Tag Archives: linkedin

Financial Industry Is Slow To Get Social, Restrained by Regulation

Series 1 on Social Media in Highly Regulated Industrieslocked keyboard

Some in the financial industry think it simpler to abandon social media, but for most, they are stuck in a difficult juxtaposition as they are expected to grow their book of business, but then told they cannot use all the tools available to do so. My Edwards Jones money manager is forbidden to use Facebook for business, and the company won’t allow her to have access to the site from her office.  Merrill Lynch just recently began allowing their employees to use LinkedIn, but under strict guidelines.

With social media in full swing these days, what is it that keeps the highly regulated industries from swimming with the rest?  The difference might be in the government regulations rather than in the social medium.  Banks are regulated by the OCC, investment firms are regulated by the SEC and other industries like legal and real estate are heavily regulated at the State level.   The biggest challenge is that companies would need to monitor online activity for all of their employees and make sure no laws are broken, or invest in social media training as a matter of prevention. This costs money, but does the cost outweigh the benefit? Facebook and Linkedin have already been shown to be rich oil fields of prospects and clients, so how can these companies maneuver safely and confidently within those realms?

For several years, I worked with a large family owned real estate company headquartered in Connecticut, where we immersed more than 2000 agents in social media training. This occupation is about relationships, yet agents were fearful of the platform, mainly because they could not grasp how to use it. I heard more than once, “I don’t want people to know my phone number, my address” To which I replied “isn’t it the same as posting a sign with your face and phone number in front of your customers’ houses?”

On a similar level, companies are fearful of employee missteps online where everything published can be tracked.  Every highly regulated industry has guidelines for conduct, but now these guidelines must be extended to social media channels.  Training on acceptable use of social media, and monitoring, must be implemented to ensure those guidelines are followed.

Social media has already knocked on the door of each and every company and will not go away. Time will tell who manages to work within strict regulations to take advantage of the growth opportunities of social media, and who gets left behind.

Thanks to contributing writer Lori Vintilescu.

18 Signposts I Learned from MarketingSherpa’s Social Marketing ROAD Map Handbook

Signpost

The title of MarketingSherpa’s 2010 Handbook, Social Marketing ROAD Map, is not only a clever analogy referring to the territory marketers must navigate to map out a social media strategy, the acronym is memorable and quite right-on. ROAD stands for: Research, Objectives, Actions and Devices.

I know writers are supposed to resist the temptation to use clichés—but I can’t help it—so indulge me here for a moment while I offer you a personal perspective. For me, someone who fears getting lost, my Global Positioning System (GPS) has changed my life with its turn-by-turn voice directions. The ROAD Map Handbook offers the comfort and confidence that I’ve come to rely on from my GPS. I think you too will find great direction from the guidelines, best practices and tactics, templates, suggested resources, worksheets, list of social media platforms, and comprehensive glossary.

Whether you’re a marketer just starting out in Social Media or have been traveling these roads for some time, you’re bound to find many valuable tips and strategies in MarketingSherpa’s Social Marketing Road Map Handbook.

You’ll want to read the Handbook yourself to receive the full benefit but to get you started, here are some of my favorite marketing signposts. Continue reading

Gather Ye Social Networking Profiles While Ye May

If you spent 2009 making a business case for using social media marketing here are some tips to help you create your social networking profiles.

Before you begin it’s always a good idea to plan your pages in advance and gather the company information, usernames, profile images and other assets you will need.

For one thing the number of characters in usernames differ from network to network, the size of profile images are different dimensions, and some pages are more forgiving in terms of editing than others. Below are some guidelines for pages as well as a list of helpful resources.

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Marketing with Meaning: The Importance of Satisfied Customers

bg_book1In his book, The Next Evolution of Marketing, Connect Your Customers by Marketing with Meaning*, Bob Gilbreath discusses the importance of ensuring customer satisfaction. He writes, “In order to communicate meaning through your marketing, you need to look at customer support postpurchase not just as cost center but as the key to ensuring long-term satisfaction and loyalty.”

What’s good customer support? And how can even the largest companies make you feel heard and taken care of?

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Social media profiles: A disconnect in the corporate strategy?

switchboardI’ve been wondering lately about the concept of integrated social media strategies for businesses.

There’s no mistaking it but some social media will work better for certain types of businesses and industries than others. Some will excel with the use of videos, and some with the written word. Some will adopt the use of multiple social media— running the gamut of blogs, twitter, linkedin, youtube, and facebook.

So here’s the question which has been plaguing me for a while: Who’s doing it well? I mean, who’s doing a good job tying them all together, cross-linking and integrating them into a full user experience.

I became even more curious yesterday after reading a post, Which Twitter Strategy is Right for You, by Rodger Johnson. The post describes the twitter strategies of  six companies you may have already heard about: JetBlue, Rubbermaid, Dunkin’ Donuts, Dell, Zappos, and Comcast. So, with these key twitter players in mind, I thought I’d do a little experiment, and see whose doing what and how well are they linking all their profiles and web sites together e.g. how would a user know about all the profiles these companies have?

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What’s your policy…er, I mean, guidelines?

Edited social media guidelines

Recently, we have been working with clients to develop their organizational social media policies.  We have seen dozens of examples and read many blog posts about what they should include and how they should be presented. Some were developed collaboratively by employees, sometimes using a wiki, and posted online to share with the general population.

Since we’ve seen many companies approach their thinking about this process ineffectively, we’d like to share our thoughts on how to do this well.

What is the purpose of a social media policy?

Social media policies are intended to make clear to employees what is expected of them, when and how they use social communities and blogs, and acceptable ways to mention their company. Often companies embark on the development of the document as a legal tool to prevent employees from engaging in unfortunate online behavior. When you look at large corporate policies, they often have a feeling of a legal document, with a lot of “thou shalt nots” in them. We advise companies to approach this differently.

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Is that Seat Taken? Getting on the Social Media Bus

busAndrew Goodman’s post, “Social Media as Signaling Strategy” raises an important question when he asks, “What if you just didn’t do social media at all, and kept on doing the things you know generate leads, partnerships, repeat business, etc.?”

The question I immediately thought in response is why? Why would you do that? Why would any forward-thinking business today take an a no-can-do attitude towards social media? The short answer comes down to fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of doing it poorly.

But what if I was to tell you that it wasn’t hard. It’s not going to require a major shift in your company’s paradigm, or financial investment.  What if all it really takes is a willingness to learn, to stay current, to ask questions, and to ask for help when you need it.

I know from first-hand experience the feeling that there aren’t enough hours in the day to do your job and learn the necessary steps for getting started in social media. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and either was social media. Start by asking yourself what social networks and social media marketing make the most sense to you. Bite off a little at a time. If it’s LinkedIn and Facebook right now, and you can’t commit to writing regular blog posts, so be it.  There’s no magic formula. There’s no one-size-fits-all.

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Impressions through Media Blog Celebrates 2nd Birthday

blog_wordleThis week I kept hearing one particular verse of the Stevie Nicks song, Landslide, playing in my head,

“Well, I’ve been afraid of changing
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I’m getting older too
Oh I’m getting older too”

Then, I remembered, we were coming up on another year.  To be exact, two years ago today, Weber Media Partners published our very first blog post on Impressions through Media.

Who would have known at the time, but it was only the beginning. From there we went on and created presences on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Delicious and more. We became regular commenters. Readers of countless RSS feeds plus a long list of books about social media marketing. To put it simply, we love what we have discovered in social media. We love sharing knowledge and information through following, updating, friending, tweeting, youtubing. In fact, we love everything about the new ways of communicating. We’ve become true social media enthusiasts.

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Goodbye, Gourmet. Thanks for the recipes.

gourmet magazine coverOur family has always valued exceptionally prepared food using long proven recipes. For Christmas dinner, my aunt, a professional cook, comes to my home to help me prepare my German grandmother’s Rouladen, which we serve with egg noodles and red cabbage. She has taught me to keep notes on quantities, cuts of meat that work best, and any alterations we make to the original recipe.

It was at my aunt’s house, as a young girl, that I first saw Gourmet magazine decorating the coffee table in the living room. The glossy covers often had food that I didn’t recognize, but given her background, I knew it must be an important professional resource, and everything in it must be good.

Over the last few years, things have changed. While we still make the traditional Christmas meal, the recipe needs to be gluten free, which makes holiday meal preparation an exercise in caution as much as a celebration. As for where we get our recipes, rather than cut out of the paper or a magazine, we find them online and share them via email. When I want to make something with leeks, it’s a whole lot easier to search for it online, rather than shuffle through an archive of magazines. This approach, while more efficient, doesn’t have the same leisurely experience of paging through a magazine, being inspired to make something you wouldn’t have thought of on your own, like pumpkin soup or a peach crumble.

I haven’t picked up Gourmet in years, so I guess it is not a surprise that the magazine is going under, as announced today in the Wall Street Journal. With magazine advertising dollars being shifted to online publications, we will lose some of the old standbys. There will come a day that print magazines as we know it will no longer exist, along with print newspapers and television networks.

While I embrace the digital publishing model, I still love magazines. While I know you can do a lot with it, you can’t dog-ear the page of a Kindle.

Make Every Tweet Count: A Month Long Focus on Socialnomics

cover socialnomicsSeveral months ago, Weber Media Partners initiated our “Make Every Tweet Campaign.” We took on the challenge of truncating messages from noteworthy books and reports about social media marketing and business.

We believe tweets should make a difference, have an impact. Tweets can tell a story. Can educate a line at a time. For the user, its an easy way to stay on top of resources they may not have otherwise known about or thought they had the time to read. The hope is that the tweets will spark more interest, be re-tweeted, initiate direct messages and most importantly encourage the user to read the material in its entirety.  As we say, Make Every Tweet Count campaigns should not substitute for buying and reading the entire book!

For the month of October we are excited to bring you month-long tweets from Erik Qualman’s new book, Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business, published by Wiley. Socialnomics was a shoo-in for “Make Every Tweet Count.”  You can open the book at any page and take away a message which will either change the way you’ve been thinking about social media or validate why you’ve been using it in your personal life or at your place of work.

Follow us this month on twitter@webermedia. Join in the conversation, 140 characters at a time.