Every Business Needs a Social Media Policy

Social media is here to stay, and the nearly 3 billion people who maintain an active social media presence would agree. However, when employees are linked to a business, that business’ reputation can either be crippled by an employee’s social media use or enhanced.

Too often we hear about companies coming under fire for something an employee has done, said or shared on social media.

Prohibiting your employees from using social media is not realistic and a violation of their privacy. However, having a strong social media policy drafted for your place of business is a legal and effective tool to utilize. It also allows your employees to become part of the “team building” of your online social media presence.

CC Communications can help you develop an effective social media policy to protect your employees, your company’s reputation, and to enhance your online brand presence.

In this regard, your policy should not be a list of things your employees are not allowed to do. Avoid a long list of restrictions, and instead focus on what your employees are allowed and encouraged to share.

Your employees can be the best advocates for your business. The messages about your products or services can be more credible when coming from an employee. Encourage your staff to use social media to promote products or services they themselves use or currently would recommend to friends and family. It allows your employees the opportunity to have a voice about the products and services they find useful.

Use it as an educational tool

Your social media policy should educate your employees – many people do not realize the information they share on social media can be view virally. Your policy should enhance employee knowledge of how to properly use using privacy settings on social media. Such settings are continuously changing and are dependent upon which social media network you are referencing. It is therefore important to research privacy information prior to the development of your social media policy in order to ensure it is relevant.

Remind your staff that nothing shared online is truly private, and once something is published online, it is difficult for it to be permanently deleted. Use your social media policy as a tool to encourage your staff to #ConnectMORE but, in a more conscientious way!

Be specific!

Before developing a social media policy, know your expectations and limitations.

For instance, the GAP clothing company has a social media policy explicitly states:

 “Don’t even think about it…. Talking about financial information, sales trends, strategies, forecasts, legal issues, future promotional activities. Giving out personal information about customers or employees. Posting confidential or non-public information. Responding to an offensive or negative post by a customer. There’s no winner in that game.”

Your social media policy protects your brand’s image, outlines your expectations and helps you build a team dedicated to the enhancement of your “online goals” for your business. Book your FREE 30 minute consultation with CC Communications regarding the drafting and finalizing of your social media policy today.

3 reasons why your business needs a Professional Photographer

Professional photography is no longer an optional business expense – more businesses, of all sizes, are choosing to have product photographed by a professional. Doing so can enhance the brand image of your business online, especially on social media platforms such as Facebook.

To grow your online business, you can benefit from hiring a professional photographer.

Here are some ways professional photography can help you #ConnectMORE with your customers:

Increase Sales and Brand Awareness

Featuring low resolution or poor quality images on your website and social media channels can give your brand an unprofessional reputation. Ebay reported that listings with better photo quality are ten times more successful, which makes sense – people like to buy products that look good! They also like to see the features of the product before making a purchase.

Composition and lighting become very important and the use of a variety of camera settings can help accurately represent and enhance the appearance of your product. Professionals know how to position your product to make it look appealing – “Photograph my good side!”

This is particularly important for realtors looking to showcase their listings online. High quality photos can improve the look of a home and add value to your listing.

Photos captured with wide angles and an abundance of light can allow online viewers the opportunity to consider booking a walk through. Photos that capture the home in a real-life situation look more polished and professional compared to unflattering, blurred photos captured with your mobile device. Having professional photos taken of a listing also informs potential buyers that you have made an investment in a worth-while listing!

When you schedule your FREE 30 minute consultation with CC Communications, we will show you how can use professional photography to improve brand recognition as well as increase your sales.

Improve your Social Media Image

Images uploaded to social channels can be captured with your mobile phone very conveniently. However, the images captured with your mobile device may appear small, grainy, and compressed when uploaded.

Although phone cameras are becoming more advanced, a professional DSLR digital camera can produce high-quality images due to a variety of manual settings including the ability to adjust aperture, shutter speed, and ISO lighting to capture a perfect shot.

Most mobile device cameras operate in an automatic mode, which limits these functions. In addition, social channels also compress the photos you upload affecting their visual appearance so it is important to consider having the highest quality photo to begin with.

Facebook recommends that images with a resolution of at least 1024 x 1024 be used to avoid visual distortions when uploaded.

For product photos, a white background is also recommended and the use of a well lit area. Products should also be photographed up close and, if possible, active in a real-life situation.

Facebook discourages the use of images containing text or watermarks, as well as, offensive content.

Establish a Personal Connection 

When it comes to your online presence, personalized and relevant photos are recommended. Stock images, are easily replicated by a variety of businesses for a variety of purposes and can fail to showcase your unique brand. To stand out, your business should use “organic” photos that specifically refer to your business location, product selection, and brand.

Marketing Experiments recently found that when a stock image of a model was used in comparison to a picture of a real employee on the homepage of a website, visitors were 35% more interactive and willing to sign up for a consultation. The study resulted in this key principle: An image is only as valuable as the value it communicates.

Personal and unique photos can translate into more conversions and actions on your website from new visitors.

A professional photographer has the equipment and technical knowledge to take photos that can increase your sales, boost social engagement and give your customers a personal connection with your brand.

At CC Communications, we can help you come up with relevant and personal image concepts, and professionally photograph and edit photos before optimizing them for online use.

If you would like to learn more about how our professional photography services can help your business #ConnectMORE, schedule your FREE 30 minute consultation with us today!

The Power of the #Hashtag: 3 Ways to Promote Your Brand

Once seen only as your phone’s pound sign, hashtags now have a powerful role on social media platforms.

If you attended our #ConnectMORE Social Media Seminar in May, you would have learned that using hashtags can expand your brand’s reach by bringing attention to your social media platforms through the use of innovative and creative hashtags. Hashtags are words or phrases that are preceded by the “#” symbol which act as links to related content. This helps string related content together on various social media platforms and provides social media users with a unique opportunity to receive a substantial amount of information by clicking on a hashtag. For this reason, utilizing hashtags can do wonders for your online presence, if used properly and in moderation.

For example our #ConnectMORE hashtag is used to reference CC Communications unique capability to provide online content for your website and social media platforms that is both engaging, conversational and relationship building.

On Instagram, posts with at least one hashtag receive nearly 13% more engagement than posts with none. Adding a hashtag to your tweet on Twitter or your post on Google+ is also statistically proven to give you twice the amount of engagement compared to posts that do not use hashtags!

Here are three ways you can you use #hashtags to promote your brand:

1) Be Specific

The more specific you are when using a hashtag, the better. It is always good to use a hashtag that is unique to your business. Find one or two existing hashtags that will help serve to explain your services and or product.

One prime example is Guinness: the brand uses very specific hashtags on Instagram to maximize their digital reach. To promote their new ale, the brand strategically “hashtagged” certain words that were relevant to their content. They leveraged the existing popularity of the #BeerandFood and #Dublin hashtags on Instagram to ensure that users who searched for those hashtags or utilized regularly would come across their branded content.

2) Be Unique

Come up with a snappy, easy-to-remember hashtag for special events, deals or promotions to facilitate easy sharing. Some of the most used hashtags are popular because they are easy to remember, or funny.

Destination British Columbia used the easy to remember hashtag #exploreBC when sharing photos of the province as an initiative to help promote tourism. The hashtag ended up being a way for tourists and residents to share their own photos of British Colombia. By clicking on the hashtag, social media users were able to browse photos others took in the area.

Lay’s Potato Chips encouraged people to pitch their best potato chip flavor ideas for their “Do Us a Flavor” contest. With the goal to engage users and collect ideas, consumers were invited to submit their flavor ideas on Twitter and Instagram along with the hashtag #DoUsAFlavor. By creating this unique hashtag, Lay’s was able to easily track contest entries and provide contestants with the opportunity to view other entries. 

During your FREE 30 minute consultation with us, CC Communications will show you more examples of unique hashtags and give you tips on generating your own brand-specific hashtag to increase engagement with your customers!

This brings us to our final tip:

3) Do Your Research

Take the time to discover the most popular hashtags on a specific subject for each social media network.

Before creating a hashtag specific to your business, be sure to do a search of the hashtag to make sure it is not already in use by another organization and that it does not have any alternative meanings that could obscure your brand’s message.

However, finding the most relevant and useful hashtags to promote your content can be tough – if you would like some help from the experts at CC Communications, drop us a line to find out more about our social media management services and our ability to create a unique hashtag for you!

Remember to be specific, be unique and do your research first! If you would like to learn more about social media and hashtags, join us at one of our Social Media seminars – sign up here to be the first to know when new seminars are announced.

What’s SEO?

I’m glad you asked.

The three letter acronym stands for Search Engine Optimization and refers to the use of keywords to perform better than competitors in a search engine – you know, have your website at the top of a search engine list.

Most notably, Google is a primary search engine and for this reason it is important to understands what keywords people are actively searching on Google to land on your business website. However, search engines like Google have their limitations and regulations. If you aren’t aware of these so-called rules that are continuously changing, the less likely your business website is to show up in a search result.

You have probably received calls from Google asking you to purchase Ad space. Although you will receive a boost in viewership, it is important to remember that you are doling out cash to appear higher than other websites and will have to continue to dole out cash to remain in that spot, or significantly more cash to appear higher.

I recommend starting off organically. What does that mean?

Organically, refers to originality; showing off your brand’s uniqueness; because even though two businesses can sell grocery products, there’s something “different” about your product, service, etc.

CC Communications uses the word “organically” often. We recommend researching keywords that pertain to your sector of business and utilizing them in a strategic manner to receive higher views. It really is about maintenance and continual management. If you want to maintain your “search engine status” it requires active, consistent, content writing. Your website should have a blog! You should be active on social media! You should ultimately try to #ConnectMORE with your followers and viewers!

We realize people want to be engaged. They do not want to follow an inactive Facebook page or worse for you, one that repeats the content of another provider. People do not want to visit out-dated websites or spend time searching for content regarding your services.

Having multiple social media platforms in additional to a well maintained website are excellent ways to “organically” grow your ranking on a search engine and boost engagement!

However, I understand. Busy business owners don’t have time to perform the research required for their sector of business, let alone the time to write content, manage it, and then strategize. Let CC Communications help!

Book your FREE 30 minute consultation to grow your business’ SEO ranking today! Let’s talk!

It’s time to #ConnectMORE with your online audience!

Business owners recognize the power and potential social media networks offer. Having a Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIN, or Twitter account keeps you in contact with your clients and offers potential customers the opportunity to become familiar with your brand.

Learn what it takes to be successful at social media marketing during CC Communications #ConnectMORE social media seminar on May 31st at Solo Trattoria from 5:30 pm until 8:30 pm. I will explain key terms such as “SEO” (search engine optimization) and the importance of using #Hashtags!

In addition, you will learn how to develop a strategy to put “promoted ads” on Facebook to use and identify new ways to start finding customers online. You will also learn how to also measure the success of your efforts while utilizing new information regarding the ever-changing world of digital marketing!

Avoid the costly mistake of going it alone and running campaigns without a goal in mind. Save time and marketing dollars by becoming more proficient in understand HOW social media platforms operate. I train business owners how to create content and use social media to help reach their overall business goals.

In this seminar, I’ll show you how to add a social component to your online approach by looking at your products and services from a customers point-of-view. I’ll give you ideas on how to develop and manage your upcoming posts and identify key differences in your current approach to help you build a strategy for future content creation and management.

Also enjoy the opportunity to network with others and enjoy special finger foods prepared for us while taking in a fresh new approach to the potential social media marketing has to offer your growing business and brand.

Click here to purchase your ticket and reserve your spot today!