Saturday, February 27, 2010

Social media is more than public relations and marketing efforts

When companies are considering adopting social media, they often turn toward their Public Relations and Marketing departments to investigate, develop a social media strategy, and implement social media within their companies.

If organizations think of social media as another outlet for the company and involve only those who market the company, then these companies are missing out on many benefits of social online environments, such as:

  • Integration of functions.
  • Elimination of organization silos.
  • Personal and organizational learning from outside the organization and from within the organization.
  • Driving innovations through internal and external collaborations.
  • Educating clients, potential clients, and communities about products, processes, services, and technical knowledge.
  • Having staff (not in PR and Marketing) who are passionate about what they do and what they love about the organization tell their story.
  • Utilizing small circles of influence to spread knowledge of the organization, its products, its services, its goodwill, its values, and its purpose.
  • Learning of problems that the organization may have solutions for.
  • Learning of problems that the organization may develop solutions for.
  • Connecting problem solvers with those people in and out of the organization who are having problems relating to the organization’s services, products, and processes.
  • Connecting with potential clients who are unaware that the organization may have solutions for their problems.
  • Maintaining and building credibility and understanding among staff who don’t see each other often, but work in similar work areas or serve in different places in the work flow. 
  • Building a collective organizational reputation based on the online professional reputation of employees throughout the organization.
  • Maximizing the benefits of workstreamining and freeranging.
  • Having fun within the routine of daily work.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What are those @ signs and websites in your Facebook page?

A friend from college asked the following question in Facebook email.

“Hi Anne, It's good to see you on Facebook. I am somewhat new to this. I look forward to checking out your profile. I must admit your status updates are interesting- although I cannot figure them out. Is is some kind of work code or just lots of acronyms. Why all the @ signs and websites? Hope all is well!”

My answer is:

I have been using Twitter, Facebook, etc. and been blogging since early 2007. Though there is some obvious separation, I find that intermingling my work and personal life works well for me.

My Twitter messages are automatically sent to Facebook.

The @ signs indicate that I am replying or referring to other messages in Twitter.

RT stands for Retweet. Someone in Twitter sent a message. I retweet it which means I am forwarding to my friends on Twitter because I think it might be of interest to them.

The web links are usually small urls (I use because web site addresses are often much too long to include in the Twitter 140- character limit. The small urls are very helpful, not only in Twitter, but also in email messages.

I have to admit that I struggle with the decision to limit Twitter messages that I send to Facebook because I know it is overwhelming to friends, like you. My kids, and some friends, tell me that they often don’t understand most of my messages. Part of the reason is that they do not use Twitter or they are not part of my work communities: higher education, research, Cooperative Extension, distance education, agriculture, family living education, open source, or social media. I am trying to decide to limit the Twitter messages to Facebook. 

My land-grant university colleagues are just as likely to read and use Twitter messages in Facebook as they are in Twitter.

In Facebook, you will also see my bookmarked websites (, my presentations ( and photos (

Not all my Twitter messages are strictly work related. For instance, occasionally, I will share Auburn University good news, kids’ stuff, or something fun.

I hope this explains some of my Facebook news feeds. If you find them overwhelming, you can hide my newsfeeds in Facebook, but still keep me as your friend. But, of course, I would rather you did not. Tags: ,,

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Social media policies: not developed, yet

Today, lots of people are tweeting that only 29% of businesses have social media policy, according to a report from employment services firm Manpower. Here are my thoughts on the report.

  • I am not surprised about the percentage. In fact, I think it is a little high.
  • Before companies should develop a social media policy, they should know what their goals are in using social media. How can a company create new policies using new media when the company does not understand the media and the implications using these new technologies.
  • Some companies are struggling with using social media because the use of social media conflicts with their existing policies (i.e. only the public relations department is the only ones who can make announcements and speak publically for the company). These companies should examine existing policies before considering new social media policies.
  • Companies should decide if a policy is needed.
  • Companies may want to look at how much faith they have in their own employees and consider the Five reasons they don’t need a policy.
  • From the same Michael Hyatt article, are there any companies brave enough to create their policy like this one? If so, those companies have complete faith in their employees to do the right thing. Of course, the smaller companies may be able to use this policy more so than larger companies.

“Use whatever social media you want. Feel free to use it on company time. Just use common sense and remember that if you publicly identify yourself with the company’s brand then act in a manner consistent with that brand. It’s in all of our best interests to do so.”

Now, is the time, though, to consider:

  • goals of using social media.
  • how social media fits and can be used to convey the company’s values.
  • how the company will use social media.
  • how social media fits into the company’s core businesses.
  • existing policies and practices that conflict with social media.
  • developing any new policies to address social media use. Tags: ,,