How to implement a Social Media Readiness Assessment of your company

There are 8 key categories of 42 Best Practices each to answer before any company wish to fully embark on using social media to connect with the public.

Senior Management

  • Senior Management is interested in leveraging Social Media as a new marketing channel
  • Senior Management understands that Social Media is a long term priority
  • Senior Management is prepared to contribute to social media content development (blog postings, press interviews, etc.)
  • Senior Management is interested in taking the feedback from customer views and other data to make changes in the organization
  • Senior Management is willing to provide the resources necessary in order to get the social media program off the ground (budget, staff etc.)

Social Media Knowledge Level of the Company

  • We understand which social media channels are available and which are the best fit for our organization
  • We have a solid understanding of how our employees and executives are currently using Social Media
  • We have read industry-based reports and benchmarking studies on Social Media
  • We have attended conferences and networked with colleagues to gain a better understanding of how they plan on implementing Social Media
  • We have joined Social Media peer groups to learn more about how we can leverage Social Media
  • We subscribe to Mashable or other Social Media educational sites

Customer Engagement Level

  • Dedicated online community groups (Facebook, Linked In, MySpace, etc.) already exist for our industry or product types
  • We have a company profile on Social Media networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.
  • Our subscriber list is growing among the various forms of Social Media currently being used (Twitter, Online Newsletter, etc.) and we know how large our reach is online
  • We regularly contribute to online discussions (forums, blogs, etc.)
  • We know if our audiences tone is positive, neutral, or negative on 3rd party sites
  • Our audience (customers, prospects, etc) regularly make comments on our postings

Competitive Insight Analysis

  • We have audited our top competitors online strategy, evaluated their maturity and have a basic idea of what they are doing with Social Media
  • We regularly track our competitors (# of Blog Postings, Comments, Twitter Followers, Facebook Group Members, etc.)
  • We monitor competitive social media changes and updates daily
  • We provide competitive positioning information to our product management group
  • We have joined our competitors online community and networking groups

Staff and Resources Allocation

  • We have defined roles and responsibilities for people in our organization who are involved with Social Media
  • We have a dedicated internal point person to manage our Social Media program
  • We have consulted with Social Media experts to ensure our programs success
  • We have an industry thought leader who contributes to our blog postings
  • We have consulted with our IT department to get their input on technology selections
  • We have developed and provided a training program to employees and contractors

Plan and Channel Selection

  • We have created and presented a social media channel map which highlights how we will use Social Media
  • We have a defined strategy with clear objectives, targets, initiatives and measures
  • We have analyzed and prioritized our Social Media channel options and have consensus on which opportunities pursue first
  • We have evaluated and selected technology solutions for implementing our Social Media program
  • We have developed a project plan with timelines, deliverables and milestones
  • We have communicated our Social Media plan to our employees

Process Documentation

  • We have incorporated and integrated Social Media into our normal marketing mix (product launches, marketing plans, customer service, etc.)
  • We have developed a calendar for selecting topics and organizing Social Media communications
  • We have defined the frequency for updating our Social Media channels (blog, twitter, Facebook, etc.)
  • We have a regularly scheduled meeting to discuss our Social Media program (topics, results, competitive insights, new opportunities, etc.)

Governance Measurement

  • We have a policy to govern the use of Social Media with our employees, contractors, prospects and customers
  • We use a dashboard to report on our top Social Media metrics
  • We communicate the results of our Social Media program to Senior Management on a regular basis
  • We have documented the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy for the Social Media applications that we provide
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Teach Your Older Employees a New Approach

Teach Your Older Employees a New Approach

With ever-advancing technology and the increased competitiveness of a more globalized economy, more mature employees are finding that their jobs just aren’t what they use to be. That’s where additional training can become instrumental to their success.

While studies show that workers over the age of 50 are often more committed to education, many employers fail to make it accessible to them. With technology constantly changing, many may not necessarily know the ins and outs of the latest breakthrough gadget.

By providing additional training that they can use on the job, you can strengthen the loyalty of employees older than 50.

If you install new software or applications, don’t assume the technology is completely intuitive to all your employees. It’s always helpful to provide a tutorial or a group training session. But you shouldn’t always assume that your older workers don’t know their way around a computer. A 2010 report found that social networking use among internet users ages 50 and older has increased from 22 percent to 42 percent in the last year. In the past several years, technology has become pervasive in our daily lives. Many people today regularly use e-mail and social networking sites such as Facebook for personal communications.

However, it can sometimes be impossible to keep up with the fast pace of technology. Find out what your employees do and don’t know to help train them on relevant topics. Ask their opinion. Studies show us that older workers have a desire to better their job skills, but do you really know what they want to learn about?

It’s hard for you to keep tabs on every single employee. Select a training representative or provide a go-to resource, such as a designated e-mail or a comment drop box in the breakroom, for employees who want to request some additional assistance. Sometimes your employees may be too embarrassed to ask for help, so you’ll have to go to them. If you can’t talk to employees one-on-one, consider sending out a survey that asks about their training needs. Usually, if one employee is struggling, he or she isn’t alone. Based on these results, you can decide what training is most relevant and needed.

Admitting that you don’t know how to do something is hard for a worker of any age. Mature professionals who have years of experience under their belt may have a more difficult time confessing that they need help refreshing their approach. But as much as they may want to learn, their fear of being laughed at or thought of as incompetent may make them hesitant to attend a course or training session. When you announce training opportunities be sure to tell employees that taking these classes will in no way reflect poorly on their position at your company. Reassure them that this training is only meant to add to what they already know.

When you set up a training class, keep your employees’ comfort in mind. Among other things, experts recommend choosing a facility that has ergonomically-correct workstations, ample lighting and good acoustics. They also recommend that all presentation materials have large font and images, making them easier to read.

Schedule time for regular breaks, so that employees are able to get up and move around. Employees who are comfortable will to retain information more than those that aren’t. Consider giving employees training materials a few days prior to the training session to let them get familiar with the material.

Once in class, invite discussion. Allow them to ask questions and address any material that is perplexing to them. Also, provide hands-on learning whenever possible. For example, if you’re teaching employees about new computer software or applications, allow them time in class to test drive it as you give them pointers.

Once they’ve completed the training, provide follow-up training, online tools, discussion groups and other resources they can use to help them practice and review what they’ve learned. Investing in education for older loyal employees can produce a greater return on investment.

Source : Kristina Meyer

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Social Media and Charity are made for each other

In my VCF-approved training for VWOs/Charity/NPOs, I am often told the biggest obstacle for Volunteer Welfare Organisations (VWOs) is the lack of support/approval from top management. Social Media is utilised in the west for raising awareness, encouraging volunteerism and increasing donation. The best VWO I find which is the fore-runner on the social media applications is Lutheran Community Care Services (LCCS) led by Executive Director Rev Daniel Ang.

They are setting up Facebook fan pages, updating fans on their events like Charity Golf, causes, fund raising status, etc. Plans are underway to create Twitter, Youtube and Flickr pages. The latest is a campaign to auction off 2 paintings of F1 drivers – Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso

In my corporate training, I encourage them to do research on 5 international charities and these may be 5 good case studies for other charities to follow

If you belong to any VWOs and would like to explore using social media, I would be glad to design a customised training for your organisation.

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10 Social and Business Truths from "Social Network", the Movie.

A movie based on Mark Zuckerberg and the founding years of Facebook, called The Social Network, was released on October 28, 2010. The plot – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Social_Network

I was invited by Sony Pictures for the preview of “Social Network” about 2 weeks before it was launched. After watching it, I was led to share my very 1st movie review on some of the “social truths”

1. My view is as good as yours. The movie – “Social Network” is a good overview of how social networking company – Facebook started with stories revolving around Mark Zuckerburg, Eduardo Saverin and Sean Parker.  Though no one would say the movie plot is 100% accurate, the movie is subjectively researched and directed based on only the account of Eduardo Saverin. The interpretation of events are primarily through the eyes and mind of Eduardo, the co founder, who incidentally is said to be living in Singapore for the past 1.5 years. Maybe Mark should link up with another director to do a “Real Facebook” movie, i am sure he has his own version and story to tell.

2. Sometimes having a 3rd party is a good thing. Facebook may never be as successful as it is today had the founders not met Sean Parker, the co-founder of Napster and Plaxo as their initial advisor. Sean stretched the mind of Mark but Eduardo was totally unimpressed. In the end, Mark go with Sean and the rest is history. Personally, the timely insertion Sean made all the differences for Facebook. He may be the unwanted 3rd party but provided the best 2nd opinion on the future of Facebook at that time.

3. It is good to start well, but far better to end well. Though Sean is a extremely smart and charismatic guy, he was undone by his own arrogance. Due to some drug issue, he was forced to be out of Facebook. Had Sean Parker managed to stayed on, Facebook might have been more successful today.

4. Men place his self-esteem in what he can accomplish. Mark is depicted as arrogant, selfish and self-absorbed guy. He is after success but not energized by money.  All young technopreneurs are depicted as flirtatious and incapable of handling serious romantic relationship. At the end of the movie, he was still trying his luck on reuniting with his ex girl friend through the very thing he invented – FACEBOOK!

5. Friendship is always tested in prosperity, not poverty. When times were bad, Mark and Eduardo stayed focused together. They had each other’s attention, discussed matters and fly together to pitch. Once money started coming in, and difference in direction set in, the friendship suffered. Never enter into any business relationship with your best friend, unless you are prepared to lose this friend inadvertently.

The business Truth:

1. Partnership is more important than any proposal. The movie also shows that business isn’t about the quality of business  proposal but the quality of business partnership. Choose the right partners. The idea of social networking the Facebook way was the coolest idea back then. Had Mark, Eduardo and Sean managed the partnership better – disagree by agreeing, Facebook would have enjoyed the best of alliance, open source and also advertising. Ideas are simple, execution is important and finding the right partners is supreme.

2. Success is often born out of a crisis. Facebook which was created out of frustration by Mark just to forget a crush.  Another version of the story is Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook to elevate his stature after not getting into any of the elite Finals Club in Harvard. When you are too much in a comfort zone, success is a mile away. When you are in combat zone, success will just be reached within an arm’s length.

3. To be relevant, all great brands should be Work-in-Progress. In the movie, Mark once mentioned “this thing will never be finish, it’s like fashion”. All business is a fashion business, it has cycle and ever evolving. No business will ever arrived and be finalized. To serve your target, you need to go with the flow and initiate changes most of the time. Do frequent brand audit, re-adjust your strategy and align your communication channels frequently. FACEBOOK is successful because they believe in sharing by offering its source codes to 3rd party developers to make them even popular. They seems to have no niche, they serve everyone!

4.  Non Disclosure Agreement is usually the condition for out of court settlement. Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra all agree to settle out of court with a confidential agreement. They must never disclosure the details and must never claim to have any links to Facebook except for the ownership of common shares. On hindsight, 7% of Facebook valued at $25b (currently in 2010)  is $1.75b. If 2 brothers had known how much will it worth today, they would never have settled for just $65million!

5. The 8 Law of Business Ideas:

  • Do not share your ideas with anyone unless you are prepared for it to be stolen
  • Do not force  sell it to anyone who refuse to buy them
  • Avoid exploring ideas which are difficult to realize or implement.
  • If your good idea is stolen, you must know how to win it back by enhancing it.
  • You do not own any good ideas unless you see it to completion
  • All good ideas should be tested against second-guessing, deliberation and contemplation.
  • The difference between a great and a good idea is the person who first thought of it.
  • Good ideas doesn’t guarantee good results

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Mine the Links for the real Gems

How you, the hiring manager, can use social-media networks to support your recruiting efforts and pick winners.

- Brand yourself as an employer of choice

- Look beyond the referral

- Check status updates

- Check for thought leadership

- The power of networking

- Narrowing your search

- Targeting different levels

- Forming alliances

For the details of this article, please look out for Human Resources Magazine, August 2010 issue, page 47.

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20 pitfalls to avoid when using Facebook for Branding

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  1. Indiscriminate Tagging • Nothing is more irritating than finding ourselves being tagged to something that doesn’t concern us!
  2. Excessive Routine Group Broadcast • It will be a disaster for your brand if you use Facebook like just another broadcasting channel
  3. Posting your Product onto Competitor’s Group or Fan Page • If the owner of the page or group reports to Facebook, you can be warned, or eventually banned!
  4. Create a Fan Page with No Fans and No Update • What’s the use of creating a Page where the Fans have nothing to cheer about the page? Remember the content is imperative for good conversation to happen
  5. Create a Personal Profile of your Company & Adding others as Friends • Facebook is for anyone who has a real “face”. If you are a person managing your brand, create a profile. Consequently create a Fan page for your company
  6. Forbidding Your Fans to Share (Feedback) Anything on Page • The main activity on social media is conversation. Who wants to be your fans when only you can talk and they can’t? Your page will become just like any other mass media.
  7. Fan Page with No Twitter, Youtube or Slideshare tabs • Fan Page is your brand’s homepage on Facebook. Leveraging its huge base to bring traffic to other platform where your brand has a presence is important
  8. Over Crowding Your Pictures with Only Your URL
  9. Deleting (Censoring) Negative Comments • Do not ever think people won’t notice it! It will be embarrassing if fans post the comments a 2nd time. Use every opportunity in finding a bridge from handling negative comments to communicate your brand further
  10. Spamming by Sending Group Private Messaging • Though this may be done on a personal level, it may result in bad personal branding and affect the image of your brand which you broadcasted
  11. Failure to Include Facebook Forecast/Growth Metrics • Forecasting and Charting growth in areas like Fan base, postings, content upload are key measurement of Social Media Branding. No measurement means no ROI!
  12. Failure to Plan for Posting Schedule on Your Page • Forecasting and Charting of Growth in membership, postings or content upload are key measurement of Social Media Branding. No measurement means no ROI
  13. Only 1 Administrator • Designating only one person to manage a page may not be able to cope with the job scope of monitoring feedback, updating, event management, etc. Having more administrators will add more variety in the form of human voices within the page. Moreover, your page will risk being dormant if the administrator’s profile is disabled for some reasons.
  14. Bad Grammar in Posts or Replies • Having social conversation doesn’t necessarily means bad grammar is cool. Anyone who maintains a page represent the brand. No company wish to associate bad English as an attribute of their brand.
  15. Lack of Monitoring through Google Analytics for Facebook link • The success rate of converting of prospects to customers from Facebook depends on analysis of web users’ behaviour on your web. Monitoring all new users from Facebook link contribute to the overall ROI of a Social Media marketing approach.
  16. No Integration With Other Web Strategies • Having a Facebook’s page is just another channel of marketing and branding. All other web strategies must be aligned, implemented and integrated with Social Media channel eg. Customer Relationship Management system, etc
  17. Failure to use Targeting option in FACEBOOK Advertising • Though Facebook is almost reaching 500 million users, its unique advertising preposition lies in the Targeting Option where you can select your target audience anything from gender to location to interest to even educational level.
  18. Under Bidding in Facebook Advertisement • Plan for a monthly budget, decide how many clicks you wish to get from Facebook users, the higher the bidding for Pay-per-Click (PPC), the more occurrence your ad will appear. Bidding the minimal will never be effective for obvious reason
  19. No Facebook Application to Engage Your Fans • Facebook is a application on social media which gives opportunity to more than 50,000 other applications. Design and Develop an application on Facebook through API to build your brand. Be creative in forming new ways for fans and prospects to interact.
  20. No Facebook Connect From your Website • Your main corporate site will not be deemed as ready for social media if you do not have Facebook Connect. • It allows users to join your site as members by allowing their profiles to be connected. • Open ID serves a similar purpose although not as effective in lead generation.
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