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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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Evoking online trust

icn.seths.headby Seth Godin

Interactions rarely happen with people we don’t trust.

How is it that someone sees your website or your social media presence or your email and decides to interact? The decision to interact happens before someone actually listens to what you have to say. Here’s a way to think about the factors that kick in before the browser even hears what you have to offer them today:

  • Word of mouth
  • Direct interaction
  • Graphics
  • Tone of voice
  • Offer
  • Size of leap
  • Fear
  • Social ranking/metric
  • Tribal affiliation
  • Perception of transparency
  • Longevity
  • Mass acceptance

Word of mouth: The most effective, by far. If I’ve heard good things about you from people I know, the entire relationship changes. You get the benefit of the doubt.

Direct interaction: Have you previously touched me or interacted me in some way beyond the passive? The way I feel about that ping will alter our interaction. If this is the first time you’re reaching out, you can bet a piece of spam is read differently than something that comes via mutual introduction.

Graphics: What do you look like? What does it remind me of? With so few clues online, we read an enormous amount into every pixel, every typeface…

Tone of voice: A variation of graphics, it has to do with your copy, with your video, with the urgency of your offer. Urgency rarely leads to trust.

Scarcity: Is there a perception that early birds gain? This also hooks in with metrics, like the progress your Kickstarter has made so far, or the number of social links you display.

Offer: What’s in it for me to listen to what you have to say? Do I gain more if I listen with a sympathetic ear?

Size of leap: What are you asking me to do? It’s significantly easier to earn the trust that is required to with follow you on social media than it is to get me to give you my credit card. When you hook your new idea to an old idea I already trust, you benefit.

Fear: This is related to the leap. Big leaps are scarier, requiring more trust, and thus more skepticism.

Social ranking/metric: Results on the first page of Google are more trusted. People with a lot of Twitter followers as well, which is one reason both metrics are aggressively coveted and sometimes gamed.

Tribal affiliation: Are you one of us?

Perception of transparency: When I can see the metrics, or understand your intention, or when the message carries with it the hooks to those ideas, I’m more inclined to trust you. (This is a cultural, not a universal, bias).

Longevity: How long have you been showing up?

Mass acceptance: When I sort of hear of you from my friends, when I recognize you from a hashtag or the logo on a shirt or from a TV show, you come out ahead. TV celebrities walk in to the room with a lot of trust.

You will be judged, best to plan on being judged in the best possible light.

 

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How To Make The Most Out Of Networking Events

Networking is really important for any businessperson or freelancer. It is a great way to build relationships and even meet potential customers. But unless you know how to make the most out of these networking events they can end up wasting your time. Thus it is important to ensure you know some of the best ways to help you make the most out of participating in these events.

Go With A Clear Focus Of Achieving Something

Before the networking event takes place it is essential you understand the purpose of the event and set yourself a few simple goals. This will ensure you don’t just attend the event and treat it like a social gathering but you will benefit your business by attending the event.

Make sure you also have enough details and stories in your head to tell to other people about your work and your history. This will help you remember the key points to mention. Don’t rehearse the points as a set of answers or phrases as this might come off a bit too planned. Instead, just have the key points in mind so you always have something attractive to offer to people you talk with.

Mingle With A Lot People

It is also important you talk to as many people as possible during the night. But don’t just rush around the event, introducing yourself to everyone and then moving on to the next target. As The Undercover Recruiter points out it is important you engage in meaningful discussion with people and show them you are interested in their ideas instead of just handing out your business card to everyone.

If possible you can think about the people that might be attending beforehand and try meeting people that can really help you out with your business. Don’t spend too much time talking with people you are already in close contact with but focus your energy into meeting new people.

Make Sure You Share Your Information

You also need to keep handing out your business and contact information to new people you meet. Thus make sure you have a proper business card to give out. It is really important you focus on creating a professional looking business card. Make sure it is a simple design that includes all the key information.

It is also a great idea to join the major social media networks like Twitter. You should also join Enthuse to add a professional profile to your business card. The site is a great way to build your portfolio and have an effective online profile.

Stay In Touch

You also need to do a few things after the networking event to ensure you make the most out of it. Go through all the business cards you collected and get in touch with the people you feel could really benefit your business. Send them an e-mail or even give a call in a few days time and ensure you can build a great business relationship.

With these simple tips you can make the most out of networking events and really ensure they give you an extra boost to your business.

Featured images:

Fiona is a skiing-enthusiast who loves to help out new freelancers break their way into the competitive world of freelancing. When she isn’t typing away on her computer or daydreaming about the upcoming winter she can be found at the local library reading about Egyptian history.

 

 

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Thank You LinkedIn – NOT Part 2

PUBLISHERS NOTE:  I was able to find this, that explains how to simply post videos and images.  It seems to work pretty well and is self-prompting. It still does’t have the flexibility, of the old SlideShare application, like autostart.  I can’t figure out why they are taking this approach after spending $116M on SlideShare, but it’s not my dime….

PUBLISHERS UPDATE – 5.31.13 – Ive just been informed, and sadly confirmed, that the features below are indeed NOT available to all accounts.  Although it seemed to be no problem to drop the applications across the whole platform, for some reason LinkedIn is only allowing some accounts to upload files.  It has nothing to do with premium status, but I can upload and some of my clients cannot – yet?

 Olympus
BY EMILY PRICE
LinkedIn added the ability to showcase users’ talents in a whole new way Wednesday: pictures and video. Now LinkedIn users can add visual content to their profile pages, giving more depth to the written content already displayed on the site.For instance, a photographer might choose to include several of her best photos, or a copywriter might upload a video of that ad he wrote for last year’s Super Bowl. Architects can upload the blueprints for a building they designed, and musicians can upload videos of past performances.

Visual content can be added to your summary, work experience and education sections on the site, and can come from your computer’s hard drive or from the web.

On the flip side of the equation, people who are browsing profiles on the site can now like or comment on media uploaded to others’ profiles. A sharing option — for sharing content you find interesting with others — is also in the works.

New media-rich profiles are available now for LinkedIn members in English-speaking countries.

To add media to your own profile on LinkedIn click the “Edit” button on your profile page and follow the prompts in the summary, education and experience sections.

What sorts of content will you be adding to your LinkedIn Profile?

Images courtesy of Flickr, Alex Murphy

 

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Thank You LinkedIn –NOT!

LinkedOut

Well they have finally outdone themselves.

I thought all the crashes and “try later” warnings were bad.   Just like the “your contact list is currently not available.”

Then we had to deal with the totally random attacks on keyword stuffing by the LinkedIn Trust & Safety team.  If you look up any keyword on LinkedIn, I guarantee you that the first 4 or 5 pages of results will be keyword stuffed in the projects section. So you do the same thing, or you can’t compete.  I explained this and the fact that they could write a pretty simple algorithm to detect this, not anything like Google, but they never made an effort.

Now, just as I am getting used to my profile supposedly among the top 1% viewed in 2012, we get a total new look:  They have changed all the tabs, removed all the applications, stopped supporting blogs altogether, and cannot tell anyone when they will have the “new application” that will allow you to put up your experiences now supposedly in your summary section -all without any kind of announcement or warning.

WTF?   I make my living (in part) as a LinkedIn coach.  I have spent the better part of a complete day scrambling to read what little documentation they have, and emailing back and forth to other supposed LinkedIn Guru’s (like anyone can figure out what they are likely to do next) to figure out how to work around this latest “improvement.”

Could this have anything to do with their attempts to monetize LinkedIn?  To this point it hasn’t really made any sense to upgrade.  Keep your eyes and ears open for some sort of suggestion that there are plug-ins and gizmos available to Premium users, like video upload etc.

I’ll keep you posted as I sort this out (another day or two I didn’t have to re-invent the wheel) as it is excruciatingly apparent that they won’t.

 

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The New Rules Of Customer Complaints Management

complaints managementCompanies in the business of dealing with people know how important customer complaints management is – after all, there are very few companies that do not interact with customers on some level; even if there is no direct interaction.

The rules have changed a lot over the past few years, and they are changing even more just about each and every month. What worked in the early part of the 2000s will not work in 2013 – consumers have a far greater soapbox now for one thing, and the way that we communicate in general has also changed greatly.

Customer Complaints in the Era of Technology

What exactly are the ‘new rules’ that need to be considered for our current era, and what should companies be doing to adhere to best practices on complaints management? Here are some important things to keep in mind…

  • Customers are no longer limited to posted letters, limited email and telephone calls. Now, they have all of those channels, as well as personal blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, consumer feedback websites, forums AND word of mouth. Worse still, feedback posted online that mentions your company will show up in internet search results when people are searching for your business online.
  • Customers are more likely to report on a bad experience than a good one. What this means is that even though the past 150 customers who have purchased your wildly popular gizmo via your snazzy online store are thrilled, not all of them will be shouting your praise to the world. The one or two customers who were not too happy about that gizmo (or your store, or even your delivery process) are another story. Those are the ones who will tell everyone they can just how terrible your company, products and store are – often, on multiple channels for good measure.
  • Customers can not only become happy again, they can even become your number one fans. This is however, provided that you deal with their complaints properly. Complaints should not be seen as a bad thing for starters – this is a chance to improve your services and goods for the better. For another thing, the way that problems are addressed makes a lot more difference than the actual issue in many cases. In order to effectively address the complaint, you first need to catch it early, escalate it properly and route it to the right person though.

As you can see, the rules continue to change pretty much all the time. What doesn’t change however is the fact that response time and reaction are both vital when it comes to making a bad situation into a good one.

Automating the complaints process with a good software tool is one way to improve your overall systems. You may also want to think about other tools such as competency testing for employees who deal directly with customers. Product reviews and preventative measures such as customer surveys, and also making sure that customers can easily air their views should be top of mind too.

At the end of the day you see, it is far easier to handle a small upset soon after it happens, than risk dealing with the public relations disasters that can (and do) happen overnight when customer complaints are left unchecked. Quite an easy choice really when you think about it that way.

Featured images:

Christopher Stainow is actively involved in the streamlining of business quality processes and procedures through the use of quality management tools & document control software. Learn more at lennoxhill.co.uk.

 

 

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4 Things Parents Should Know Before Paying for College

college_campus

Financial Specialist Shares Ways to Help Your Child
 While Protecting Your Retirement

From $20,000 to $65,000 a year – that’s the tuition cost for one year of college, says John McDonough, a money expert who helps retirees and parents plan for their families’ futures.

“For the 2012–2013 academic year, the average cost for an in-state public college is $22,261. A moderate budget for a private college averaged $43,289,” says McDonough, CEO of Studemont Group College Funding Solutions, www.studemontgroup.com. “But for elite schools, we’re talking about three times the cost of your local state school. Either way, your kid’s higher education can easily shoot into six figures after four years.”

Along with worrying about rising tuition prices, parents also fear for their own futures if their retirement savings are drained by children’s college costs, McDonough says. Only 14 percent, for example, are very confident they’ll have the money to live comfortably in retirement, he says, citing a 2012 survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

“Families feel they’re faced with conflicting goals, but there are numerous ways to pay for college while investing in your future retirement,” says McDonough, who offers insights for parents to keep in mind while planning for their child’s education:

• The ROI of a college education: At a time when so many American families are financially strapped, college is an especially stressful topic because parents know higher learning will help their kids succeed. College graduates earn 84 percent than those with only a high school diploma, according to Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce. Here is how earning breaks down over one’s life time, based on education: a doctoral degree-holder will earn $3.3 million over a lifetime; $2.3 million is estimated for a college graduate; those with only a high school diploma can expect $1.3 million.

• Move retirement assets to qualify for grants: Most parents know about the 529 savings account, but that’s not necessarily the best or only option. Reallocating your retirement assets, such as 401(k)s, can better position a child to qualify for grants and scholarships. This legal and ethical maneuvering may be the single most important factor when considering how to pay for college.

• Know your student’s strengths and weaknesses: Consider independent and objective analysis of your future college student. Assessment might include a personality profile and a detailed search for a future career. Also think about a more nuts-and-bolts approach, including scholarship eligibility, SAT and ACT prep courses, review of admissions essays and an in-depth analysis of chances for enrollment in a student’s top four choices of colleges.

• Make a checklist of financial aid forms: In order to maximize a fair price of higher education, remember there is plenty of data to review. McDonough recommends a checklist with a timeline and notable deadlines. Be ready to troubleshoot the “alphabet soup” of data forms: FAFSA – Free Application For Federal Student Aid; CSS profileCollege Scholarship Service; SAR – Student Aid Report; and more. Think about this process as a second job, or find professional help you can trust.

About John McDonough

John McDonough is the managing member at Studemont Group, which is primarily focused on helping retirees gain peace of mind with unique market rescue and recovery programs. He is also founder, president and CEO of Studemont Group College Funding Solutions. His experience in the financial services industry includes managing partner at Granite Harbor Advisors in Houston and divisional vice president of AXA Equitable/AXA Advisors, the third largest insurance company in the world. McDonough is a member of the prestigious Forum 400, a qualifier at the Court of the Table qualifier for Million Dollar Round Table, an active member in National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors and Society of Financial Service Professionals, as well as American Association of Life Underwriters. He has completed the course work to sit for the Certified Financial Planner® professional designation exam from Rice University.

 

 

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