring, the results are in line with my previously published study (40% twitter response and less than 5% Facebook response)  Keep in mind that most of the companies that replied are international companies.

The main reason for this disconnect seems to be the fear of the negativism.  Contact centers do have a “bad” reputation and they are not looking for yet another channel to get bashed.  Plus there are not that many public success stories around social media in contact centers.  The fear of the unknown and inexperience are a close second and third in terms of why contact centers are not on social media.

Conclusion: It is safe to state, that these most of the companies are not connected to or do not even monitor what is being said about them in social media.  It is certainly not a service they offer to their clients. An opportunity lost? Or a unique selling point for further business?

Modern media and technology require a super agents in the contact center.

Here it becomes really clear that contact centers underestimate the qualities and skills of the people they hire.  They forget that most people (and there are over 3.5 million Belgians on Facebook – just to name one) are taking part in social media before or after working hours. I am sure that some even take part during working hours through their mobile devices.

Conclusion: What is really needed is a good code of conduct, call it is a social media policy, and some advice on how to behave correctly on behalf of the company (language, tone of voice, etc.) in the same manner they get when they are behind a phone.

What is next?

In the new balance of contact channels, it is clear that social media will find its place.  It will not replace the contact center but it will help further redefine their operational model.  Contact centers should embrace social media to both serve their client companies as well as find new employees that understand fully this medium.

Implementing a social media policy and monitoring tools should be at the top of the agenda of priorities for 2011. These are going to be key to the success and level of professionalism of the contact centers.

There is no way around it, join or lose customers!

I would love to hear you your feedback, experiences and comments.

Mic Adam


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