Employers Thoughts on Social Media: A Love-Hate Relationship?

12 06 2012

It is no secret that the love for social media is growing. Market studies show that many subjects in Generation Y prefer access to smartphones and social networks compared to a higher salary. As a part of this demographic, I am one in the minority that would have to disagree and take the cash, but to each his (or her) own.

When I initially brought my agency into the realm of social media, I expected our dedicated employee base to be our first source of support. However, I noticed some initial distrust due to privacy concerns which caused me to question the possible uses of social media in human resources. This prompted me to do some research and eventually draft social media usage guidelines for employees, which will be added into the Employee Handbook.

Check out this useful info-graphic that I came across on Mashable.com. It explores the general feeling amongst businesses concerning social media use and actions being taken to gain some control in the workplace.

What are your feelings towards social media for personal and/or corporate use? Do you love it? Hate it? Is it a necessary evil?

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Source (http://on.mash.to/KeqAQd)

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Monitor, Measure, Succeed!

28 11 2011

In all areas of life, success is attained by setting measurable goals and tracking the progress of those goals. Thinking big is an admirable trait, but without a plan you risk developing a reputation of being a dreamer. In other words, goals can be useless if the strategies used to achieve them are not thoughtfully calculated for a seamless execution.

This gem of wisdom reminds me of when people say that the sky is the limit. In high school, I had a goal to move to the other side of the country after getting my college degree. Not a soul took me seriously until a few months ago when I received a notification that I had been approved for an apartment in none other than Southern California. The point here is that any goal, no matter how outlandish it may seem, can be achieved with strategic planning. The key is to monitor, measure, and draw meaningful conclusions.

Let us now generalize this thought process to something relevant – like using social media platforms as marketing tools! The predominant reason for using social media for marketing  is to help an organization reach the goals set forth in their mission. To do this you must provide meaningful content, monitor and gauge your influence, and manage your time effectively since social media networks (i.e., Facebook) can be productivity killers.

You can spend your life’s savings on software, or you can make use of a few inexpensive web-based tools to monitor progress and growth. I will briefly examine three cost-effective resources that I hope will be helpful to fellow internet marketers. Feel free to share your comments and experiences.

Hootsuite: I personally use Hootsuite, and it gets the job done. It is free of charge for up to 5 social media accounts, and only $5.99 a month for an advanced subscription. Best features include an extensive list of supported networks, data processing and collection, 30 customizable report modules, and scheduling capabilities. With Hoosuite, you’ll never miss a beat!

SproutSocial: Easy to use interface, eye-catching custom reports, ability to schedule messages and promotion alerts, etc. SproutSocial is reasonably priced at $9 a month. If you work for a non-profit, email support@sproutsocial.com and ask for a 50% discount. What have you got to lose? The only downside to SproutSocial is that you must have a Twitter account to begin. So if you don’t plan to include a Twitter account into your social media mix, this dashboard is not for you.

MarketMeSuite: The new kid on the block. With the same general idea as the other two websites, MarketMeSuite boasts that it has been shown to improve engagement. Features include the ability to schedule updates and a location tool to help connect with people in a specific area. The location feature is a definite advantage. What I do not like about MarketMeSuite is that you must download the software onto your desktop as opposed to being able to use it on the website. However, the great price of FREE may make me conveniently forget about this minor hassle.

Overall, the ingredients for social media marketing success are thoughtful planning, execution, and measurement. We can only correct ourselves once we pinpoint what we have been doing wrong. Use which ever method works best for you,  but do it right or risk looking like a social media fool.





Tell your story through pictures

21 11 2011

A picture is worth a thousand words. Photographs are engaging, thought-provoking, and descriptive. At times, companion photographs are the determining factor for whether or not I will read the newspaper. To get to the point, pictures are an integral part of social media marketing. Social networks geared toward photo-sharing (like Flickr) are increasingly being utilized by non-profits. Pictures have the power to engage an audience and to describe what words cannot.

Flickr allows users to organize their photos into galleries, create captions, and view other photographs. A great example of an organization that has used Flickr is the American Red Cross. After Hurricane Katrina, the Red Cross created a Flickr account for volunteers and community members to showcase photographs of their experiences.  The Flickr account assisted the Red Cross in raising awareness and recruiting help, while directing traffic to their website and other social networks.

There are two reasons why I think this approach was so effective for the Red Cross. First, the community effort of gathering content helped to strengthen bonds between all contributors passionate about the cause. Secondly, such pictures are more emotionally-charged than words. An outsider with no knowledge of the Red Cross may be more motivated to act after seeing a devastating picture. Empathy is a strong emotion that can be strategically evoked.

In summary, what can you learn from the example provided by the Red Cross? I learned that Flickr is a great tool to add to the social media strategy because it can increase visibility and encourage traffic between social media channels. Time invested on social media should not be predominantly focused on Flickr (in my opinion) but it is a neat alternative that may as well be added to the mix. Do it right, and your picture may just be worth 1,000 likes (or re-tweets).

Check out the American Red Cross’s Photostream on Flickr for ideas and inspiration.





Is social media a useful tool for affordable housing corporations?

15 11 2011

I came across this concern in an affordable housing forum on LinkedIn. The user who posed the question was concerned about the effectiveness of  social media in the marketing mix for such corporations since the target market served is likely facing economic hardships. Although this concern is legitimate, considering the time that must be dedicated to creating content and maintaining a social presence, I strongly support using social media for any company. Why?

First off, although it is sometimes referred to as social media MARKETING, this does not necessarily mean that a product is put on the market to be sold. Remember cause marketing? How about WOM marketing? These things are effective but have been brushed off in favor of a pull method of marketing. In other words, I (the company) tell you what I want you to hear and give you the informative materials that I want you to look at. In this scenario, there are few chances for the customer to communicate with the company. Social media is changing this, so don’t be a control freak or you will be left behind!

But also don’t be afraid of the two-way conversation. Maybe there will be some bad publicity and angry customers but it’s not the end of the world. I actually perceive these challenges to be constructive criticism and a wonderful opportunity to improve your company, as well as gain additional support. Sometimes transparency can be a good thing.

Next, imagine all of the other things that a social media presence can make possible for your business aside from directly marketing affordable housing units or whatever else is fitting. Among these are promoting events, connecting with partners, gaining supporters, educating users about the realities of affordable housing, raising funds, and the list goes on.

The bottom line is that social media is taking over our lives! I am joking. Kind of. But the take away message is that I suggest you engage in social media for your business regardless of what field you may be in – it is the 21st century.

Any suggestions or alternate points of view on this subject?





Google+: the new Facebook?

10 11 2011

Yesterday, I was caught off guard when a co-worker asked me about Google+. I am usually on top of new and emerging trends in social media, but this network seemed to have passed me by. I told her what I did know – that Google+ was similar to Facebook©, and that it was publicly bashed by Mark Zuckerberg during an interview with Charlie Rose. My explanation was far from informative and as the founder of Facebook©, Zuckerberg’s opinion is most likely biased. So I did some research about this brand new social network to form a personal opinion instead of simply adopting the views of my man Mark. Maybe one day I will get over this love affair…

Anyways, Google+ is a young social networking platform that has only been in existence since this past June. From my research, I came across some great features that may prove to have a competitive advantage over Facebook©.

  1. Circles: Google+ allows you to segment your connections into different groups; for example, friends, family, co-workers, and so on. This means that when you post, you have complete control over which circles see your update on their streams. This is good news for those with nosy co-workers!
  2. Hangouts: This feature is my favorite! One user enters a “hangout” and an alert is sent to inform their social circles that they are “hanging out”. In these hangout sessions, up to ten people can video chat in real time free of charge – unlike Skype, which charges a fee for multiple users
  3. Media: Google+ features a specific section for viewing, editing, and managing media. There is also an image editor that allows you to add photo effects right on the platform. For an Instagram© enthusiast like myself, this was music to my ears!

To tie this all together, I am unsure who will be victorious. Google+ has some great new features but Facebook© is known for how quickly it changes to stay up to date with current trends in technology. I am also pretty sure that the folks at Facebook© are putting their heads together to duplicate and improve the innovative features offered by Google+ as I write this post. I can barely wait to see how this one will pan out!

I made an account to learn more, and I urge you to do the same here

Feel free to share your two cents about Facebook vs. Google+ !





To Tweet or Not Too Tweet?

8 11 2011

Recently, I have been playing around with Twitter to get an understanding about how it may help communications at CEDC. I find that Twitter is a great tool to gather tons of information about companies or individuals that personally interest you. However, to reap the informational benefits of Twitter you must choose who you follow wisely or your feed will be filled with some pretty useless things – unless you are into that. I personally don’t care if someone just drank a latte.

With my personal account, I follow corporations, non-profits, inspirational leaders, sports teams, and few close latte-drinking friends (just to be nice, not because I care). Twitter is now one of the main ways I stay up to date with news from companies I love because I am able to follow whatever or whomever I chose. Definitely beats watching the news for an hour to discover that the only information valuable to you was covered in approximately 3 minutes.

With that being said, I think that Twitter is a VERY important marketing tool to spread the word about a cause or company! Here is a link to a Twitter Business Guide posted on Scott Monty’s Social Media Marketing Blog. Monty (who I follow on Twitter) is the head of social media at Ford Motor Company and a huge inspiration.

Twitter Business Guide

Just another tool in the marketing and communications toolbox!

@amandawh0o





Collecting Cash on the Web with WePay.com

2 11 2011

Online shopping is nothing new. People have enjoyed the convenience of completing their Holiday shopping without having to leave their home for quite some time now. The trend is also common in small companies and individuals, as seen in personal selling on Ebay and online donation collections for non-profit organizations.

Typically, I have used PayPal to complete these tasks in the past. PayPal requires a host site and collects $0.30 and 2.9% of each donation or sale. WePay.com is a site that I came across that is affordable and convenient to use for collecting cash. WePay charges a flat rate of 3.5% per donation or sale and it allows you to do all of your collecting without needing a host site!

I thought that this was a great find, and worthy of sharing!

check it out at WePay.com !








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