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Hobsons Social Media Guidelines 1 Hobsons Social Media Handbook Overview Everything we do online can be traced and can impact our company. Hobsons does not want to control what is said on personal social networking websites. We encourage the use of social media technologies to enhance communication, collaboration and information exchange in support of Hobsons’ mission. By opening sharing knowledge, best practices and lessons learned, we provide more effective solutions and increase our visibility, generate leads and establish thought leadership. We do want to remind you, however, that the company policies on Non-‐Harassment and Conflict of Interest /Code of Ethics extend to all forms of communication.
Hobsons Social Media Guidelines 2 There is a certain etiquette you should abide by when participating online, especially if you’re using social networks for any business purposes. The goal of this document is not to be restrictive, but to provide guidelines on proper social networking etiquette so that we can all use it effectively to gain value. Frequently Asked Questions Social Media Use as Part of Your Job Responsibilities 1. Can I use social tools (both Hobsons-‐sponsored such as blogs and third party sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook or twitter) as it relates to my job and job function? Answer: You may, as long as you read and abide by the Hobsons Employee Handbook and this Social Media Guidelines document. You must include the following disclaimer on your non-‐Hobsons blog posts. “The opinions expressed in this blog are my own views and not those of Hobsons.” If you are using a 3rd party blog site and have control over the design, you may place the previous statement in a permanent and prominent space on the blog, such as in the header. It must be visible for every piece of content that speaks about Hobsons, Hobsons products or any aspect of Hobsons business. If you comment on any aspect of Hobsons’ business on a social media site, you must identify yourself as a Hobsons’ employee in a prominent place (bio, profile, etc.) on the site. Example 1: If you are using other social media channels to promote Hobsons, you must clearly state in your “bio” or twitter handle that you work for Hobsons. • @HobsonsTom • @TMartin-‐ Sales Manager at Hobsons. 2. What is my responsibility as a Hobsons employee when I participate in business-‐related social networking sites externally? Answer: Your conduct online reflects upon Hobsons. Do not post inappropriate, disrespectful comments or post comments that are intended to embarrass Hobsons, your co-‐workers or customers. Protect Hobsons’ business performance, clients, business partners and suppliers. Do not post confidential, proprietary or other sensitive information. ALWAYS ACT PROFESSIONAL AT ALL TIMES. Example (Don’t): @EDSuccess I hate working with the University of ‘Z’. Their administration is a joke! If you witness illegal, unsafe or unethical conduct by a Hobsons employee or vendor, do not discuss this on any social media site. Instead, contact Human Resources to report issues such as the following: • Theft, fraud or any other dishonest conduct
Hobsons Social Media Guidelines 3 • Discrimination or harassment • Waste or abuse of Hobsons resources • Conflicts of interest • Mismanagement • Any actions that violate the Hobsons values, Code of Conduct and/or Employee Handbook Personal Social Media Guidelines 1. What should I be aware of before posting personal information about myself on social networking sites? Answer: We encourage you to create user accounts under your true name. Using a pseudonym may diminish the credibility of your contributions online. Even anonymous comments and updates can be traced back to you or Hobsons using IP addresses and other tracking technology. Only post personal information that you want the public to view on the social Web and avoid posting information that would make you vulnerable to identity theft or may compromise your safety. Be sure to review the privacy policies of the social networking sites that you choose to join. Be aware that your posts may be viewed beyond your intended audience. Example (Don’t): @HobsonsGirl: Starting tomorrow, I’ll be travelling abroad for the next two weeks. Example (Don’t): @FoodCritic1: I’m chowing down at restaurant ‘Y’. Hit me up at 444-‐444-‐444 if you’re in the area. 2. Is it OK to use my own personal social networking login account (such as YouTube, Flickr or other social media sharing site) when posting Hobsons content, videos or photos externally? Answer: No. Do not use your personal accounts when posting Hobsons’ owned videos to external video sharing sites. You may, however, share Hobsons’ owned videos found on the Hobsons YouTube channel by linking to the video. Example (Do): Marcia Smith: Check out this great video found on the Hobsons YouTube Channel http://bit.ly/ArQGHt. Responding to Comments on Social Networking Sites 1. What is Hobsons’ policy around publishing comments? Answer: We do not promote censorship of your online posting. For official Hobsons blogs and social media feeds, both internal and external, it is our practice to post all comments except those that may be off-‐topic or may create liability as a result of the content. We do have the right to remove any posted comments, video and/or photograph that is not appropriate for the topic discussed, uses inappropriate language or spam. Please respect copyright and fair use laws by obtaining written permission for videos and photographs that are not your own.
Hobsons Social Media Guidelines 4 Example (Do remove or block): @OG111: @hobsonsinc Visit my site to get your free iPad http://www.og111.com. 2. If I receive a negative comment on a Hobsons-‐sponsored social networking site/blog, how should I respond? Answer: If a reader leaves a negative comment, it is recommended that you do not delete the comment for transparency reasons. If the comment contains disrespectful or derogatory language you may consider NOT posting it. We do encourage you to publish most comments because it encourages people with different viewpoints and opinions to join the conversation, to debate and to discuss their side of a specific argument. Receiving a negative comment about a Hobsons product or service ultimately provides an opportunity to respond to the negative comment and reframe it in a positive light. Censoring comments discourages participation and social media engagement. Remember: More often than not, the negative comments are trying to provoke a response. Check with Corporate Marketing if you are unsure of how to respond. Example (Don’t): BlogManager: To EdDoctor15. I removed your comment because you have no idea what you’re talking about and your opinions about education reform completely miss the mark! Example (Do): BlogManager: Thank you for commenting EdDoctor15. Though, I differ on some of your suggestions, I appreciate the opportunity to examine another point of view. Keep your comments coming! Proprietary and Confidential Information 1. How do I determine what information is proprietary or confidential, and whether or not it is OK to post externally? Answer: Security policies and practices of external social networking tools may differ from Hobsons’ policies and requirements. Always assume the information you post to these sites is not secure and that it can be compromised or used against you and/or Hobsons. Consult with Corporate Marketing and Human Resources for guidance on identifying confidential or sensitive content. Do not post internal data on any third party or public site. Some information such as product announcements, new hires, etc., becomes public information once it is announced by Hobsons. However, do not post such information to external sites until it is formally announced or shared with the public by Hobsons. Disclosure of any information deemed to be non-‐public material, prematurely and/or selectively may violate securities law and may subject both you and Hobsons to liability. If you have questions about posting specific content, consult with Corporate Marketing and Human Resources. Example (Don’t): Missy23: Just found out today from a coworker that Hobsons will be buying ‘Company X’. It’s official next week. Trademarks
Hobsons Social Media Guidelines 5 1. What should I be aware of when posting the Hobsons logo or trademarks to social networking sites? Answer: Each employee is responsible for protecting and appropriately promoting the brand. Do not share Hobsons’ visual assets with third parties such as Hobsons fonts, Hobsons stock photography, Hobsons logos or other devices that are reserved solely for Hobsons. Your personal social networking sites may not include Hobsons logos or trademarks. This is to prevent the appearance that you speak for or represent Hobsons officially. Do not post the Hobsons corporate logo on sites external to Hobsons for use by non-‐employees. If third parties request use of the Hobsons corporate logo to support stories or commentary about Hobsons, you may direct them to Corporate Marketing. Lastly, do not use third parties’ marks or logos without their written permission. Example (Don’t): @JBarnes: @k12Guide View this link to attach the new Hobsons logo to your institution’s blog. Example (Don’t): @ARadley Just posted new pics to my Flickr account. Highlights contemporary black and white photography I picked up on Google. Copyrights 1. What are the copyright guidelines for posting content that is not mine? Answer: You are legally and financially responsible for your postings and may be subject to liability for postings, which include copyrighted information such as music, videos, photographs, etc., that belong to third parties if used without obtaining written permission. Therefore, when posting copyrighted material or content, always cite and reference the original source in a prominent and visible space within the post. Photos or Logos 1. Can I use photos from the Hobsons Corporate Marketing Library on my social networking site/blog? Answer: You may only use Hobsons photography in a Hobsons blog. Do not use Hobsons Stock photography (people, scenic, etc.) in a personal blog or on a third-‐party site. When You Engage Emerging platforms for online collaboration are fundamentally changing the way we work, offering new ways to engage with customers, colleagues and the world at large. It is a new model for interaction and we believe social computing can help you build stronger, more successful business relationships. Furthermore, it is a way for you to take part in global conversations related to the work we are doing at Hobsons. If you participate in social media, please follow these guiding principles:
Hobsons Social Media Guidelines 7 Are you adding value? There are millions of posts added to the social media sphere everyday. The best way to get your post/s read is to create content that the online community will value. Social communication from Hobsons should help our customers, partners and co-‐workers. It should be thought provoking and build a sense of community. If it helps others improve knowledge or skills, build their businesses, do their jobs, solve problems or understand Hobsons better—then its adding value. Your responsibility: What you write is ultimately your responsibility. Participation in social computing on behalf of Hobsons is not a right but an opportunity. So, please treat it seriously and with respect. Please know and follow the Hobsons Code of Conduct. Failure to abide by Hobsons’ Social Media Guidelines and the Hobsons Code of Conduct could put your participation at risk. Create some excitement. As a business and as a corporate citizen, Hobsons is making important contributions to the world, to the future of technology and to public dialogue on a broad range of issues. Our business activities are increasingly focused on high-‐value innovation. Lets share with the world the exciting things were learning and doing—and open up the channels to learn from others. Be a leader. There can be a fine line between healthy debate and incendiary reaction. Do not denigrate our competitors or Hobsons. Nor do you need to respond to every criticism or barb. Try to frame what you write to invite differing points of view without inflaming others. Some topics—like politics or religion—slide more easily into sensitive territory. Be careful and considerate. Once an inflammatory discussion begins, it is hard to stop. Did you make a mistake? If you make a mistake, admit it. Be upfront and be quick with your correction. If youre posting to a blog, you may choose to modify an earlier post—just make it clear that you have done so. If it gives you pause, pause . . . If youre about to publish something that makes you even the slightest bit uncomfortable, dont shrug it off and hit send. Take a minute to review these guidelines and try to figure out whats bothering you, and then fix it. If youre still unsure, you might want to discuss it with your manager or Human Resources. Ultimately, what you publish is yours—as is the responsibility. So be sure.
Hobsons Social Media Guidelines 8 Procedures If you would like to share Hobsons content, please make sure you have your department’s support, as there are a number of ways to share: • Twitter tweets, retweets, @replies, mentions and favorites • Facebook status updates, comments and shares • LinkedIn status updates, comments and shares • Slideshare comments and shares • Google + posts, comments and shares • YouTube comments and shares • Blogging • Social bookmarking • Pinterest pins • Flickr comments and shares If you would like to submit any Hobsons-‐related presentations, photos, videos or audio for upload to Hobsons’ social media channels, please complete the following form located on hiWire. Hobsons Social Media Style Guide This social media style guide serves as a framework to help you nurture and cultivate an engaged social media community. Corporate Marketing’s mission is to ensure that the seven Hobsons equities are upheld and that your goals remain aligned: Partner, Innovative, Responsive, Passionate, Expert, and Visionary. With a focus on defining strategy and tactical planning, Corporate Marketing recommends you thoroughly review the following guiding principles to help grow your social media community and increase engagement. Strategy: A lack of growth and engagement usually means one thing, a, lack of planning. Before you begin tweeting or updating your Facebook status, clearly define your strategy. 1. Examine your social media landscape. Where is my current social media presence? Which social accounts do I want to keep? Deactivate? 2. Identify who will manage each social media account; this includes monitoring, posting and reporting. 3. Define your business objectives for each social site? List 3 business objectives for each social site. 4. Identify your target audience. 5. Determine the type of content appropriate for each social account. What content will offer the most value to my target audience and convey my social media “it” factor? 6. Identify metrics for measuring success.
Hobsons Social Media Guidelines 9 a. Transactional (followers, fans, views), Engagement (shares, Likes, comments), web (referral source traffic, bounce rate, CTR, unique visitors to site, time spent on site), brand sentiment, # of customer support resolutions & leads Content: Content is king but parliament, your social audience, will ultimately decide what content is most valuable to them. 1. Listen and learn from your community. Do not talk about the company in every post or focus on delivering sales pitches. 2. Promote company-‐centric content for business exposure, lead generation and thought leadership, but try to keep content at a 70/30 split: 70% shared content (shares, retweets, links to interesting articles) and 30% company-‐centric (event promotion, product demos, media releases, recruitment listings, white papers, infographics, presentations, etc.) Shared Company-‐centric 3. Determine who and how unique company-‐centric content will be created. 4. Define what a post or status update should look like. Will it be informative like a news headline, a question, a poll or conversational. *A good rule of thumb is to incorporate a call-‐to-‐action in most posts to encourage engagement. 5. Choose the style and tone of your tweets and status updates. What style and tone are most appropriate for your audience? i.e. A casual, bubbly tone may not be best for a business audience. 6. Construct an editorial calendar to organize posts relevant to specific marketing campaigns and/or social media experiments. *Note: Your calendar is meant to keep you organized. As social media, your calendar should remain flexible, allowing for change and additions. Need ideas? Check out this tutorial with accompanying template.
Hobsons Social Media Guidelines 10 Frequency and Timing: Creating a thriving social media presence and influencing community behavior is more than opening a social media account and setting up the profile. Your community needs and demands consistent, quality content. 1. Post to Twitter daily. 2. Post to Facebook 3 times per week but no more than 3 times per day. 3. Post to LinkedIn 3 times per week. 4. Post to YouTube at least once a month and include a full description and tags. 5. Post all presentations appropriate for an EXTERNAL audience to Slideshare and include a detailed description. *Note: If this amount of post frequency seems a little much, then return to your business objectives and decide whether these social sites are appropriate channels for achieving your business goals. Monitoring: Expanding your social media reach can be a full-‐time job. You will need to monitor the web for social mentions, lead generation and thought leadership opportunities, customer support inquiries and to prevent crisis situations (i.e. virality of confidential information, controversial posts, company bashing) 1. Identify industry leaders, blogs and media sources to follow and share content. 2. Identify relevant company-‐related keywords and keyword phrases. For example: Hobsons, enrollment management, Naviance, student marketing, college readiness. 3. Create alerts [How to set up Google Alerts] for each keyword or keyword phrase. 4. Use free tools like Social Mention, Twitter Search and Tweet Reach to discover what others are saying about the company online. 5. When you come across a web posting or comment that warrants a response, follow Corporate Marketing’s Hobsons Social Media Response Procedure. 6. Determine the timeliness of your responses. Corporate Marketing suggests responding to all web postings and comments within 24 hours. 7. Decide if you will respond to all community engagement (‘Likes” and retweets) or just comments. *On Twitter, it is best practice to respond to all retweets and direct mentions to acknowledge your followers. 8. Remember, your responses should be transparent, cite relevant sources, informative and reflect highly on the company mission.
Hobsons Social Media Guidelines 11 Reporting: Producing monthly reports and case studies are necessary for measuring the success of your social media accounts, marketing campaigns, tactics and business goals. 1. Create a spreadsheet to track your metrics for each social media account. Use the same metrics you chose when developing your strategy. Here is a sample spreadsheet to get you started. 2. Use tools like Facebook Insights, LinkedIn’s Page Statistics, Twitter Counter, Simply Measured and Google Analytics for reporting. 3. Use charts and graphs to provide a visual representation of your success. 4. Create case studies for major achievements aligned with your business goals. Here is an example of Corporate Marketing case study. Hobsons Blogging Guidelines The guidelines outlined below are to help you produce a comprehensive, memorable and valuable blog post to establish rapport with and encourage action in your readership. While Corporate Marketing will make necessary edits, please ensure your content is strong and of the best quality. Additionally, all topics for Hobsons’ corporate blog will stem from the Corporate Blog Content Calendar managed by Corporate Marketing. 1. Your blog title should be no longer than 17 words in length, relevant to your content and offer readers the complete story of your post. This will pull readers into the remainder of your copy. 2. Your post should be 300-‐400 words long and comprehensively cover your topic. Do not focus on writing the maximum amount of words. Focus on writing quality content that your readers will value and remember. 3. You have probably heard by now that content is KING! Create content that is useful, unique and demonstrates an understanding of your audience’s needs and interests. When you comprehensively cover your topic in a way that is both valuable and original, your readers will respond by commenting, sharing and participating in your conversation. 4. Don’t over promote! Your readership expects more than just a sales pitch. They want quality content that is intriguing and offers information they can easily apply or share. When blogging about the company or our products, it’s always best to soft sale. 5. Support your claims with facts and acknowledge your sources to prevent violating copyright law. 6. Break up long paragraphs. Use bolded subheadings, bulleted lists, blockquotes, italics & short paragraphs to summarize the most relevant points. On average, only 16% of readers will read a post word for word. Therefore, ensure your readership gathers the most important information by making posts scannable.
Hobsons Social Media Guidelines 12 7. Use specific facts. A statement such as "14,154 traffic tickets dismissed since 2002" is more believable than "thousands of traffic tickets dismissed during the last few years." 8. Write your post in the first person. Your copy should read as if youre having a one-‐on-‐one conversation with a colleague. This will enable brand transparency, thereby increasing brand loyalty and establish rapport with your readers. 9. Portray enthusiasm through your content If you’re excited about your topic, your readers will be encouraged to take action: from commenting to sharing to inquiring about a product or service. 10. Tell your readers 2-‐3 times within your post, "whats in it for me.” Ensure your readers understand the value of your post by frequently building on the big benefit stated in your headline. 11. Include a call to action at the end of your post. Don’t assume your readers know what action your want them to take. Tell your readers exactly what to do next in one to two short sentences. A call to action encourages reader response. Guide to Style and Writing: Basic Tenets of to Writing Well The following checklist can serve as a guide to writing well. 1. Is each sentence clear and complete? 2. Can any short, choppy sentences be improved by combining them? 3. Can any wordy sentences be made more concise? 4. Is each word in the essay appropriate and effective? 5. Is each word spelled correctly? 6. Check the Punctuation. Pay attention to capitalized words, missing or extra commas, periods used incorrectly and so on. 7. Read it Backwards to spot errors. When writing we usually become blind to our own mistakes. In order to break this pattern you can read the text backwards, word by word. 8. Does each verb agree with its subject? 9. Are all verb forms correct and consistent? 10. Do pronouns refer clearly to the appropriate nouns? 11. Do all modifying words and phrases refer clearly to the words they are intended to modify?