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5 Important Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Social Media Policy

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Businesses have a hard time staying away from social media because of all of the potential benefits that come with it. A lot of us don’t realize that social media can act as a double edged sword and bring our businesses down if not handled correctly. Whether you have employees handling social media accounts to just help your customers or you are launching a full blow social media campaign, it is important that your company has a social media policy that is properly enforced.

Bad Impressions

Having a policy will ensure that no one will end up sending the wrong message to your audiences. If someone is having a bad day due to a co-worker, you don’t want them to go on your social media accounts and start posting their situation for everyone to see. This might seem like a farfetched idea, but the truth is, it happens more often than it should. Keep your social media accounts maintained and do not allow your employees to give anyone a bad impression of your company.

Unwanted Situations

Bad social media practices can lead to unwanted situations where you might have to take action against someone. Using the previous example again, you have an employee who ranted about his bad day due to a co-worker. He then start an entire conversion regarding the issue and puts the company in a really bad situation. You might end up needing to take action against that employee for failing to properly handle the social media account. This whole situation could have been avoided if you had just had a policy in place for your employees to abide by. Now your ex-employee is jobless, you have to hire someone new, and your business is still in a bad situation getting bad impressions off of your profile.

More Effective Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing campaigns can be large and confusing, but having a step by step policy and what is supposed to be done will make it much easier for your employees to keep on track. There are so many different types of social media marketing strategies, so it is important that your social media team understands exactly what it is they are supposed to be doing and what they are not.

Businesses that hire social media teams without giving them many guidelines usually see a wide variety of different strategies being used, but none of them going anywhere. If the team focuses on a particular strategy, it will go much further than just doing a few things here and there.

Productivity Issues

Ever had someone that is running your social media accounts fail to get all of their work done because they keep getting sidetracked by all of the distractions that can be found on those sites? Well, this happens all of the time. By placing the right policies, you can ensure that they will no longer waste your company’s valuable time because they keep visiting profiles and websites that are completely irrelevant to their work. Making them aware of what they are allowed to do and what they should be staying away from, will give them a guideline on how they can spend their time.

Helps Promote Your Brand

Social media and branding go hand in hand. Again, using the previous example. One employee posting the wrong things put your company’s brand at risk. If that post continues to get more and more views, your public image will change and can hurt traffic, sales, and overall growth. It is important to have a policy in place that only allows you brand to grow in the right direction. Risking your brand can ultimately bring down your whole business, so don’t underestimate how important it is.

There are many more different benefits that will come with setting up a proper social media policy, but these 5 examples should get you thinking of creating one as soon as possible. If you want more examples of businesses getting hurt by social media situation, look it up, you will find as many as you can read. Although having a policy won’t create a fool proof way to control your social media presence, it sure does help a lot.

 

Author Bio:

This is a guest post by Ness. She works as a writer at www.make-a-web-site.com  – a site dedicated to help webmasters and website owners choose the best host for their domain. Check out their website for more web hosting reviews.

 

 

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Empowering Your Workforce: Bringing Your Company Together through Thought Leadership

downloadBy: Mitchell Levy

Thought leadership is often viewed by marketers as a platform that is focused externally. But while thought leadership is an effective means of influencing customers, it’s also a very successful way of empowering employees.

Over the last decade, various organizations have shifted their policy towards encouraging employee empowerment. Studies have shown that organizations with empowered employees perform better than their competitors by up to 202%. Empowered employees are known to be more engaged, inspired and productive in their work. They are more likely to take initiative and are expected to last longer within the company.

Though thought leadership is a great tool for spreading your brand message, it can also be used as an effective means of empowering your staff from inside your organization.

How Thought Leadership Empowers Your Employees

Influence is the currency of thought leadership. That’s because an effective thought leader can have a profound effect on the people they influence. As a tool for change, influence has a longer lasting effect than simply giving out orders on the office floor or through e-mail. It can refocus your company and empower your entire workforce. Here are just a few of the ways thought leadership can empower your employees:

 Thought Leadership allows employees to see the bigger picture of the organization by sharing the company’s long term goals and long standing principles.
 Thought Leadership encourages employees to excel at their responsibilities, inspiring them to come up with solutions that allow them to go above and beyond their roles.
 Thought Leadership provides employees incentives outside of monetary gain. They understand the larger, more intangible goals of the organization: success, satisfaction and service.
 Thought Leadership allows employees to discover the importance of their roles in the organization. It allows them to see the worth in their actions and become proud of their accomplishments.

This is why thought leadership should help influence the organizational culture beyond one that is geared towards customers, but one also focused on staff and employees. The infusion of thought leadership into an organization’s culture can unite and empower the organization.

Empowerment through Influence

As mentioned earlier, influence is the currency of thought leadership. But to gain influence over your employees, it’s important to equip them with the right tools, skills, and responsibilities to make sure they perform to the best of their professional abilities.

On average, only 29% of employees are actively engaged in their work. While managers can increase salaries, improve benefits, and promote key staff, nothing takes the place of genuine leadership.

Thought leadership utilizes edu-training tools that empower your workforce by making them advocates of the organization. These internal initiatives provide insight and ideas that are of value to employees. They are activities and platforms that help inspire the staff and bring the organization together. Whether it’s through an internal social media platform, speaking, training or other forms of internal communication, these are all means of introducing a culture of empowerment into the organization.

Followers are the lifeblood of any thought leader, but followers can be found inside as well as outside of the organization. In truth, empowered employees are the most effective followers of all. They look to their leaders for more than just their next pay check. They look to them for inspiration and ideas.

About the Author: Mitchell Levy is the CEO and Thought Leader Architect at THiNKaha who has created and operated fifteen firms and partnerships since 1997. Today, he works with companies who are active in social media to leverage their IP and unlock the expertise of the employee base to drive more business. He is also an Amazon bestselling author with eighteen business books, including the recently released #Creating Thought Leaders tweet. Mr. Levy has provided strategic consulting to over 100 companies and has advised over 500 CEOs on critical business issues. Get a free copy of his latest ebook at http://mitchelllevy.com.

 

 

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What Winning Companies Get… And Others Won’t

by Sallie Krawcheck

We are in a bull market for advice to women on how to get ahead in their companies.

For most of my career, I lived it. I worked in some of the most male of companies (OK, I never worked for Twitter). I learned, through trial and error, how to communicate in a way that I could be heard (research tells me: not too tough and not too soft); how to ask for a raise (advice books say: use facts, not emotion); and how to raise my hand for the next opportunity (studies show: similarly qualified females raise their hands for the next job far less often than men.)

But, while I was making my way through the ranks, women were moving sideways in corporate America, and backwards in my industry: the number of women in financial services declined by 200,000 over the past decade, while the number of men increased by 237,000. This has been happening at a time when women’s lower risk tolerance, greater client focus and greater long-term orientation are sorely needed by the banks. Oh, and by extension, by the entire economy.

So are we trying to fix the wrong problem?

Smart companies are thinking differently. They are recognizing that the inherent differences among genders and cultures are not things to be fixed, but are instead sources of strength. It is exactly these differences that drive the higher returns, lower volatility and greater innovation that accrue to more diverse companies.

Smart companies will embrace and draw on these differences. They will put in the effort that working with people who can’t “finish each others’ sentences” requires. They will push themselves to advance the people who always show up on their slates and never get the jobs (and, we all know it, most big companies have these perennial “slate-fillers.”) They will change their evaluation systems to eliminate “cascading bias,” in which the qualities of the existing (typically white, male) leadership team are reinforced and other types of skills are undervalued.

It won’t happen quickly, and it likely won’t be dramatic. But companies that don’t take this action will increasingly lose out. They’ll lose out to the companies that “get it” and to emerging entrepreneurial opportunities. And they’ll not only lose out on talent, they’ll lose out on innately understanding their full set of customers and their needs.

In the meantime, perhaps my old industry will choose to believe that its under-representation of women employees and the fact that female customers rank it 33 out of 33 of the industries that serve them is all one big, zany coincidence. And besides, as one bank CEO said to me when I recently laid out for him stats on the economic power of women: “But don’t their husbands manage their money?”

 

 

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How to Win Loyalty From Other People

by Deepak Chopra -

If you aspire to be successful as an entrepreneur, manager, business owner, or any kind of leader, others must feel loyal to you. Although money is often seen as a prime motivator, ultimately the bonds that hold an enterprise together are psychological. Important data gathered by the indicate that loyalty is one of the top three things that make workers feel satisfied.

Loyalty balances self-interest. It is the willingness to look out for “us” and not just “me.” It’s no secret that the bond of loyalty has frayed at a time of layoffs and the loss of pensions and benefits in the economy. A public image has been built of opposition between management and labor – there is nothing new here – where the advantage has shifted overwhelmingly to management. As long as profits continue to roll in, loyalty is ignored. The assumption is that workers are too desperate for a job to complain or protest.

You have a choice to make in the face of this sad situation. Are you going to join the trend and forget loyalty or are you going to try and rebuild it? The question doesn’t apply simply to managers. Companies develop an atmosphere and a culture. No one works in a vacuum, and your attitude affects the environment you work in, no matter where you fit into the overall scheme.

If you choose to help rebuild loyalty, here are some suggestions:

1. Abstain from disloyalty, which shows up in small but telling ways. Office gossip, back-biting, and spreading rumors show disloyalty, because they degrade the sense of bonding and cooperation.

2. Work on bonding and cooperation. Be sympathetic and open to the people you work with. Support projects that are good for everyone, even if you don’t gain immediate material rewards.

3. Honor the difference between rivals and competitors. The fact that you are competing against others at work doesn’t make them your rivals. Rivalry is hostile; it implies that only one person can win. Competition raises the bar for everyone, so that the whole team can win.

4. Pay attention to personal details. Loyalty runs deep when a person feels cared for and understood. Be alert to these needs. Make an effort to include everyone. When ideas and suggestions are being discussed, make it clear that every suggestion is welcome. If someone’s pet idea is rejected, take time to go to them afterwards and listen respectfully to what lies behind the idea.

5. Share your success. Include your team in the praise and appreciation that comes your way. If possible, make a tangible gesture, as appropriate – throw a party, or other form of celebration, offer bonuses, present a gift as a token of recognition.

6. Don’t keep secrets. As much as possible, make the decision-making process transparent. Open up financial details. In the economic downturn of 2008, some small businesses shared their finances with their workers and thereby won real loyalty. Seeing that the company was strapped, the workers felt an incentive to be part of the solution. This is just one way to close the gap that makes management and workers adversaries, a stance that severely erodes loyalty.

7. Remind yourself every day that there is no “I” without “we.” This allows you to be humble in your successes and provides a community to get through crises.

 

 

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Communication Hurdles To Overcome After A Corporate Disaster

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Imagine your company has experienced its biggest corporate crisis in years. An immediate blow to reputation, professionalism and financing, the long-term effects of disaster can be devastating, and may even spell the end for business.

In crisis situations, communications that recognise and address problems can minimise damage and resolve corporate nightmares, so should be a recovery priority. But remaining calm and communicative is easier said than done: there are many hurdles and actions which businesses must clear to redress the slip of disaster, rather than falling flat on their faces.

Hurdle 1: Remaining accessible and transparentClear communication should be an immediate damage limitations and recuperations response. So stating precisely what went wrong, accepting blame if relevant, heeding comments, and stating remedial procedures (enquiring, hiring and firing) is necessary for companies to remain accessible and approachable. It’s this honesty that reassures consumers, partners and staff, reaffirming their trust and loyalty, and re-establishing reputations. No matter the cause of the problem, or who/what’s to blame, communications must be transparent and above all clear. You don’t want to make matters worse by being misunderstood and causing further offence.

Hurdle 2: Acknowledging the problem and stating the remedy. Investigating exactly what went wrong/completing enquiries takes time, but communicative accessibility (as above) eases backlash. Clearly acknowledging the problem, admitting mistakes, accepting blame and apologising if necessary, in addition to stating reparations actions, proves professionalism. It is especially crucial in the case of legal or criminal crises. Treat all parties involved with respect and empathy, and when relevant, offer compensation to those eligible.

Hurdle 3: Knowing when to communicate, and what to say. The way a disaster’s handled depends on the nature of the problem. In most cases it’s wise to release a corporate statement/response addressing issues so the company account is on record. But knowing when not to communicate, containing information and judging when to respond to errors is just as important as honesty and accessibility. Before communicating at all, find out how much is known and what information should actually be broadcast. If nothing other than the basics are needed to quash rumour, simply repeat your statement of apology, explanation and resolve across multiple channels – it’s crucial it reaches your various audiences, and reaches them consistently.

Hurdle 4: Keeping PR (the media and the news) on-side. Especially linked to accessibility and transparency, media relations have the power to improve or worsen high profile corporate disasters. If well handled, positive media cooperation can help communicate official statements, circumvent hostility, and depending on the nature of the crisis may reaffirm reputations and professionalism in the public eye. To proactively communicate with the media, respond quickly, always give a  statement to prevent speculation (refusal to speak can be additionally damaging), don’t release more information than you need, and don’t be afraid to give simple ‘yes/no’ answers. If possible, find third party allies to support your statements and your media messages.

Lastly, dealing with the communications breakdown of a corporate crisis – from handling publicity to responding to multi-channel backlash (social media may be your biggest hurdle yet) – will not be an easy task. But through maintaining honest connectivity from start to end (and notifying closure and thanks to all involved after resolution), recovery and prevention of future error can be achieved and communicated with minimal damage.

Alastair is a writer and business blogger. He wrote this article for Communicaid a culture and business communication skills consultancy, which offers business english courses as part of its services.

 

 

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Areas Of A Business That Need Attention When The Time Comes To Expand

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There is no denying that one of the most difficult ways to earn a living in this country and in this day and age is to run your own business. There is so much you need to know in order to make it all work successfully and even if your knowledge of business is sound then it is just the endless amount of competition out there already that you will have to get the better.

Having said this, with the right product or the right service for sale and a good team underneath you there is argument to say that this is the best way to make a living. After all, at least you have your destiny in your own hands. There’s hundreds of horror stories on the news at the moment of what were believed to be successful money making businesses being forced into drastic redundancies and downscaling. It is these kinds of stories that are enough to lead you to put your faith in yourself instead of into others.

One of the most important things in running a successful business is to know when to take your opportunity. At times it is incredibly scary to take that first plunge or to make that initial investment but it is essential that you do not let the fear get the better of you. It is vital that you take your chances when you can, that invest in the things that need investing in.

One make or break decision that you will inevitably come to at some point, if your business is doing well, is when to make the move to expand your operation. This is one of the scariest things that you could ever do and is a decision that can ultimately spell the end to your company. This is why it is so important to take your time but also to act at the right time to make the changes that will shape the future of your company.

When you do decide to expand your company these are the things that you need to consider:

  • Location – You may feel settled in the surroundings in which you set up your business in the first place but don’t be scared to consider upping sticks. This is a big decision but once you have researched your target audience thoroughly then it may soon become obvious that you need to relocate to increase sales for your business.
  • Office size – If you are thinking of relocating then it may also be advisable to consider up scaling your office. Even if you have decided not to invest in any more employees at the time it may be a good idea to invest in the future expansions that you are, no doubt, confident in doing in years to come.
  • Products and services – No matter what line of business you are part of if you are going to expand then it may be worth considering taking on new products or services that your company can offer. Remember it takes money to make money, as scary as that is.
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Guest post contributed by Simon Jones, a business consultant based in Manchester who specialises in helping SMEs expand their overall business capabilities in a safe & sensible manner. Simon often uses ideas such as corporate switch boards, to help deal with the increase in telephone calls & use, using companies such as Moneypenny

 

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