Social business: 10 tips for safe, secure and compliant collaboration


Human pyramid representing collaboration

Image from Flickr courtesy of Keith Williamson

One of the main obstacles stopping companies from embracing a social business model is the fear that opening access to social media for employees will hinder employee productivity, or will open up new security, compliance or privacy concerns.

Sarah Carter, the VP of marketing at Actiance recently put together a presentation which gives businesses 10 top tips for secure collaboration:

Ten Tips to Safe Social Collaboration

1. Understand the landscape

  • Social media is now being departmentalised far more than before -
    • The average organisation in UK now has five Facebook fan pages, instead of just the one, as it was 12 months ago.
    • IBM North America has 39 twitter accounts.
  • By 2014, social media will be the primary interpersonal communication service for 20% of business users instead of email.

2. Consider and address the risks

  • The risks to social business and online collaboration are just the same as before, only now the speed and spread of communications is much greater and faster. Dealing with issues in real time is something you must be prepared for, as well as online reputation and crisis management.
  • Provide a secure, collaboration environment to reduce the risk of data leakage, whether inadvertent or malicious.
  • Social media channels are becoming increasingly targeted by virus and malware hackers. The trusted nature of social networks means people are more likely to click links if it looks as though it was sent through LinkedIn, for example.

3. Understand the legal and regulatory situation

  • As social provides a form of electronic communications, we have to consider the existing regulations affecting communications.
  • Consider retaining the content that is created and shared over social media.
  • Think about archiving commentary between your customers and employees (has added CRM benefits too).

4. Establish a presence

  • It may be necessary to divide your social media presences across a variety of accounts as your HR and marketing departments will have different approaches to how social media will be used.

5. Engage and be engaging

  • Ask questions, participate in groups and Q+A areas of sites and communities.
  • Follow what is going on in the lives of your employees, customer base and even competitors.

6. Consider Enterprise Social

  • It might be necessary to go beyond the major social networks such as Twitter or Facebook for your employees to collaborate. You may like to check out our ‘living’ list of social media collaboration platforms.

7. Educate

  • Educate your users about the risks of using social media - not everyone will have the same appreciation about the effects that a mistake can have on your online reputation.
  • Keep yourself and your IT team educatedabout the constantly evolving social landscape - users will be learning about new tools and platforms at a fast rate and it’s important to stay abreast of trends.
  • Educate your network about the events you are running, or attending, and use social platforms to arrange meetings before you even arrive.

8. Control, Manage, Secure

  • Ensure your employees who participate on social media for your company do so with accounts that can be clearly identified as corporate to help keep records of conversations and to aid customers identification.
  • It is possible to restrict access to certain areas of social networks and you may need to consider this*. For example, employees may need access to Facebook during office hours, but do you want them playing FarmVille?
  • Similarly, it is also possible to establish black and whitelists of words that can be used. Avoid the issue of an employee inadvertently saying that they “guarantee” an outcome by preventing it from being published.*

9. Review and Revise

  • Identify which policies are working, review your policies and then move on.

10. Measure

  • Response rates from social media outreach is important to measure across the different networks, and also against email.
  • Some of the things you measure will be simple, eg, number of connections you make, however remember that quality is especially important so numbers alone is not a suitable metric. You will need to identify metrics that accurately show the value of your social media strategy and key business goals.
*these two points were described as examples of Actiance’s features.

Is Hugo Chávez really running his country by Twitter?


Hugo Chavez world leader and twitter user

Courtesy of

The Guardian today wrote that Hugo Chávez, president of Venezuela, is using “Twitter as a tool to govern remotely while he undergoes cancer treatment in Cuba”.

This is the sort of headline that should have us social media agency types  delighted at how significant and revolutionary this is. Or should it?

As the host of  his own talk show, Chávez is no stranger to amplifying his voice via the media, but this story in itself feels a bit over-hyped. Is he really “running the country”?

It looks like he is merely using Twitter to talk about things that are happening in the real world, from his own meetings and decisions to his reactions to Venezuela’s football matches.

This is not insignificant - the reality is that a world leader is using social media to give his citizens (and the rest of the world) an insight into his life, and bringing us closer to him. Not only that, he can demonstrate that even while hospitalised, he remains involved and relevant.

The truth of the matter is that Twitter makes a great hook for news stories, and the hype that surrounds it is displacing the reality, which is extraordinary enough as it is.

It’s more than significant to think that world leaders are tweeting about their lives, and we shouldn’t de-value that with exaggerated claims.This is something amazing in itself -  a real change in behaviour and an opportunity to see a side of people we could not before. We don’t need to over-hype that.

Forrester report: how companies listen and engage with social media


Image from Flickr courtesy of sfllaw

Forrester Consulting recently surveyed 200 US marketers about their use of social media listening and engagement. (The report, commissioned by Dell-commissioned is available to read here.)

Some of the most interesting findings include:

  • Information sourced by social media is now being used by more than 70% of B2B decision-makers.
  • Interestingly, there is a significant uptake of companies adopting social media tactics (97%), but there is a plenty of opportunity for business returns to be improved.
  • However, strategic social media is not being used extensively. Only 8% of the surveyed marketers claimed that their listening and engagement work is tied to corporate objectives.

Forrester identified that there are clear and unique approaches to social media monitoring and listening that depend on the company’s industry:

  • Utilities, banking and services are least developed, using listening for customer service and to drive brand awareness. Security and privacy concerns pose challenges to these sectors.
  • Media, entertainment and leisure companies, who are further along the social media curve, focus their social media metrics on reach. Here the measurements are likely to be for the number of ‘fans’ or ‘likes’, which is
  • High-tech companies are geared towards lead-generation, which Forrester claim to place them as the most advanced on the social-media curve. By using real business metrics for measurement, these companies are also the ones facing the most challenges, as their efforts increase in complexity.

The report makes the following recommendations:

  • Programs which receive executive sponsorship are the most likely to succeed and deliver results.
  • Integration is essential to maximise ROI. Combining the information gathered from listening with existing customer data, systems and processes will allow companies to see the “big picture” of the effects on their business.
  • Employee empowerment is crucial, to maximise existing resources, training and education is needed to allow employees to listen and engage in their day-to-day work, in a consistent way.

Integration is definitely one aspect that will become more and more important. As companies gain confidence in the potential for social media to offer more than a marketing channel and embrace using it across the entire business (from customer support to internal communications), the volume of information available will certainly be a game-changer.

67% of shoppers spend more following recommendations from their social networks (infographic)


Making purchases directly from within Facebook (a form of social commerce) has the potential to make the social network a place where we spend not just considerable amounts of our time, but also our money.

Social Media Influence has created this infographic which reflects on the past two years of Facebook commerce (known as “F-commerce“).

From the very first purchase ($34 worth of flowers) through to movie rentals and mobile phone credit purchases, F-commerce already has a varied history, and this is just the beginning.

Some key points of interest:

  • 67% of shoppers spend more when they have received a recommendation from their online community of friends.
  • Just 11% of the surveyed UK customers have bought something from Facebook.
  • Only 8% of retailer Facebook pages are able to accept transactions.
  • Predicted value of social commerce is set to reach $30bn worldwide by 2015.

Facebook commerce (F-commerce) infographic

Adzuna: Using your Facebook and LinkedIn contacts for job hunting


Logo for job search engine AdzunaToday saw the launch of a new job search engine Adzuna, which integrates Facebook and LinkedIn contacts to help job hunters get ahead of the competition.

Adzuna works by aggregating existing job postings from sites such as Monster, TotalJobs and LinkedIn, which in itself is a great time-saver for job hunters.

Where Adzuna really shines though is by “connecting” your LinkedIn and Facebook contacts, helping you get the most from your friends and connections on both social networks.

So how does it work?

Once you have shared your contact details, the search engine pulls up any of your contacts who work at companies which have vacancies on the Adzuna database. You can send a message directly from within Adzuna to your connection, with a link to the job details, and get the ball rolling from there.

It’s quite unobtrusive and you don’t have to create a new social network, unlike on  BranchOut and BeKnown, the other job hunting and professional networking tools on the market at the moment.  In fact the only time you need to contact your friend through Adzuna is to make them aware of your intention to pursue a job once you’ve found something that you’re really interested in.

We spoke to Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna and formerly of Qype and Gumtree, to learn some more about the social integration:

Could you tell us a bit about how and why you decided to develop Adzuna Connect in the way you have?

We want to make the job search experience much, much better.  Social is a key part of that and we believe a social layer gives job seekers a distinct advantage in the market. Understanding where you can get a quick intro through a friend to an employer or even get the low down on what it’s really like to work at a company is incredibly valuable job seekers – we want to make this a seamless part of our search.

Currently Adzuna seems to be geared primarily for job hunters. Do you have plans to offer services for recruiters to help them search for candidates?

Not for the time being. In the short run, we want to focus our efforts on building the best possible search experience for job hunters. Recruiters will benefit naturally from the traffic we refer to them immediately and in the future we will provide services to allow them to showcase their vacancies to a wider audience. For now though, it’s all about the job seekers.

Currently the LinkedIn jobs are just for your first-degree connections - are there plans to have the option for broader searches?

Absolutely. Watch this space, as what you can see now is only a beta version.  We see huge value in being able to leverage your friends’ networks as well as your own to find the perfect job.

You have stated that the job ads are just the beginning, and that you intend for Adzuna to serve property and car classifieds too. How will Adzuna manage social search for these listings?

There will be obvious differences and we’re keen to only make social connections where users find the connection / information genuinely useful. There’s no point in ‘doing social’ for the sake of being cool. So to take property as an example, users looking for a house in a new area might be interested in which of their friends live in the local area and what people on twitter say about it. We hope to fold relevant social signals like this into all of our verticals to ensure the best possible search experience.

Finally, is there anything else you would like to add about Adzuna?

For those of your readers who are wondering where the name “Adzuna” comes from, “Zuna” means “abundance” in a number of African languages. We aim to be the most abundant classified ads site on the the web, and to bring you the best ads sooner than anyone else. Hence the name Ad-zuna.

Oh, and make sure you try the connect feature here –

Adzuna is currently in beta and already has over  300,000 live UK job vacancies listed. We’re looking forward to seeing how it develops.