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Posts Tagged ‘Social Media Policy’

The Social Olympics Challenge


Social media has changed the way we live, and true to form, stands to change the way we experience the Olympics. For many athletes, especially those in sports that don’t tend to get a lot of traditional media coverage, the Olympics are their once-every-four-years chance to connect with the world in a way that can help them earn a living for many years to come. Because of its ability to help people connect on a more personal level, social media will certainly be a huge part of most Olympians’ Summer Games experience.

Of course, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is dealing with many of the same challenges that everday companies face when it comes to dealing with the use of social media. They need to provide guidelines that will help the athletes make good decisions, decide what to do when they don’t, and preserve their relationships with the high-paying media outlets that cover the games. It doesn’t always work. Several athletes have already come under scrutiny for their use of social media, most notably a Greek triple jumper who was expelled from the games for posting a racist tweet. Maybe that’s because having rules, and the IOC does, doesn’t prevent people from saying or doing stupid things. Experience does. And so does guidance. It’s important to remember that most athletes are young, and young people don’t always think things through all the way to their logical conclusion. Many businesses face this same problem when turning their social media accounts over to their youngest staff member because they know the platforms so well. But they fail to provide them with guidance, which puts the company at risk.

Maybe in addition to providing rules about how athletes should tweet, the IOC should include statements reminding athletes to think about their overall goals. Any good marketing plan is tied to goals and if anyone on earth knows about setting goals, these athletes do. My guess is that if more people (not just athletes) asked themselves if what they are posting fits into their plan for their life and their career, there would be a lot fewer people tripping over their words and landing virtual face plants.

Wondering how to deal with this challenge in your company? Check out two documents we created to help: the Social Media Guidelines or Policy Template and the Reacting to Social Media Flowchart. Both can be found here.

Christina Steder is the President of Clear Verve Marketing and works with clients to plan, create and execute marketing campaigns. Follow her on Twitter as @clearverve.

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Marketing an Immersive Experience
Social Media Policy Simplified

Social media policy simplified

Tuesday, December 27, 2011 — 


We know from our own research and from widely-available online statistics that 90 percent of nonprofits and 81 percent of small businesses are using social media to reach their audiences. We also know that one of the main reasons cited by businesses who have abandoned their social media strategy is that it was too difficult to maintain the sites.

However, with 80 percent of all Americans using a social network, social media must be part of every business’ marketing strategy. One of the best ways to ensure a successful social media strategy is to have a social media policy. This will enable your company to enlist the efforts of multiple employees (or volunteers, in the case of a nonprofit) to get the work done. While we believe our template is a great start, we are often asked more detailed questions about legal issues we have a difficult time answering.

That’s why I was so excited to find this online interview on LexBlog. While it won’t answer all your legal questions, it’s a good start from a reputable source. I hope you’ll take a few minutes (well, eight actually) to watch and learn.

A new social media planning tool


I recently spoke at an event for the Business Journal of Greater Milwaukee.  The event, called Social Media for Nonprofits, featured Wayne Breitbarth, LinkedIn expert, and me; and although it was targeted at the nonprofit community in Milwaukee, much of what we spoke about can be useful to for-profit businesses.

My presentation focused on the results of our recent Social Media Survey of Nonprofits ( get the results here) , specifically what nonprofits value about social media, and the challenges nonprofits face in implementing social media tools for their organizations. Because the Business Journal was kind enough to ask me to speak at this event, I wanted to be sure to deliver some high quality content for them. The result of my prep for this event is a new tool we hope you’ll find useful in planning your social media strategy. We call it the Ongoing Social Media Strategy Wheel.

One of the biggest challenges faced by nonprofit is getting others involved in the effort, either from a participation standpoint or from an implementation standpoint. This is partially because most nonprofits (64%) do not have a social media policy guiding the people charged with implementing social media. If your organization doesn’t have a social media policy, be sure to download our template so you can fix this!  A social media policy can help make it “safe” to build a team of people to get the work done, rather than relying on a single person (who often has other work to do).

The other challenge is finding time to plan a strategy. Although most of us would never think of spending advertising dollars without a plan or hiring a receptionist and not training that person on how to answer the phone, many people don’t think anything of just jumping into social media without a plan of action.  We hope our new document, the Ongoing Social Media Strategy Wheel, helps address the planning issue. When we created it, we wanted to be sure we recognized the following things:

  • Most organizations are already using social media in some way. It would be stupid for me to lead you through the perfect planning process for people that are not yet involved in social media. That process won’t work if you’re already participating because you can’t stop and undo what you’ve already done just to make a plan.
  • Planning is not a one time activity. You have to constantly reassess where you are at, look for new ideas, and pay attention to what is going on in the world.
  • The world doesn’t stop while you plan. You can’t take a vacation from interacting with your social media contacts while you think. You have to think and act at the same time.

The ongoing social media strategy wheel attempts to show this by using continuous circles. The inner circle illustrates the planning and reflection activities that most people forget. These activities are conducted internally and aren’t seen by the public, but they are very important because performing these activities will increase the effectiveness of the woare the public sees. The outer circle illustrates the activities that most people see. Both wheels are rotating constantly and at the same time.

We hope that this new document will help you continuously refine your communications on social media.

If you want to see the rest of the presentation from the Social Media for Nonprofits event (the ideas work for for-profits too), you can view it here:

Social Media for Nonprofits

Christina Steder is the President of Clear Verve Marketing and works with clients to plan, create and execute marketing campaigns. Follow her on Twitter as @clearverve

Welcome Aboard! Your Social Media Cruise Awaits…


Despite the fact that social media is meant to bring people together we tend to figure it out on our own. There are social (media) cues, of course, but we are each in our own path, deciding what we are comfortable putting out there for all to see on a personal level. And it’s all optional. So Joe Shmoe over there could be invested and involved in Twitter and Facebook and Joanna Shmoanna might be more into Facebook, LinkedIn and Foursquare. One probably uses Hootsuite and one might use Tweetdeck. Or neither. It all depends on personal preference and your networks. The point is there is no right way in the world of social media.

Whew, long intro. But I wanted to make a point: by the time we get into a professional setting, we know our own rules and we like them. We also know that work rules are different, but we are not completely sure how. And even leaders don’t know much more than “don’t make the company look bad” and “it is/isn’t allowed during work hours.”

Okay, now for the FUN part. It’s time to tell you why I think social media should be thought of like a cruise- seriously!

Each cruise ship is a company. People want to participate in cruise activities, but know there are rules necessary to keep the ship fun. And there aren’t many. The basic rules are put a life vest on in case of emergency (the company’s emergency flowchart), don’t do anything to disrupt the direction of the cruise ship (i.e. leave the captain and the crew to do their jobs and don’t spin the ship’s steering wheel to be funny). Then, you can eat all you want, drink all you want, meet new people, enjoy plenty of pool time, and just plain have fun. This is why social media is not an airplane or a train or a bus (well, maybe it could be a party bus); these are all modes of transportation to get you to your final destination. But a cruise ship IS the destination. I haven’t been on a cruise, but I’m pretty sure I’d be happy to hang out on one for awhile, with Dramamine!

Cruises are meant to be fun, and so is social media. Chaos only ensues without necessary safeguards in place: what to do “in case of emergency” and guidelines for every one’s safety- both for the employee AND the company. Too many rules and neither are fun any longer, but it will definitely help to have basic rules in place and simple guidelines if the company does look bad.

In addition to figuring out what the rules or guidelines are, there comes the issue of how to present it to employees. Employees don’t want to feel reined in, but should be willing to abide by a little bit different rules for the professional world. Some will be less willing, but presentation is all you need to present a welcoming atmosphere.

Here at Clear Verve, we’ve developed what we think are some awesome cruise, er social media guidelines! They’re colorful, simple and inviting. Let us know what you think! We’d love to hear feedback about the documents OR about our cruise ship idea.

Social Media Guidelines or Policy Template
Reacting to Social Media

Welcome aboard!

Erica Gordon is a Marketing Associate at Clear Verve and works part-time at a Milwaukee area nonprofit. She recently received her Communication MA from Marquette University. Follow Erica on Twitter @erica_g.

Are You Prepared for a Tweakout?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 — 


It’s every company’s worst nightmare. A well-known celebrity gets upset and generates so much coverage of their online complaints that mainstream media picks up the story and gives it even more steam. If you haven’t heard, this past weekend Kevin Smith a famous actor/writer/director/producer, did not have a good experience with Southwest Airlines and he shared his frustration with his over 1.6 million followers on Twitter, on other social networking sites, his blog, and via a podcast.

Smith was asked to leave his seat on the airplane he had already boarded because of a policy the airline has regarding weight/size limitations. Southwest has been responding back to Smith’s tweets apologizing for the inconvenience it caused Smith, contacted him directly, and offered a refund for his ticket.  If you want to see the commentary between Southwest and Kevin Smith check out their blogs: Southwest blog post and Kevin Smith blog

There has been much buzz regarding the Kevin Smith/Southwest “Too Fat to Fly” story and many news reports on this situation.  This is a prime example of the importance of monitoring and responding to comments from people online.  Many businesses may not encounter a situation of this magnitude, but it definitely demonstrates the power of social media and the importance of having people in place to respond to issues that occur and making sure they respond correctly, otherwise the situation can snowball fast.

If you do not have a social media policy in place, now is the time to write one.  Even if you think your business is too small, be proactive and have a policy in place so you or a member of your staff can respond or share information appropriately.  Not sure where to start with this policy?

Here are a few helpful guides from Mashable, Social Media Explorer, Ogilvy PR and PR Squared.

Mashable – Social Media Policy Musts

Social Media Explorer – What Every Company Should Know About Social Media Policy

Ogilvy PR – Empowering Communicators Via a Social Media Policy

PR Squared – Corporate Social Media Policy Top 10 Guidelines

Susan Schoultz is Client Service Director at Clear Verve Marketing and works with clients to plan, create and execute marketing campaigns.  Follow her on Twitter as @clearverve2.