Tag Archives: facebook

Employees Using Social Media Can Give Companies a Nasty Virus

virus

A couple weeks ago, a virus had its way with my family. Within a four-day span, all four of us were incredibly sick for 24 hours at a time and it seemed there was nothing we could do to stop the next person from getting it.

That’s because despite how careful we were – quarantining the sick one to a bedroom, dispensing large bottles of hand sanitizer, etc. – it’s impossible to be fully conscious of every single time your hand touches something else in the house. For example, we each hold the handrail when coming down the stairs by habit without even giving it a thought.

It’s not much different for companies that have employees who are active in the social media space. And, honestly, what company doesn’t have at least one employee with a Facebook page or Twitter account?

Social media is like a rabbit hole and it’s easy for employees to either not be fully conscious of all the places they touch or forget that Google can find just about anything. A rude comment on a blog post here. A disparaging Tweet about a client’s home city there. Posting unapproved client work to her online portfolio because she really liked the concept, even though the client picked a different direction.

They can seem harmless enough at the time, but each of these can have a negative impact on your business and strain client relationships. That’s why all companies should have guidelines for employees that outlines what’s acceptable in social media participation and what’s not.

This isn’t to keep them out of social media networks because these tools can bring a lot of good to your organization. But the guidelines remind employees that their online actions can have consequences for both the company and them, and it gives them guardrails to help keep them from mistakenly going off track.

Does your company have these guidelines in place? If so, do you feel they’ve been helpful in better protecting the brand? Should companies have any “say” in what employees do online with personal accounts?

(Image by Fred Armitage.)

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Teens and 20-Somethings May Leave Facebook

teens-leaving-facebook

I was chatting with a high school senior a couple weeks ago and Facebook came up. He commented offhand that he may have to find a new place online to keep up with his friends and I asked, “why?” That’s when he tipped me off.

“It was kind of weird when my parents joined and friended me. Seriously, though, my grandma friended me the other day! This isn’t cool. A lot of my friends are talking about looking for something else.”

That got me thinking. Do college students want their parents and aunts and uncles and grandparents walking into their dorm rooms on a Saturday night to jot down something cheesy on the white board over their desk for all their friends to see? If it’s not cool in the offline world, what would make it cool online?

Yes, the largest demographic on Facebook remains the 18-24 year olds. But their reign over the market share has dropped nearly 14 percent in the past six months alone – which validates the “problem” that high school senior shared.

If you market products or services to teens and 20-somethings, I’d keep an eye peeled and an ear to the ground. If an exodus begins, find out where they’re going and figure out ways for your brand to interact meaningfully. Getting in early is a very good thing.

What’s your take on the matter? Will the trendsetting young ones start running for the hills or will they eventually get over the heebie jeebies that come from being friended by their grandmas?

*Image by Tom Rydquist.

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Three Reasons You Should Care About Social Media

Many marketers are still apprehensive about involving their brands in social media initiatives. Quite a few still deny that their brands have anything to gain from interacting in the space.

I agree that you have to dive in because it’s right for your brand and NOT because you suffer from shiny object syndrome. After all, social media isn’t right for all companies. But I venture to say that it makes a lot of sense for most. Why? Here are three reasons why it matters and why your brand should seize the opportunities it affords.

One opinion matters more than ever.
People have always shared their negative and positive brand experiences with friends and family, but we have a small circle of influence in the offline world. And it takes a decent amount of effort to rant or rave by phone, e-mail or in-person with everyone you know. So you tell a few of them.

Thanks to social media, the circle of influence that consumers now have has never been bigger. It allows them to cast wider nets by connecting with more contacts. Frequent interaction within the networks and adding value within them also builds each consumer’s level of influence among their contact.

It’s also MUCH easier to rant or rave with social media tools. In 45 seconds, a consumer can use her wireless phone while sitting at a restaurant to praise great service on Twitter, Plurk, her Facebook status, and FriendFeed. In short, consumers can share experiences with significantly more people than before and they can do it faster and easier than ever. This image by Sam Lawrence illustrates the difference in size between our offline and online networks.

Consumers are connected across many social media platforms.
We talk about touch points because we know that the more a consumer sees a brand’s message, the more likely they are to recall it. The graph below from Steve Jurvetson illustrates how members of my social media networks are connected to me in more places. If I have a positive experience and mention it in my Facebook status, send a “tweet” about it on Twitter, share a “plurk” on it and write a blog post about it, a good percentage of my connections will see that message in more than one place. That means that my messages about a brand have a good chance of becoming part of how others see that brand.

Brand reviews within social media play a big role in consumers’ purchase decisions.
The numbers don’t lie. Here are some interesting stats that show how consumers use social media to determine which brands they buy.

  • 68 percent of consumers look to and trust their peers when it comes to product advice (Word Of Mouth Marketing Association – WOMMA)
  • 72 percent of consumers who use social media tools also use them to research a company’s reputation (Society for New Communications Research)
  • 74 percent of consumers who use social media tools choose to do business with companies based on the customer care experiences others share online (Society for New Communications Research)

There are, of course, more than three reasons why brands should care. What have I left out? What compelling information have you used to help show its importance to your clients or within your organization?

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My Verdict on Keeping Personal and Professional Separate

A couple weeks ago, I asked a question. Should we keep personal and professional separate when it comes to social networking? Specifically, I had been struggling with what to do about facebook. I’ve always used it as a place for friends and never used it to connect with professional contacts. I limited that to LinkedIn and twitter.

After getting a lot of comments (for a newish blog, at least) on the post and a ton of responses to the similar question I asked on LinkedIn, it’s obvious that others are talking about this, too. They ranged from “No way should you put them together” to the opposite end of the spectrum. Some people were middle of the road.

The Verdict
I’m going to open up my facebook to communicate with both personal and professional folks alike.

What did it for me? I was reminded firsthand of the benefits of keeping connected with professionals beyond just LinkedIn and twitter last week. A former coworker, Mark, who I’m really good friends with was visiting Chicago. Another former coworker, Rakesh, moved to Chicago about two years ago with his wife. We hadn’t really stayed in touch.

My friend asked if I had Rakesh’s mobile number. I didn’t. But I remembered that we are still connected on facebook. I sent Rakesh a message to let him know that Mark was in the Windy City and wanted to get together. I also gave him Mark’s mobile number. Rakesh got the message and gave Mark a call so they could hang out.

So what’s the big deal? It’s a great picture of the power of connections – about being able to bring the right people together, regardless of the reason. Whether it’s helping two guys connect for a beer in Wrigleyville or helping someone find a PR pro well versed in social media who happens to live in Ohio, it would be beneficial to me and the community at large to be able to come through and help from time to time.

Don’t worry, though. I’ve updated all my privacy settings so family and friends can see my kids without barraging professional contacts with too many photos from our weekend at the beach. As beautiful as my kids are, it’s scientifically proven that you can only take so much of seeing other people’s kids before it gets nauseating.

So, want to connect on facebook? If so, you can find my profile here. And feel free to connect with me at other places here.

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Should We Keep Professional and Personal Separate in Social Networking

When it comes to social networking utilities, should there be a line in the sand on whether it’s for personal contacts or professional connections? That’s what I’ve been struggling with of late.

Maybe I should share with you what first made this question come to mind for me. When I joined facebook a while back, I “friended” a lot of coworkers, some of whom I am friends with outside of work and some of whom I am acquaintances with at work.

About a month ago, one of my coworkers that I’m acquaintances with had a major event happen in her personal life, which I found out about through facebook. She’s nice. We say “hi” to each other. But this is something I don’t believe she would have told me in passing. We’re not close enough. Now, you could say that she shared it on facebook, so she must not have minded telling everyone. But I still felt weird finding out about it that way.

I also had a couple clients friend me recently on facebook and it made me a little uneasy. Not that I put things on there that are crazy and kooky. Just the normal stuff like photos of my beautiful family, friends writing funny things on my wall, etc. But what if one of those funny groups I joined to laugh about with friends isn’t seen as funny by a client. Things that people know about in our personal lives that they wouldn’t have known about pre-social networking can color their opinions of us in our professional lives.

That’s my concern. So I decided to save facebook for my personal contacts and Linkedin and twitter for my professional connections. But I’ve noticed lately that a lot of fellow bloggers whom I respect have links to their facebook pages on their blogs. Folks like Chris Brogan, Mack Collier and Lara Kretler.

Should I rethink my assessment? Am I going about it the wrong way? Am I missing out on great exchange by not opening up facebook to professional contacts as well? What do you think?

(Click here to read My Verdict on Keeping Professional and Personal Separate.)

*image credit – facebook.com

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