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The Importance of a Social Media Policy in your Business

Posted on August 27 2015 | Author: Admin

Earlier this summer I was tasked with creating a social media policy. While doing so, I learned a lot about how important it is to have one in your business.

While browsing news headlines, I found a ton of stories related to social media and the workplace. A few years back, Virgin Atlantic fired 13 employees for posting disloyal content on Facebook that criticized Virgin’s safety standards and offended it’s passengers.  Similarly, an employee was fired from the Broofield Zoo very recently because of a racist post on Facebook taken place at work and in her uniform.

Policies provide clear guidelines and support
Policies are the building blocks to any corporation. They provide structure and guidance to each and every employee.  

Social media is drastically changing the way individuals and organizations communicate. It’s important that employees who use social media, use it in a way that enhances the company’s prospects, or at least doesn’t diminish them.  A misinterpreted status update can easily generate complaints or damage the company’s reputation.

A social media guide clarifies standards of behaviour in which employees can use social media professionally and effectively.

Policies help manage risks
It is important to keep confidential company information protected. Therefore it is critical that clear guidelines are made about sharing private information online in order to mitigate risks involved with online activity.

Ensure that your social media policy includes that all confidential company information is never communicated or made publically or privately viewable on social media sites. Regardless of privacy settings, online information is accessible and can easily be placed in the wrong hands.

Policies protect company reputation
Users should always be careful discussing things they wouldn’t want their boss to see. Posting information that is disloyal could severely damage your company’s reputation (like those 13 employees at Virgin Atlantic). Setting clear guidelines against this is crucial in maintaining a good company reputation.

If there are no guidelines set in place against this, any posts by employees that harm the company’s reputation will be without consequence. In order to prevent the spread of disloyal information, guidelines must be set in place.

Policies assist with networking and awareness
Social media policies do not always have to be a long list of boring restriction. There is a lot of potential in using social media to your advantage.  

Social media is very important for building relationships with current and potential clients. It is an effective way to distribute marketing and communications, build an online brand and business profile, as well as stay connected with valued networks. It is also a great tool for employees to make useful connections, share ideas, and have discussions, whether it is work related or personal.

Illustrate ways in your social media policy for employees to use social media to their advantage whether it be for their personal social media use, or for company use.

Policies increase productivity
In the long run, policies actually increase productivity as issues are mitigated and therefore resulting in saved time.

Establishing a social media policy reduces lost time spent dealing with unauthorized usage or inappropriate behaviour online. Instead of dealing with the consequences of conflicts related to social media use, employees will be educated on your organization’s expectations for online professionalism and potential issues will be prevented.

And remember, no policy is alike
It is important to keep in mind that all policies need to be structured to perfectly fit your company.

Virgin Atlantic’s social media policy is different than Bioenterprise’s; Apple’s social media policy is different than McDonald’s. Your policy needs reflect your company’s business profile and online strategies in order to fulfill all of your company needs

Bethany Witvoet
Marketing and Events Assistant

Photo: Pixabay, Dilbert.com
References: http://mediabuzz.com.sg/asian-emarketing?catid=0&id=787


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Writing a Business Blog: The Why and How

Posted on August 12 2015 | Author: Admin

I’m going to tell you exactly why blogging is a fundamental part of any business. It’s not a waste of time, it’s not difficult, and you don’t need to write one every single day. The benefits of blogging to improve a business are boundless, and here is why:

How to start: the daunting task ahead

“The first thing you need to decide when you build your blog is what you want to accomplish with it, and what it can do if successful.” –Rod Dawson

You don’t have to write like an expert, and you don’t need to ‘fluff up’ your writing to make it seem longer. Quality not quantity! Sometimes short and sweet is the way to go.

You want to make sure you have a point and get right to it. Whether it’s to inform readers about something, voice an opinion on a certain topic, or start a debate, you want to have a goal in mind.

This isn’t a diary entry or a personal blog; it’s a business blog. Be thoughtful of your vocabulary choices, tone of voice, and above all else - proofread. Nothing says amateur like having a post littered with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. It is essential that you do not solely rely on spell-check, make sure you read through your blog at least twice and then, get a co-worker, family member, or unsuspecting passer-by to read through it. Doughnut bribes are most effective!

Know your audience

If you’re writing B2B, use jargon that shows you are an educated and seasoned member of the business world. If you’re writing B2C, convey information in a way that customers will understand. Remember; if you’re going to use humour then make sure it’s appropriate. As NASA says in their ‘One Hundred Rules for NASA Project Managers’ Rule #67: Some like a good joke, others only like a joke if they tell it.

The topic

I consider there to be two fundamental criteria when choosing a blog topic.

  1. Write about what you are passionate about.
  2. Write about what you know.

Usually the two come hand-in-hand. You want to write about something you really care about, because that passion will make writing easier and more influential. You also want to write about something that you have a fair bit of knowledge on, because it often takes years of accumulated knowledge and experience to show an expert opinion. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t explore new areas. In fact, researching for a blog is one of the best things you can do - just make sure you aren’t in over your head; and if you do decide to do research, add your sources.

Another great addition to any blog is quotations. Quotes from famous authors, philosophers, from CEO’s, employees, news stations or anything relevant to your company, target audience and blog topic show your knowledge, dedication, and if you ask me - add a certain flare. If you can’t think of any inspiring quotes off the top of your head, use this online quote database!

Online platform for networking

Entrepreneurs can network at events and connect with others through LinkedIn, but when the opportunity to meet face-to-face is not available, a blog is a great way to network, gain contacts, and generate interest in your company. Blogs demonstrate your expertise, and give readers a chance to learn about your company and interests with a more personal touch that goes beyond the standard information found on website homepages.

Great PR tool

Blogs of course share your ideas, opinions, and insights, but can also be a place for press releases and company updates. Added a new member to your team? Opened more offices or changed location? Acquired a company or received investment? Blog about it.

Website Traffic

One of the key opportunities for gaining website traffic is through writing a blog. People want to know what you and your company think, and what you’re doing. A blog on your company website can be an ideal outlet for this information, as it can be linked and shared through your social media platforms and emails, bringing more readers back to your website.

Inbound traffic to your website enhances your search engine optimisation (SEO); the more people who visit and share your post (and therefore your website) the better your search ranking becomes. This means your site will appear in search results more often, and possibly, higher on the list. Enhanced SEO helps attract and convert more traffic into customers; talk about a low-cost marketing channel!

Don’t forget! Promote your content.
Having a blog is all well and good – if people read it. 20% of your time should be spent writing your blog, while 80% is for promoting it! Get on your Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, and whatever else is at your disposal or send it out in an email or newsletter.

Engagement opportunity

Not only do people stay informed about your company’s activities through your blogs, but many have comment sections that allow for suggestions, affirmations, debates and general feedback. It’s a two-way street that helps readers engage with the author, and operates as a learning tool for the author as well. Blogging is a communication outlet for you, your peers, and most importantly, blogging gives you insight into your audience.

Mix up the type of content that you share

It’s not very entertaining to read a wall of information with no other media. Balance text with images, videos, or even sound clips! This will help to further engage your audience and hold their attention. You want them to read the entirety of the blog after all. Having headers and sub-headers is a great way to organize information. Another great hook is to have guest bloggers, who add a fresh voice to your site.

Maintaining a blog is a great engagement opportunity for learning, networking, connecting, marketing and branding! From start-ups to large corporations, business blogs are becoming a vital part of growth and success. Start your own blog today and begin to reap the benefits.

Natalya Smardon
Junior Projects Coordinator

Photo Credit: Flickr, Pixabay

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