Tag Archives: business

Creating a social media policy

Social media policy and guidelines - jessicaquinn.caYou’ve heard me say it before, and I’ll say it again: planning your social media strategy is soooo important! In order to be successful, this is something you must do, and you should do it before you get started in SM marketing. Creating an SM policy is a very important step in the planning process for any business or organization and I think it warrants some discussion here.

When I use the term “policy,” I use that to refer to both policy and guidelines. In general, I think of policy as “what you can’t do” and guidelines as “what you can do” – and it’s important to provide both to your employees. Although, nobody really likes a policy – they’re usually boring and leave people feeling policed and restricted. Guidelines on the other hand should be helpful and inviting, making people feel like their participation is wanted and appreciated.

A policy tells your employees all the things that should be common sense (but unfortunately isn’t always) – be professional and respectful, for example. But there are creative ways to do this. Australia’s Department of Justice does a really good job with their policy – they created a video to showcase the top 10 main points from their policy – a method in the social media spirit to hit their points home. Check it out here:

Guidelines on the other hand will serve to tell your staff how you want them to interact with your business’s social media platforms, as well as encourage them to participate. They are (or should be) your brand’s number one ambassadors after all. Do you want them to comment? Do you want them to share posts to their personal accounts? How do they do this? What would the purpose be? Keep in mind many employees probably don’t know some of the basic principles of Facebook marketing or Twitter conversations, for example, so some quick points on the goals of each platform you’re active in would probably be helpful and a good thing to include in these guidelines.

Be sure you have all the right people at the table to talk about this (here’s a great infographic with thoughts on who these people are). Think about how you want your employees to help you on SM – what would be the best approach for them (for example, on Twitter)? And of course, you need to determine what your main strategy in being involved in SM is in the first place before you can ask other people to help you (e.g. why do you have a Facebook fan page?).

Creating either of these doesn’t have to be hard. Some tips:

  • Talk to people in your organization. What do they want to see? How do they want to participate.
  • Consult your organization’s mission/vision statement and strategic plan. How does your online activity fit in with the overall strategic goals and your marketing strategy?
  • Think creatively. What can you develop that will have an impact on your employees?
  • Be clear. Clarity is often underrated.
  • Check out this slideshare for more great tips.

Why social media? Six reasons to have a Facebook fan page

A few weeks ago, I introduced my “Why social media?” series with a post on the six reasons to start a blog. While the blog is definitely one of the best ways for a small to medium business, and even a large organization to reach their client base, there are so many other social media tools that are effective in achieving some of the same benefits, Facebook being one of them. I only just started my Facebook page in February and within the first week, I had attracted a couple new clients and found some great supporters. So it definitely has its power. I will never say that every business needs a Facebook fan page, because it does depend on what your marketing strategy is and the time you have to devote to it, but there are many great reasons why many people should have one, and I’ll share those with you here!

Why social media? Facebook.

Six reasons to start a Facebook fan page.

1. Add personality to your business. This is almost a repeat of the first point in my “the five Be’s of blogging” post but it’s such an important one. Clients will identify more with someone who appears to be a real person, rather than a robot or a corporate entity. So please, be yourself! Show your smile, show your passion. Celebrate your staff. Highlight the amazing things you do every day! Your audience will love it – and in turn, love you.

2. You can share content you wouldn’t anywhere else. Let’s be real – you might have a super fantastic website, but chances are, it’s pretty stagnant. Most businesses don’t update their websites with content often, or ever, because it’s just a place to house all those important business details — address, hours, phone number, inventory, services, etc. But sharing new, lively and timely content adds that personality to your business, and gives old, new and not-yet-found customers an idea of who you are. Besides just newsy type content, you can upload photos and videos, both of which go a looooong way in attracting and engaging your audience. This great infographic I pinned on Pinterest tells us photos are two times more likely to get liked, and videos are twelve times more likely to get shared!

3. Fans become your brand ambassadors. By attracting an audience to your page, you are building a community of people who are interested in the same thing – your product/brand/cause/purpose. They’re there for a reason (even if it’s just your mom – she still loves whatever it is you’re doing! Hi, Mom!). You’ve convinced these people to support you , so they’re going to be the ones to increase your reach – by liking your posts, commenting on them and sharing them. I once heard Jay Baer, a social media author and speaker, talk at a conference and something he said is now one of my favorite quotes: “The goal of social media is to turn your customers into a volunteer marketing army.” It’s so true (because it works).

4. It’s a direct communication channel to your customers, clients and supporters. Do you ever wish you had a place you could ask your customers’ opinions, or find out what your clients value? You do! It’s Facebook! People are sometimes afraid to ask for feedback, but not only do you get some great ideas when you do, you can also show your clients that you care about what they have to say. And alternatively, if they want or need to ask you a question, or let you know how great you are, they have the perfect spot (see above – brand ambassadors!). Of course, you run the risk of getting negative feedback, but in my opinion it’s completely worth it and can turn into a positive quite easily (I promise to write a post about this soon).

5. It will bring more awareness to your business. The fact is, people are on Facebook. Hundreds of millions of them, and chances are quite high, some of them are in your community, and some of them would be (or are) interested in what your business does. Even if they don’t like your page right away, maybe one of their friends will and then like a post. Whenever anyone likes or comments on or shares one of your posts, all of their friends may see it too. That’s a lot of potential reach. In addition to this, having a Facebook page will help with your SEO (search engine optimization). If people search for you on Google and you have a Facebook page, chances are very good that your page will come up high in the results.

6. People will look for you on Facebook. Further to the last point, because those people are there already, they will look for you. The first thing I do when I’m looking for a new product is see if they have a Facebook page. It can tell you a lot about the company: do they respond to questions from their customers right away? Do they have a lot of negative feedback? Do they look like they’re having fun? Do they appreciate their staff? Do they seem to know what they’re talking about? You get the point. So what do you think will happen if they can’t find you on Facebook? On to the next.

What do you think? Did you start a Facebook fan page for any of these reasons? Or do you think I missed one? Share with me!

Why social media? Six reasons to start a blog

I sat down to write a post about the benefits of using social media to promote your business, but quickly realized that there are so many, and they can differ entirely depending on what platform you’re trying to use. So I thought it might be best to step back and start a “Why Social Media?” series of posts, starting with the simple blog*.

I’ve been blogging since 2005. I started a poetry blog in my third year of university; I thought I needed a creativity outlet, turns out I was just procrastinating about the piles of papers I had to write about the mountains of novels I was reading. No question blogging can be fun, but there’s real value behind starting a blog for your business.

Six reasons to start a blog

Six reasons to start a blog

Blogging creates an engaged customer or public, and that translates to a positive opinion of your brand, good word of mouth, and an increase in sales or reputation, which ever you may be aiming for.

Let’s break that down. Here are my six basic reasons to start a blog:

  1. People love a personal story – Sharing a personal story about yourself in your blog creates the opportunity to connect with your audience on a more direct (and personal of course!) level. When you reveal your own thoughts, opinions, ideas, you can give your readers the chance to identify with you, thereby creating a familiarity. So just think: when they go out to find a coffee/new pants/lawyer/photographer/insert your product here, don’t you think they’re more likely to go with someone they identify with over Random John they know nothing about?
  2. Provide transparency – Blogging about yourself or your business gives your audience a “behind the scenes” look. What really happens during that 9-5 day, or when customers aren’t in the store? What are your thoughts about it? What are your opinions about your neighbourhood, the city, the latest big issue to arise in your market? People want to know.
  3. Create dialogue – Providing these transparent, personal stories doesn’t just create a connection – but it creates a two-way connection. When that sense of familiarity is achieved, people feel the need to share back. Blogs provide this option for interactivity, which is one of your goals as a blogger. You want people to hit that share button, or that Facebook like button, and you especially want them to leave a comment and engage directly with you. This of course gives you the chance to chat back with the feedback – and boom! – two-way dialogue.
  4. Educate the masses – If nothing else, writing on your blog provides you with the opportunity to share your knowledge about your product. Even if there isn’t much engagement with your target audience, you’re still proving you’re an expert and know whatever it is you’re selling. Do it smart, and people will remember. It also doesn’t hurt to get your info out there to make it more accessible via Google searches!
  5. Employee engagement – You hire your staff because they’re good at what they do right? They’re experts in something. Why not let them show it? Celebrate your staff! Showcase them in the blog, or even better yet, let them write some posts for you! I recently read a great article that applied the theory of cognitive dissonance to employee social sharing. When they share your company’s messages, they come to believe them on a more personal level, and will become your own brand ambassadors, beyond the call of duty.
  6. Practical value (tips, tools, ideas) – I recently heard a “web expert” say that in general, folks don’t visit websites to find information. … What?! I call bullsh*t on that one. How many times have you gone to specific site with no intention of engaging, but just to find tips or ideas? Who doesn’t do that almost every day? How to eat healthier; how to cook pork properly; what do I need to build a birdhouse; where do babies come from… the list goes on! If you have any kind of practical value to provide someone – share it! Useful knowledge is a great gift, so if you can share that with someone, your credibility will skyrocket. And you’ll keep them coming back for more.

You don’t have to do all of these in one post – a good blog builds a solid foundation of these qualities over time. It’s what keeps people coming back.

Did I miss anything? Do you have any good reasons to start a blog to share with me?

*Check back over the coming weeks for more posts in this “Why social media?” series, focusing on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and LinkedIn.