Christmas is coming, and with it comes parties, Instagram opportunities, Facebook posts, Twitter feeds, extended time off and plenty of time on people’s hands. In other words, Social media and HR.
So what you may well ask has this got to do with me as an employer?
Plenty is the short answer, plenty.
You cannot control what an employee does or says in their free time, but what if it’s being done in your company name, company time or is associated in any way with your company. Do you even know who or what you or your brand is being associated with?
It might be the time to find out or at least set the boundaries around what is acceptable or not.
Quite bluntly, employees should not be associating their employers in any way on any form of private social media, this includes, not stating where they work, no company logos, not discussing company business, clients or other colleagues (even if they are friends) on any of their private accounts.
Many an employee and employer has at the very least been angry the very worst severely embarrassed or reputationally scarred by a rogue employee who decides to post or rant about ‘work’, post pictures of themselves in fancy dress (think that Justin Trudeau post), drunk, on holiday (when they’ve rang in sick), high, taking drugs, espousing views that would make the most ardent left or right winger choke over their cornflakes, engaging in splats on Twitter with a major client, swinging, posing provocative, boasting about all sorts – you get the picture, all the while sitting proudly next to that is your Company name.
So what to do about it, like anything you set the boundaries, and the easiest way to do that is draft a policy into your HR Handbook or Policies & Procedures and make all employees aware of it.
To help you out, I have drafted one here for you for free. Download our Social Media Policy template to enable your business to develop clear policy guidelines around social media usage.
If you need any help with any of the topics mentioned in this blog then please contact us.
Starting a business on a shoe string often means marketing falls further and further down the list of priorities, however what many forget is that when it comes to marketing tools you really can get something for nothing. There are multiple ways to get your name and brand out there with a marketing budget of £0. Here are 7 marketing tools for free.
1. Social Media
So perhaps the most obvious of all is social media and everyone is using it, however there are some lesser known features of Facebook and Twitter that many business neglect to use. The first of these features is TweetDeck the feature allows you to make the most of twitter by scheduling tweets, gaining industry insights and measuring your engagement. This will keep you constantly engaging with your followers and make sure you are getting your brand in front of potential clients at strategic times of the day.
2. Marketing Tools for Articles
Many start-ups will be sent requests by budding journalists for interviews. It’s easy to overlook these especially with the schedule of the average entrepreneur, however these can be worth more than you know even with little known blogs, websites or news outlets. Giving short interviews or typing up a quick email will help to increase your web presence and google rankings, and you never know the traction these outlets might gain in the future. If you haven’t had any requests then actively seek interviews and start small and specific in doing so. The big names in media are likely to move your emails directly into the bin but the smaller outlets are always looking for something unique and quirky. Have a Google and find out who is talking about the things your business does and send a pitch. The Huffington Post is a great site with a huge readership, they love small business and often approve blog posts as long as you have something new and different to talk about, submit an idea.
Whilst not a direct form of marketing Peek is a free tool which helps to see what users think of your website. Fill in the form on the peek website and your website will be user tested for free! the testing is done by real people and you will be provided with a video of the users experience outlining the best features and features which need improvement.
4. Newsletter/Email insights Marketing Tools
Having a monthly newsletter can help to build loyalty and gain followers and connections on your social media profiles. There a number of free tools which allow you to not only create a newsletter but also measures how many users open the email and how they interact with the content and links. One such application is IContact., this application allows you to send monthly newsletters to up to 500 contacts. Another great tool is Sidekick, this application gives insight into how your ordinary emails are interacted with; it tells you when an email is opened, how long it was viewed for and shows you their social media profiles with the same email address. Another great feature is that you are able to schedule emails strategically meaning you will be at the top of that hot lead’s inbox at the right time of the day.
Having a blog will help to build an image of your company and the best tool to do this with is Medium. The blogging site comes with an inbuilt audience and the networking tools will help your content spread across multiple media outlets. The audience is made up of bloggers, journalists and social media savy entrepreneurs. It combines all the best features of a social network and the design features of a powerful blogging system to create a painless way of getting your brand out there.
Many businesses have been slow to adopt video marketing as part of their campaign however it’s power should not be underestimated. Creating videos about your business is a great way to create a real connection with your audience and doesn’t have to be a glossy advert. Having a weekly vlog which is warm, funny and engaging is a great way to turn views into sales. The advent of youtube means the cost of video marketing has fallen dramatically and the user base speaks for itself. If your videos gain subscribers users will be presented with your videos every time you upload them.
Making sure your website is search engine optimised is essential for any business, it will make sure you show up is search results and will guide you through making sure your content is relevant and easy to read. The best tool for this is HotJar, the WordPress plugin integrates seamlessly into your dashboard and will test all your content for search engine compatibility. HotJar is one of the most powerful tools available as it measures how your users are interacting with your content; what they are reading, where they pause and ‘heat maps’ of where people click and focus.
CrosseHR provides a number of HR services to startups including training and policy around PR. To view a full list of our services check out our solutions page, you can also follow us on Twitter and Linkedin for insights and updates!
In a world where information is just a key stroke away attacks to reputation online can be devastating for both individuals and businesses. Within larger organisations there are whole teams which work to protect online reputation and brand, however what about SME’s and not-for-profits who don’t have the resources available to monitor and protect their image? Fear not CrosseHR has come up with some handy tips to protect your reputation online;
1. It starts with you
The information you put online allows people to make presumptions about who you are personally and what your company represents. Often people can be the makers of their own grief by posting things online which may even have been intended to be private, but is actually publicly available and gives the wrong message. The one rule to live by is that everything you do online; the messages you send, the pictures you post and the things you comment on can be made public. There are countless examples where online messages are sent and then exposed online by it’s recipient. HR departments regularly have to deal with Facebook posts by employees which don’t comply with company ethos, not to mention the flurry of inappropriate images which have become the norm amongst young people and daters. So how do you avoid this mess? It’s simple; with everything you do question what would my employer think of this? Or if you are an employer, what would my mother think of this? By asking yourself these questions it will make you consider the content of posts before you post them and prevent you from getting an ominous email from HR on a Friday afternoon.
2. Set all personal social media profiles to private
Setting profiles to private will prevent information being indexed by search engines. Indexing is when Google or another search engine takes information you have put online or information another person has put out about you and makes that available to anyone who searches for you or your company. The last thing you want when someone is Googling you are webpages and Facebook posts which show you or your company in a bad light. Follow these steps to make your personal accounts private;
a) Go to the top right hand corner and click the padlock sign.
b) Click on the “see more settings” link.
c) You will be brought to this page.
d) At the bottom it asks whether you want search engines to link to your profile, make sure this option shows up as “no”.
e) Click on ‘Limit Past Posts’, this will limit the audience of your previous posts.
f) Make sure that only friends can see your future posts.
a) Click on your profile picture
b) Click on settings.
c) Click security and privacy.
d) This page will appear, click ‘Do not allow anyone to tag me in photos’, this will prevent anyone tagging you into an image that you wouldn’t want to be associated with.
e) Click ‘Protect my Tweets’, select this option if you don’t want your tweets to be publicly visible to anyone, by doing this you limit those who can see your tweets to just people you have approved.
f) Ensure all other options are not ticked.
3. The right to be forgotten
A relatively new feature to Google is the ability to be forgotten by asking Google to review and delete web pages from it’s results. The feature comes after a ruling in the European Court of Human Rights on data protection and currently users can ask Google not to display web pages containing their name where the page in question is irrelevant, no longer relevant, excessive or inadequate. If when Googling yourself, which we all at some point do, you find something that’s unfair or just plain wrong you can ask Google to omit it from their results by filling in a simple online form.
Google and other search engines display a certain number of results per page, therefore logic dictates that the more quality content you put out the more of that space will be occupied by you. By consistently creating and publishing online content you can knock detrimental results down to later pages which are seldom read. The ultimate goal is to have so much unique quality content that any attack on your reputation wouldn’t get close to page one of the results.
5. Contest your reputation online
If you do come across something contact the site the content is being hosted on, as well as doing a Google request (above). The last thing a site administrator wants is libellous content on their site and often a quick email will result in it’s swift removal. If the site is operated by the person creating the content then it is also a good idea to contact them asking them to remove it. If all above attempts fail it is a good idea to contact a solicitor who will be able to advise you on further action.
CrosseHR can advise on a range of HR issues including dismissals, tribunals and employment law. If you are experiencing issues with an employee’s online behaviour or want to develop your policies on responsible media use then CrosseHR can help! Call 0330 555 1139 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, you can also view a full list of our services here.