social computing

Sample Internal Social Media Policy

Sample Internal Social Media Policy

In our previous post, Create Your Internal Social Media Policy, we took a look at how you can create an internal social media policy. In this post, we give an example of a short social media policy.

Social Media Policy Example

Embracing Social Media

Here’s an example of a short and sweet social media policy we wrote for one of our clients:

Discretion

Staff have discretion in responding to comments posted on our commenting system. However, where possible, post pre-approved responses to Frequently Asked Questions.

Tone

Be a Person. Respond in a friendly way. Do not use emotion.

Be Accurate

Make sure that you have all the facts before you post. It’s better to verify information with a source first than to have to post a correction or retraction later. Cite and link to your sources whenever possible.

Think Before Posting

Don’t be in a hurry to respond. Make sure you have the facts and you are not responding with emotion.

When in Doubt, Do Not Post

Associates are personally responsible for their words and actions, wherever they are. As online spokespeople, you must ensure that your posts are completely accurate and not misleading. Exercise sound judgment and common sense, and if there is any doubt, DO NOT POST IT.

Long, Repetitive Threads

If a comment thread gets too long and repetitive, ask the poster to take it offline by sending their contact info to our email address.

Commit to the Conversation

Don’t stop listening just because you are busy. Don’t stop participating because you don’t agree with someone. Relationships are not built in a day. Be in it for the long haul and we will all reap the benefits.

Keep Records

It is critical that we keep records of our interactions with participants in our commenting system. The system keeps all posts, so this is usually only comes up when you must delete a post. Copy the offending post into a call record before deleting.

Negative Posts

When encountering a negative post (that does not violate the terms of service), encourage the poster to explain him or herself. Often they will reveal the source of their frustration. Use the Air Force blogging decision tree to guide your response. If a response to the negativity is not covered in the FAQ, let the subject matter experts respond.

Troll Policy

A troll is someone who repeatedly posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages. Ignore trolls. Do not engage them. If they violate our terms of service, request management approval to delete them from the community.

We discuss creating policies, including the Air Force blogging decision tree, in a bit more detail in the posts to come.

Next up: Technical Support for Social Media Engagement


Create Your Internal Social Media Policy is the 24th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Media Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at http://bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

See the previous posts What is Social Media?Social Sites DefinedWhy Social Media? How is Social Media Relevant to Business? First Steps Toward a Social Media Strategy, and Decide What Your Business Will Do About Social Computing, pt. 1


 

Create Your Internal Social Media Policy

Create Your Internal Social Media Policy

In our previous posts, we’ve examined how you can begin to engage your social media community and create a plan to engage them. Now let’s take a look at how you can create an internal social media policy. By first understanding how to use social media behind the firewall, you can lay the groundwork for your external social media policy.


Social Media Engagement

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Sections of Your Internal Social Media Policy

Here are some suggested headings for your enterprise’s social media policy.

  • Company Philosophy — Clearly define why your organization is using social media, what its goals are, and its general approach — formal, informal, collegial, peer-to-peer. Use this to ensure that all social media participants have a common understanding of the basics of your approach.
  • Definition of Social Networking — It may not be immediately apparent what kinds of sites or activities your policy refers to. Is tagging photos on Flickr[1] included? How about helping create a wiki on someone else’s site?[2] Be sure all involved understand the domain your policy covers. You may decide the policy covers all Internet activities, including email and instant messaging.
  • Identifying Oneself as an Employee of the Organization — This could get tricky for some enterprises, especially if you are in a regulated industry. Should you require employees to identify themselves as part of your organization? When? Should all who speak in your name post disclaimers (comments do not reflect the opinions of [enterprise])? We recommend that you limit this type of requirement because we think the best way to use social media is to Be a Person.
  • Recommending Others — You may want to have a policy about recommending others outside your enterprise. You may be concerned that the common social networking practice of recommending others may be construed not as a personal recommendation by a staffer, but as your organization recommending the person or group.
  • Referring to Clients or Partners — Your enterprise may have guidelines about referencing clients, especially about revealing Personally Identifiable Information. Similarly, you may have a policy about revealing the identity of, or otherwise referring to, your partners. Make sure you cover these policies in your social media policy.
  • Proprietary or Confidential Information — Your organization probably has a policy about revealing proprietary of confidential information. Incorporate this policy explicitly into your social media policy.
  • Terms of Service, Privacy, Copyright and other Legal Issues — If you create social media areas of your enterprise’s Website, or if you create your own online community, you’ll want to spell out the terms under which you provide services. Google “terms of service” to see how other providers handle this matter. You’ll also want to post a privacy policy and a notice of copyright if it is appropriate. Note that if you don’t want to restrict all uses of the material in your social media site, you can use the Creative Commons Copyleft process, which allows you to reserve only some rights to your content, while encouraging others to otherwise use or modify it. Find out more at the Creative Commons Website.[3]
    • Productivity— Pretty much every enterprise worries about the affect social media can have on the productivity of its workers. There are lots of studies that prove that generally the negative impact is non-existent or negligible.A July, 2009 study[4] by Nucleus Research found that companies who allowed employees to access their Facebook sites during work hours could expect to see total office productivity decline by an average of only 1.5 percent.

On the other hand, an Australian study[5] showed an increase in productivity among social networking users. “People who do surf the Internet for fun at work — within a reasonable limit of less than 20 percent of their total time in the office — are more productive by about 9 percent than those who don’t,” said Dr Brent Coker, from the University of Melbourne’s Department of Management and Marketing.

Because of the potential benefits of staff use of social networking, we recommend a policy that stresses that social media use should not interfere with normal duties, and spells out how much use is acceptable.

  • Disciplinary Action — Going hand in glove with the acceptable use policy should be a policy on discipline for staff whose productivity suffers due to excessive social networking use.

Your organization may develop other policies for social media use, but if you cover the points above, you should have a good basis for your initial social media policy. Like everything else regarding social computing, you’ll probably revise your policies as you and your enterprise learn how best to use this technology.

Next up: Sample Internal Social Media Policy


Create Your Internal Social Media Policy is the 24th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Media Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at http://bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

See the previous posts What is Social Media?Social Sites DefinedWhy Social Media? How is Social Media Relevant to Business? First Steps Toward a Social Media Strategy, and Decide What Your Business Will Do About Social Computing, pt. 1


[1] Flickr is an image and video hosting website and online community: bit.ly/9O2NeP

[2] Wiki definition: a Website that allows the easy creation and editing of interlinked Web pages via a Web browser, generally around one or more common themes. The most famous wiki is Wikipedia: bit.ly/b4hIR7

[3] Creative Commons is an alternative to copyright: bit.ly/dfZ5dM

[4] Nucleus Research is global provider of research and advisory services: bit.ly/clpkIx

[5] “Freedom to surf: workers more productive if allowed to use the internet for leisure,” University of Melbourne: bit.ly/aUCblU


Elements of an Engagement Plan

Elements of an Engagement Plan

In the previous post, Engage Your Community, we examined how you can begin to engage the social media community you’ve identified in previous steps. Now let’s take a look at how you can create a plan to engage your community.


Social Media Engagement

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Your engagement plan is the tactical realization of your social computing strategy. As such, each tactic should tie back to a strategic initiative — increasing sales, spreading the word, encouraging legislative action, increasing brand awareness, and the like.

You should consider including the following elements, as appropriate, in your engagement plan.

Goals for Engagement

You can expect various types of results from engaging with your community, and they can be categorized broadly into the following:

  • Listen and Identify — Learning about your community via audience analysis that identifies what your community values and will respond to
  • Inform — Increase the knowledge about your company within your community
  • Consult and Involve — Band your community together to improve and amplify your enterprise’s activities — a related concept is known as the wisdom of crowds:[1] the ability of masses of people to suggest accurate or innovative solutions to problems
  • Collaborate and Empower — Encourage community participation and effectiveness by working together and providing empowering tools online and offline, for example, to brainstorm new ideas and approaches, collaborate on messages and themes, or to enable supporters to tell their stories and help recruit new evangelists

Chances are good your types of engagements will fall into the following categories:

  • Identification of problems, opportunities and issues — Use community to keep a pulse on your market
  • Policy consultation — Get your community’s opinion on the direction of your organization, or about desired policy changes in government
  • Customer service and service delivery — Find out what you’re doing right, and wrong, and how you can improve your service to your clients
  • Marketing and communications — Inform your community about significant activities of your enterprise or related entities in close to real-time (Twitter) or through regular updates (Facebook, blogging)

Ensure that your plan covers the following topics.

  • Guiding principles— Lay out your target audiences, target outcomes, what you are offering, your key messages and success metrics. Example guiding principles:
    • Relationships sustain our community. Nurture them.
    • Action is more important than endless discussion
    • Our members are at the center of our community, and control its development
  • Channels— Determine how you’re going to use complementary on- and offline channels (print, TV, other social networks, ads, etc.) to let people know about and get them to contribute to your community. Examples of complementary channel use:
    • Include your social media presence in PSAs
    • Link your Facebook status to Twitter
    • Run a print promotion for a Facebook-based event
  • Activities— What kinds of actions can your community members take on your site and elsewhere? You’ll want to make these actions easy to find and easy to accomplish. Design your calls to action and the high-value interactions you are trying to encourage accordingly. Examples of activities:
    • Tell a friend
    • Like your Facebook page
    • Invite a friend to an event
  • Incentives— Consider offering prizes, points, rebates and other benefits to community members who visit, contribute, or help other members use the site. Examples of incentives:
    • Special achievement badges members can display on their blogs
    • Two-for-one admission to your next event
    • Enter those who comment in a prize drawing
  • Roles and responsibilities— Determine who is responsible for content creation, animation, promotion, outreach, tech support and other functions. Design the production and approval workflows. Ensure that all participants are well-informed about this process. Example roles and responsibilities:
    • Management funds the social media effort
    • The community manager manages social day-to-day activities
    • Outreach crafts the messages for distribution via social media
  • Messages— Well in advance of launch of your social media effort, draft all the on-site and e-mail messages you’re likely to need as you get started. Example messages:
    • Use AddThis[2] to add the ability for Website visitors to comment about you on social media
    • Embed YouTube videos on your Website and ask for comments
    • Include announcement of your social media effort in email newsletters
  • Timeline — Any well-run project needs a plan that specifies what gets done when. Be sure to include all activities, including a periodic evaluation of success metrics.
  • Do’s and don’ts— Create a style guide for your staff to use in order to present a consistent voice. Be sure to address at least the following:
    • How often will the content be updated and posted to social media sites?
    • What type of content will be posted (topics, categories)?
    • How and who will approve content?
    • How will the site look? How is your logo to be displayed? What is the color palette?
    • How will you ensure the site is usable? Accessible (Section 508 compliant)?
    • How will you launch? We recommend a gradual, soft launch so you have time to work out the kinks.
    • How will you collect and safeguard Personally Identifiable Information (PII)?[3]
    • Does the site have privacy and legal disclaimers? What kinds of content need legal review? What legal jurisdictions do you need to take into account?
    • Ages of community members? Do they need to be 18 or over? How do you filter out the kids?

Next up: Create Your Internal Social Media Policy


Elements of an Engagement Plan is the 23nd in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Media Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at http://bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

See the previous posts What is Social Media?Social Sites DefinedWhy Social Media? How is Social Media Relevant to Business? First Steps Toward a Social Media Strategy, and Decide What Your Business Will Do About Social Computing, pt. 1

 


[1] The concept of the wisdom of crowds (defined: bit.ly/a9cUC3) was articulated by James Surowiecki in his 2005 book, The Wisdom of Crowds (amzn.to/buJlFO). Further discussion of this intriguing concept is beyond the scope of this book.

[2] AddThis: bit.ly/d6oL2B

[3] Definition: bit.ly/aX2Swd


Engage Your Community

In the previous post, Reaching Out to Your Community, we examine how you can begin to reach out to the social media community you’ve identified in previous steps. Now let’s take a look at how you can engage that community.

Engage Your Community

“There is no demand for messages.”

Doc Searls, The Cluetrain Manifesto

Creating community is one of the hardest things to do, online or offline.

Yet online, communities can easily and spontaneously form, grow, age, and disappear in a matter of days. So forming communities is one of the easiest things to do online, right?

Confused as to what these opposing effects mean for your community? You’re not alone.

Despite what you’ll read online, and even in this book (see the section Building Your Community on page 385), there is no foolproof method for creating a community. There are some principles that seem to be tried and true, but the reality is the personalities who inhabit your community will have more effect on its viability and effectiveness than you will. Of course, you’re one (or more) of those personalities, and controlling your actions and activities is extremely important if you are going to have a chance of being successful.

This means think before you post.

We suggest you create a poster of the slogan below and distribute it to everyone in your organization.

Think Before You Post

Many people have alienated others online through ill-considered statements and toxic encounters. To avoid making a mistake, never say anything online you wouldn’t want

  • Your own family to see
  • To see on a billboard
  • To be published on the front page of the Wall Street Journal

You also need to consider the heft your enterprise may have. What you say matters when you are a “someone.” Your enterprise stands for something. Thus, people are likely to listen closely to what you say. Think before you Tweet/post — and think this: “If someone said this about me, would their organization or good name be harmed?”

Another thing to remember: Inauthenticity is the enemy of your social media effort. This means you need to truly understand the difference between using social media as just another one-way communication channel, and truly engaging your community.

One of the main techniques your community will hate is known as sock-puppetry: the disingenuous use of a real or fake user to parrot the enterprise’s party line — just like sticking your hand in a sock puppet and expecting to be immune to criticism.

We collect a rogue’s gallery of bad social media moves in our Social Media Hall of Shame at bit.ly/HallOfShame. It’s a good primer on what not to do with social media. As far as what you should do, first you should create an engagement plan.

Next up: Elements of an Engagement Plan


Engage Your Community is the 22nd in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Media Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at http://bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

See the previous posts What is Social Media?Social Sites DefinedWhy Social Media? How is Social Media Relevant to Business? First Steps Toward a Social Media Strategy, and Decide What Your Business Will Do About Social Computing, pt. 1

 


Reaching Out to Your Community

In the previous posts, we explained how to find where people are talking about you on social media using Google. This post takes a look at starting to reach out to your community.


Social Media Buzz

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Once you find your constituency online you need to determine how to reach them. Your objectives in this phase are to determine:

  • Networks your community is using
  • How engaged your community is on these networks
  • The conversations already happening about your organization or cause, and where they aren’t happening
  • Types of interactions your community is having within each network
  • What others in your field are doing online

Based on the research results, you can:

  • Measure the average frequency of relevant conversations
  • Identify the more active hubs and communities
  • Recognize the context of the conversations in order to determine time and variety of resources required

Once you’ve found where people are talking, you can determine the magnitude of the ongoing effort to monitor what they’re saying. In his free e-book, The Essential Guide to Social Media,[1] Social Media expert Brian Solis lays out a formula calculating the effort necessary to stay current with what’s going on the relevant communities and the pertinent conversations.

Now the following formula looks complex, but it’s actually quite simple, so bear with us.

Solis’ formula is:

Brian Solis' formula for calculating social media effort

And it is calculated this way:

  • The number of average relevant conversations per day per community — Cn
  • Multiplied by the quantity of relevant communities — Qc
  • Multiplied by 20 (minutes required to research and respond and also monitor for additional responses. You may increase or decrease this based on your experience.)
  • Divided by 60 (minutes)

The calculation results in t, the amount of time you’ll need to spend monitoring social media.

For example, let’s say your community produces 100 relevant conversations per day per community, and you need to track 10 communities. The formula is thus:

Solis formula result
Solis formula result

That means, in this example, your organization must spend five and a half hours per day monitoring your community. Obviously, your mileage may vary, but this simple calculation indicates that to really get a pulse on your community requires a not-insignificant amount of time.

Next up: Engage Your Community


Reaching Out to Your Community is the 21st in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Media Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at http://bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

See the previous posts What is Social Media?Social Sites DefinedWhy Social Media? How is Social Media Relevant to Business? First Steps Toward a Social Media Strategy, and Decide What Your Business Will Do About Social Computing, pt. 1

 


[1] Brian Solis’ free e-book: scr.bi/uzYfb

How Social Search Works

How Social Search Works

In the previous post, Advanced Google Searching For Social Media, we got a little deeper into finding where people are talking about you on social media using Google. This post delves even deeper into the subject.


JObs Commandments

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For social search to work, Google first has to know who you are. If you’ve logged in to any of Google’s services — from Gmail to AdWords — or created a Google Profile,[1] or joined Google+, Google knows who you are. Think about that for a moment.

OK, if it didn’t creep you out, you’re probably a GenY’er[2] <smile>.

So they know who you are. They can then connect up with all your Google accounts to find your friends. Of course, your Gmail address book is a primary source of information about who your friends are. Here are the areas from which Google says[3] it gathers information about your social circle:

  • People in your Gmail (or Google Talk) chat list
  • People in your Friends, Family, and Coworkers groups in your Google contacts
  • People you’re publicly connected to through social sites, such as Twitter and FriendFeed that appear on your Google profile or in your public Google Buzz stream.
  • People you’re following in Google Reader and Google Buzz
  • People who are connections of those in your immediate, public social circle. This means that if you have a friend on Twitter, and he follows five people, those additional five people may also be included in your social circle.

Google uses your social circle to give you social search results from:

  • Websites, blogs, public profiles, and other content linked from your friends’ Google profiles
  • Web content, such as status updates, tweets, and reviews, from links that appear in the Google profiles of your friends and contacts.
  • Images posted publicly from members of your social circle on Picasa Web and from Websites that appear on their Google profiles
  • Relevant articles from your Google Reader subscriptions

If you want to see more such results from people in your social circle, click More Search Tools on the left panel of the search results page and select Social to filter your results.

Here’s what Google says about the privacy (!) of the information they use:

  • Public: Public social connections that appear on your Google Profile are visible to your friends and the Internet at large. Because all of these connections are public on the web, your connection to some of these people may be included in another person’s social circle when appropriate. For example, if you follow Bob on Twitter, a friend of Bob’s may see you in his social circle.
  • Private: Private social connections like your Google chat list and Google contacts are not shared by Google. If you and Adam are chat buddies, we won’t use that connection to expand anyone else’s social circle. You cannot see Adam’s other chat buddies or Google contacts, and he can’t see yours. However, if you are connected to some of Adam’s other chat buddies through other public networks, they may still appear in your social circle.

Google used to have a way to see your social circle in a beta test mode, but as of this writing they appear­ed to have pulled it, possibly in preparation for releasing Google+, their own social net­work.

Depending on whom your friends are, you might find the social search content interesting, inspiring, or insipid. Google has a nice introduction to social search on YouTube[4] that can help you better understand how it works, but the company is relatively mum about its further plans for the feature.

If you want to use Google social search to help market your organization, Debra Murphy[5] has a good blog post on the subject that we adapt below. It suggests you:

  • Create a quality Google Profile and include all your important links
  • Stop worrying about personal vs. professional connections being mixed together. Connecting with your customers and clients is critical.
  • Don’t fall for SEO companies claiming they will get you first page results — the game has changed and first page search results will be different based on who you are, where you are and who you are connected with

Take a look at Debra’s last point above. Your best approach online, whether you believe all this social media stuff or not, is to ensure that who you are, where you are, and who you connect to reflect your online goals, because search is going social, whether you like it or not.

If you have a large online social circle and you post content relevant to your organization and cause, you are almost guaranteeing that anyone in your circle who searches for relevant terms will see your information on the first page of search results. Organizations pay hundreds to hundreds of thousands of dollars per month to get on the first page, so having a large, relevant social circle can create essentially free targeted advertising.

If Google’s hypothesis is correct — that people will trust content from people in their social circles more than they trust random search results — social search will be even more effective than traditional targeted ads or SEO techniques.

Think about that for a minute. At least in these early days, you can beat the large brands with huge marketing budgets just by tending to your community. The next section talks about reaching out and connecting with that community.

Next up: Reaching Out to Your Community


Advanced Google Searching for Social Media is the 20th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Media Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, for the impatient the book is available in paper form at http://bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

See the previous posts What is Social Media?Social Sites DefinedWhy Social Media? How is Social Media Relevant to Business? First Steps Toward a Social Media Strategy, and Decide What Your Business Will Do About Social Computing, pt. 1

 


[1] Create your Google Profile here: bit.ly/bgn3s2

[2] GenY defined: bit.ly/bfh9bz

[3] Google’s social search page: bit.ly/anrcsb

[4] Google’s YouTube video about social search: bit.ly/aeLBCl

[5] Debra Murphy is a marketing coach: bit.ly/catyrM

Advanced Google Searching for Social Media

In the previous post, Find Your Community, we got an intro to finding where people are talking about you on social media using Google. This post delves a bit deeper into the subject.

No matter what you’re searching for, you should be sure to check out Google’s More button. It offers a wealth of ways to specialize your search, including searching for:

  •  Maps
  •  News
  •  Shopping
  •  Books
  •  Blogs
  •  Updates
  •  Discussions

Clicking “Show search tools” offers you ways to restrict your search by time and type:

  • Any time
  • All results
  • Standard results
  • Latest
  • Social
  • Sites with images
  • Past 24 hours
  • Nearby
  • Fewer shopping sites
  • Past week
  • Standard view
  • More shopping sites
  • Past month
  • Related searches
  • Page previews
  • Past year
  • Wonder wheel
  • Translated search
  • Custom range…
  • Timeline

Wow! Be sure to check out the additional search types; they’re pretty interesting. Here’s a result for our “small business accounting software” search as a timeline. It would be great if you’re doing a history of the subject.

Google accounting search timeline

Google accounting search timeline

Figure 8 — Google Timeline Search Example

As interesting as these options are, the one we really want to concentrate on is a relatively new one: Google’s Social Search.

If you’re active in social networking, you may have noticed that you often see little notices below the search results, like in the following figure. You can make this explicit by selecting “Social “by dropping down the “More” in the left column of Google search results. This causes Google to present results based on what those in your social network have tagged or otherwise recommended.

Google social search

Google social search example

The concept that seeing results from people you know is going to be more interesting and relevant to you is called social search. Knowing that people in our social network have written or tagged related articles might make us more likely to click on these results. And any traffic generated to their sites was not so much due to any SEO techniques discussed in the previous section, but to their connection to us.

Next up: How Social Search Works


Advanced Google Searching for Social Media is the 19th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Media Operating Manual for Enterprises. The book (itself part of a series for different audiences), is available in paper form at http://bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

See the previous posts What is Social Media?Social Sites DefinedWhy Social Media? How is Social Media Relevant to Business? First Steps Toward a Social Media Strategy, and Decide What Your Business Will Do About Social Computing, pt. 1

 

Find Your Community

Find Your Community

“Social media is no more than an extension of what we do naturally.”

MC Hammer, formerly-famous rapper
and creator of DanceJam, a social network for music/dance
with more than 100,000 visitors

Google is your friend. Using Google you can find your community, if you do a little thinking about the keywords that community members are likely to use.

For example, if your product category is small business accounting software, Google that term.[1] Currently, that search, without quotes, yields more than 12 million results. OK, that’s a bit hard to put your arms around. If you try the term as a phrase, by surrounding it with quotes, you get under 800,000 results.[2] That may seem a bit more manageable, but it still may not give the results you can use to locate places where your community is talking.

Incidentally, you’ll notice when you type a search string into Google, a little window drops down from the entry area with suggestions for similar searches and Google instantly shows you results based on what it thinks you’re looking for. You also may notice that after you do a search, little ads — call AdWords — appear on the right side of the search results. Refer to the next figure to see what we mean.

Google search accounting software

Figure 6 — Google Query with AdWords Sidebar — Example

You may find interesting search suggestions when Google offers them. If not, be sure to take a look at the AdWords on the right side. These organizations might be worth investigating, as they may share your cause, and could be good partners, or at least visiting their sites may give you ideas for how to find your community online.

Be aware that each time you click on an AdWord, somebody pays Google some money, from cents to dozens of dollars. If that bothers you, you can copy the Web address from the AdWord into your browser’s address bar and visit the site for free.

Back to our example. What you really want to do is to find people talking about small business accounting software on social media sites. So one thing you can do is to restrict your search to social media sites. This tip works with any type of site. Simply append a qualifier similar to the following to tell Google to only search a certain site:

site:facebook.com

Substitute any site after the colon and Google will only search the information it has indexed from that site.

Adding site:facebook.com to the Google query we’re working on produces 3,800 results. OK, now we’re getting somewhere. Here’s what we got when we ran that search:

Google accounting search facebook

Figure 7 — Restricting a Google Search to Facebook Only

From these results we can see that people are indeed talking about small business accounting software on Facebook. Following the various links yields a group entitled “DIY Tax Accounting Software group,” with more than a hundred members. If you’re make small business accounting software, you’ve just found a potential place to engage with your community.

You can repeat this exercise with other social media sites. Doing it with LinkedIn yields 206 people you’d probably like to know. Doing it with Twitter yields dozens of posts. Doing it with YouTube pro­duces more than 575 links to videos.

You get the picture. Google is your friend, and using the site qualifier — and other advanced features available either by clicking Advanced Search up at the top of the page or clicking More on the left-hand column — you can tailor a search to find where your community is talking.

Next up: Advanced Google Searching For Social Media


Find Your Community is the 18th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Media Operating Manual for Enterprises. The book (itself part of a series for different audiences), is available in paper form at http://bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

See the previous posts What is Social Media?Social Sites DefinedWhy Social Media? How is Social Media Relevant to Business? First Steps Toward a Social Media Strategy, and Decide What Your Business Will Do About Social Computing, pt. 1

 


[1] Google search for small business accounting software, with no quotes: bit.ly/poUVZM

[2] Google search for small business accounting software, with quotes: bit.ly/ocs9Sf

CIOs: The Social Call Center

Part 11 of our series, What CIOs Need to Know About Social Media. A post on Mashable from a year and a half ago is still relevant to enterprise CIOs grappling with the impact of social media on the enterprise. In the post, Lon S. Cohen lists seven things CIOs should be considering. We’re taking a closer look at each of the item in Cohen’s framework. In this post, we take a look at Cohen’s fifth point, Impact On Operating Environment.

Creating the Social Call Center

You can create a social-media-enabled call center from your existing customer and internal call response capabilities via a combination of tweaks, training, and new capabilities. You definitely don’t need to stop what you’re currently doing, blow up your current call centers and start over.

Typical call center


Attribution

Why should you get involved in social media monitoring and response? Market Force Information, a customer intelligence firm, says these functions are becoming ever more critical for enterprises, “Because the impact of negative customer experiences has never been greater for brands. With the ability to instantly broadcast their frustrations, consumers can turn a single adverse instance into a PR nightmare. Estimates show that defecting customers will typically share their negative experiences with eight to 10 people, and one in five will tell 20 people. Yet, a well-handled response can actually increase loyalty.”[1]

Before you do the social call center makeover, however, you should have a strategy. Ideally, your social media call center strategy will flow from an overall organizational social media strategy. (We talk about creating an enterprise social media strategy in a series of posts from our Be a Person: The Enterprise Social Operating Manual, beginning with Create Social Computing Strategies.)

Once your strategy, objectives, and tactics are in place, your social media makeover effort should involve at least the following points:

  • Call center operators should use their own names. It is social networking, after all. Operators may not want to use their full names, however, and if this is the case, adopting a name convention using first name and last initial should suffice. But strongly consider having agents respond as themselves, including information about their social media participation. Our mantra, Be a Person, implies using the people in your organization as the face of your enterprise. Whether you look at it this way or not, your call center associates are the face of your enterprise to their callers, and the front line of humanizing your organization. Allow them the freedom to be themselves rather than adhering strictly to scripts. This may be the biggest transformation you need to undertake in your social media makeover.
  • Ensure that social media interactions are made a part of callers’ customer history. In fact, if you are in the market for a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, ability to track social media should be an important vendor selection criterion.
  • Call center agents should have access to a complete customer profile before responding. Depending on the volume of call center social responses, you may want them to create a new profile for every interaction.
  • Decide if call center agents are responsible for social media monitoring. Tracking what is said on social media is a crucial part of any enterprise’s social media practice. If your center is responsible for this activity, your operators will be monitoring customer-to-customer conversations on a variety of platforms. You’ll probably want to track which comments and content come from which sites and harvest profile information from the person’s profile on the sites in question. There are plenty of third-party applications that can help with this. Your biggest concerns will be how to integrate this monitoring into your CRM and call center operations, and how to report it out to the relevant areas of your enterprise.
  • Ensure that all agents are properly trained on social media. This may seem like a no-brainer, but if your operators aren’t well-versed in the capabilities and differences in the way they engage with different social networking sites, you run the risk of making it into our Social Media Hall of Shame. At the very least, agents must understand when their interactions on social media are public, and when they are private (for example, direct messaging on Twitter versus simply responding).
  • Set clear guidelines on selling. If sales and promotion are among the responsibilities of your call center, you need to be very careful in how this is done on social media. You’ll find that users of social media are generally fine with being pitched as long as it’s in the context of a conversation or a relationship. If the conversation is initiated by the social media user and concerns products or services, you’ll create one guideline. If the contact is initiated by your call center, you should have another. In general, if your agents are helpful, provide useful content, and aren’t obnoxious about selling, you’ll be more successful. Remember that social media is a powerful sales medium, but the most successful technique for sales is through recommendations by friends, not via push messages.
  • Provide a process flow for responses. We like the Air Force response decision tree that we mentioned in the previous post, Use Social Media to Manage Corporate Reputation. In general, agents should be trained and consistently reminded of your processes for dealing with negatives. As Meg Gerritsen Knodl said at a recent Social Media Breakfast, “There is a point where the conversation is over, and you don’t need to respond”

So far we’ve been focusing on the work you need to do to transform your call center and some of the risks involved. Next we’ll take a look at the benefits

Up next: Benefits of the Social Call Center.


For soup-to-nuts, strategy to execution processes, procedures and how-to advice, see our book, Be a Person: the Social Media Operating Manual for Enterprises. The book (itself part of a series for different audiences), is available in paper form at http://bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson Save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV


[1] Market Force bit.ly/rFwUq4

CIOs: Social Media’s Impact on Operating Environment

CIOs: Social Media’s Impact on Operating Environment

Part 10 of our series, What CIOs Need to Know About Social Media. A post on Mashable from a year and a half ago is still relevant to enterprise CIOs grappling with the impact of social media on the enterprise. In the post, Lon S. Cohen lists seven things CIOs should be considering. We’re taking a closer look at each of the item in Cohen’s framework. In this post, we take a look at Cohen’s fifth point, Impact On Operating Environment.

  • Web 2.0 Content and Presentation Standards
  • Review and Approval Processes
  • Managing Corporate Reputation
  • Versions and Update Controls
  • Impact On Operating Environment
  • Establishing Project Priority
  • Compliance

Social Media and Operations

The first thing the average CIO might think about when considering the effect of social media on operations is server and bandwidth load. These are important, for sure, but we’ll get to them in a subsequent post because we think the first impact to be concerned about is your contact centers, whether they be internal help desks or inbound customer service centers.

Outside the box, inside a cube


AttributionShare Alike

You should be concerned about social media in these areas not so much because social media represents a new drain on resources, but because this new communications modality can help your efforts in a variety of ways.

Chances are, as a CIO one of your frequent headaches is maintaining an internal or external contact center. Keeping everyone up to speed on the latest changes in your products or the most effective workarounds for problems with legacy products can be a real pain. Plus, there’s no real way to know exactly what kind of inbound traffic your staff will face from day to day. Add to this the fact that many times, callers are irate and abusive, and the call center can be a pain center for CIOs and their staffs.

Broadly speaking, your inbound call center is in the reputation management business. Public perception of your brand and your organization can depend on how well your call center takes care of customers. By the same token, how well you take care of internal customers who call your help desk can affect the reputation of your organization, which can, of course, affect future funding. Finally, as a CIO you may find that your marketing and communications organizations have dumped responsibility for new concepts such as social media monitoring, sentiment tracking, and interacting on the company’s behalf on social networks on your organization.

All is not lost.

You don’t need to fear these broadenings of your contact center’s responsibilities because with a plan and a few of the right tools, you may find that social media can make all of your contact duties easier, despite the apparent increase in workload these new responsibilities may represent.

As it turns out, contact centers are an ideal place for your organization to centralize its social media response because the kinds of competencies required dovetail nicely with the traditional capabilities of the contact center.

While it’s true that other areas of the enterprise – product marketing, sales, communications and the C-suite – must provide information and guidance on social media to the call center, your call center systems – call tracking, bug tracking, CRM – and the training of your call center staff – good customer relationship practices – are exactly what your company requires to create social media success.

We’ll take a look in detail at how you can use social media to transform your contact centers into more-efficient, more-aware, and more-effective ambassadors for your company in the next post.

Up next: The Social Call Center.


For soup-to-nuts, strategy to execution processes, procedures and how-to advice, see our book, Be a Person: the Social Media Operating Manual for Enterprises. The book (itself part of a series for different audiences), is available in paper form at http://bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson Save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV