It’s 11:00 in the Twitterverse. Do you know where your people are?

One topic that we’ve been spending a lot of time discussing with clients is corporate social media policies.

Due the medium’s explosive growth (see Social Media Counter post) companies are having a real challenge managing employees’ use of social media and networks.  On the one hand, these tools make up the lingua franca of a fast growing market segment. On the other, using them without some forethought, knowledge, and structure can be a dicey proposition at best. The challenge is compounded when many of us use these tools at work for both business and fun.

What to do then?  First, train both executives and employees about the dos and don’ts of social media.  Second, develop a social media policy that prescribes what is permitted and what is not.

Drug giant Roche recently published guidelines for social media. They’re written for employees, but posted for all the world to see. The Social Media Principles, which incorporate elements from the company’s code of conduct, guide employees on both personal and professional social media use.  Here is the full article  –  To help you get going, here is a link to the Social Media Principles  These should give you a head start in crafting your own.

Does your company have a social media policy? We’d love to hear from you.  Post your comments, thoughts, and ideas below.

Your Company Sucks

Just kidding. You know we love our clients. But someone, somewhere on the vast network we call the Internet, may be saying this about your company.  The better known your brand and your products, the greater the chance that someone is taking a pot shot at you.  The issue is not whether the criticism is justified but how quickly you find out about, and respond to, it.  The difference in finding out within hours as opposed to days or weeks can be measured in millions of dollars and, once in a while, can even become a matter of survival.

If your company was “slammed” for no good reason, you can set the record straight.  If the criticism is justified, you can fix it quickly and win points for your lightening-speed response and exemplary customer service — a perfect opportunity to make lemonade from the lemons you’ve been handed.

So how do we find out as soon as possible? By using a set of tools readily available online. We’ve covered some of these before, but they are worth mentioning again:

1. Google Alerts —  A content monitoring service, offered by the search engine company Google, that automatically notifies users when new content from news, web, blogs, video and/or discussion groups matches a set of search terms selected by the user.  The service is free with a Google account and is easy to set up.  The key is to set up alerts for numerous terms, including product names, as well as those of key executives.  I would even go as far as to suggest that one of your alert terms should be “your company name sucks”.  Most of our clients have been using Google Alerts for a while and we are working with them to gain even better leverage with this tool.

With Twitter growing by leaps and bounds on a daily basis, you absolutely have to monitor conversation in the Twitterverse.  Recent stats tell us that users currently generate 2 billion (that’s a “B”) per month.

I previously recommended in this space Tweet Beep ( which enables anyone to receive alerts by email whenever a specific word or phrase is tweeted on Twitter.  Here are a couple of other options for Twitter:

2.  Tweet Alarm –

3.  Tweet Alerts –  With this service, you have a number of options when it comes to notifications, including SMS.

To see the effectiveness of Twitter as a customer response and service tool, Comcast is the classic example. Read the these stories and you’ll become a believer:

Savvy online service can win back customers –

My @ComcastCares Customer Service Story –

What’s up Tweety Bird?

Twitter, Twitter, Twitter.  That’s all I seem to be hearing these days.  Granted, when your user base is growing at the pace of 300,000 accounts everyday (over 105 million users to date), you are bound to garner some attention. Just to put it in context, 4 billion tweets were posted on Twitter  in the first quarter of 2010.  That’s a lot of conversations.

I must admit that I was not an immediate Twitter convert.  For some reason, I really did not feel the need to know, in 140 characters bursts, what someone had for breakfast or dinner.  Fortunately, I regularly speak to people who are much wiser then me, and as a result have become a convert.

Due to the inordinate number of questions I get from clients about Twitter and its application to business, I am going to do two things.  First, I’m hosting a Webcast in the next few weeks to answer your questions. Second, my next few posts will highlight some powerful Twitter apps and their business utility.  The first one is TweetBeep (  It is very similar to Google Alerts but instead of searching the Web, it focuses on the Twitterverse.  Once you register (free) you are asked to create a set of key words or phrases.  Anytime these appear in a publicly available Twitter conversation (most are), you will receive an email alert.

How is this useful, you might ask?  It can give you a head’s up on tweets mentioning your products, services, customer service or other facets of your business.  When the chatter is positive, you may have yourself some champions.  When, on the other hand, the tweets are negative, it enables you to very quickly address whatever the issues may be. Finding out about negative comments right away, as opposed to waiting until they wind their way through the Web, can save time, money and brand equity (what old fashioned marketers call reputation).  Try it out and let me know what you think by posting a comment.

Threat Protection in the Age of Social Networking

A good article appeared in Processor on Threat Protection in the Age of Social Networking.  It highlighted the tension that exists between IT executives and employees about access during work hours, filtering and monitoring.  One stat cited from an April 2009 Deloitte LLP study found that22% of employees use social networking sites at work five times a week, and 53% feel these activities are none of the company’s business”.  

This study, and others cited in the article, demonstrates the importance of having a policy in place.  You can read the entire article at  Here is a good article about corporate social media policies –

Does your company have a policy in place? Is it contemplating one?  Let us know so we can learn together.