Tuesday, 29 March 2011

How to Save Time on Twitter

It can be difficult to find the time to maintain an interesting and informative Twitter account in order to obtain new followers and maintain existing ones.

With over 65 million tweets every day, Twitter can be an important tool for businesses if used effectively. Here are some tips on how you can use Twitter effectively without having to spend much of your time doing so:

1. Follow other's lists
Lists are often used to keep up with what is happening in industries you are interested in and to connect with relevant people. Sites such as "Listorious" can be used to search other people's lists by topic (for example, you could search fashion to find a large number of users relating to that industry).
Once you have found these lists, be sure to follow the accounts you find most interesting so you can receive relevant information.

2. Use Microlists
Once you start to follow more people, it can be hard to absorb all the information you receive in your Twitter feed. By creating microlists of key people to follow, you can easily stay on top of the information they are tweeting. For example, you could have a microlist just for news sources and journalists, one for businesses relating to your industry, etc. As you follow new people, you can also add them to your lists as appropriate.

3. Make Use of of Keywords and Hashtags
These features make it easy to find relevant information currently trending on Twitter. They allow you to quickly scan for content that you find interesting and would like to retweet for your followers. Also, if you use keywords and hashtags you will turn up in the searches of other users.

4. Use Existing Content
Chances are you already have a company blog and/or website. These contain lots of great content you've already researched and written about. An effective way to catch people's attention is to use quotes from the article as tweets and link back to that specific blog in the tweet.

5. Use Tools to Make Routine Processes Automatic
There are many routine activities on Twitter that can be automated. Tools can be used, such as SocialOomph, to send an automated direct message to your followers thanking them. Ping.fm lets you update various statuses (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogger, etc) at the same time from one site.
You can also develop tweets in bulk and schedule them to go out later using tools such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and Twaitter.

6. Share the Work
If you are a company of more than a few people, you most likely have several employees that are trustworthy enough to tweet and maintain other social networking profiles on behalf of the company. Set some ground rules, review protocol and outline what you hope to achieve with Twitter, then let them try it out. Monitor their tweets to make sure they are representing your company correctly.

7. Experiment!
Rather than spending all your time planning, start trying new things. Have your employees each write blog posts and then spend time going over them, commenting on them and promoting them. Use your time to increase your company's exposure instead of tediously planning how to do this.

Happy tweeting!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Essentials for a Company Social Networking Policy

With the ever increasing popularity of social networking websites, businesses are finding it difficult to adapt to employees tweeting, updating their statuses and blogging in the workplace or about the workplace. Their response has been to simply block or ban these activities, however employers are now learning that social networking can have its advantages for businesses.

Employees in the community can enhance the company's reputation as well as bring in more business, as long as social networking is used correctly. Large companies especially are encouraging their employees to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and various blogs and forums to communicate positively about their business. Some control, however, is necessary to ensure that employees are using common sense. Rules must be presented both with regard to the company's social network as well as networking outside of that if employees are identifying themselves as representatives of your business. Even if your business decides to simply ban social networking at the company level, employees may still be publishing posts, pictures, and more that could harm the reputation of your company. This is why it is important to establish a social networking policy.

Here are our five most helpful tips for establishing an effective company social networking policy:

1. A Clear Company Philosophy
You must first decide what the company's overall attitude toward social networking it is. Define the parameters of social networking use -whether you will ban it, limit the websites employees can use or give full access and encourage them to use it and incorporate it into their working time.

2. The Definition of "Social Networking"
Some social networking may not have as clear a definition as Facebook or LinkedIn. For example, would you consider it appropriate for your employees to use Flickr (a photo-sharing website), Indaba (a site musicians use to collaborate), or LiveJournal (a personal blogging site)? It is important to set well defined rules for social networking, as you may lose productivity if too many websites are being used.

3. Identifying as an Employee of the Company
It is important to define in your policy whether employees can identify on their social networking websites as employees of your company. As most social networking websites have areas in profiles for this information, this is an important parameter to define. If you do allow employees to associate with your company on their website and/or blog, ensure that you have policies clearly defining what they can and can't do and, in the case of a blog, have your employee write a disclaimer that their views do not represent the views of the company.

4. Recommending Others and Referring to Clients, Customers or Partners
Some websites, such as LinkedIn, allow members to write recommendations for other members. If your employee has identified as such on the website, it could appear that it is your company writing a recommendation for this individual. As such, businesses often include rules about such recommendations in their policies.
It is also important to ensure employees do not reference clients, customers or partners without their express permission to do so, as even a positive reference could be taken as a negative one, and also competition may be able to use it to your company's disadvantage.

5. Confidentiality, Copyright and Other Issues
Though confidentiality may seem like an obvious practice to employees, social networking sites are often informal and so confidentiality is often forgotten. Companies often forbid the sharing of company information on such sites, even in private messages. Be sure to explicitly tell employees what cannot be shared, such as financial information, intellectual property, customer information, etc.
You should also ensure that employees are aware they cannot post someone else's work without permission and that there are serious consequences to such acts as libel or defamation of character, such as lawsuits against them or even against the company itself.

Social networking can be a positive asset for companies if used correctly. Check back regularly for more helpful tips about social networking and computer use in general. We also offer courses on the subject - visit http://www.escomputertraining.com/ for full course descriptions, dates and locations.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Why Twitter Matters

In the five years or so since its inception, the social networking website Twitter has become one of the most popular forms of communicating between celebrities, colleagues, friends, classmates and everyone in between.

It seems that Twitter is well on its way to becoming the premier source of news for a great portion of the population. The first major event to be written about on Twitter was the earthquake that shook China in May of 2008. Some past events of note that were tweeted about before any other form of communication was used include:

The Mars excursion in June of 2008, when the Mars Rover found ice on the red planet. Twitter was used first to share the news.
In February 2011 when Tony Clement overturned the ruling of the CRTC on usage-based billing, followers on Twitter were the first to be informed.
In addition, Twitter was crucial in Barack Obama's campaign for President in 2008, for the protesters in Iran, also in 2008, and in other major global events.

When Oprah joined Twitter in 2009, she gained 76,000 followers within 15 minutes. When Charlie Sheen joined this past month he had one million followers in 24 hours.  Given that Twitter has approximately 20 million users, these numbers are staggering.

We will continue to regularly post tips and tricks for creating and maintaining your own Twitter account, whether it is to promote your business, get up-to-the-minute news or to simply keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues.

To get you started, here is a link to Twitter's own guide to the best practices to use when using their site:

ES Computer Training has a Twitter account. Follow us for updates about social networking, upcoming courses and interesting facts and stories from around the world!

Our Social Networking course is available for a variety of professionals and covers not only Twitter but also Facebook, LinkedIn, blogging and forums. For dates and locations, see http://www.escomputertraining.com/

Thursday, 17 March 2011

The Corporate Role of Facebook

 Facebook has developed into an extremely useful tool for businesses and their employees. Professional connections can be developed and maintained, Facebook contacts ("friends") can be invited to events relating to your business, and products can be marketed.

Here are some helpful tips about what corporations are and/or should be doing with regard to Facebook: 

1.       Develop a strategy.
2.       Set policy, then advise, train and guide with personnel.
3.       Provide policy and pitfalls
a.       Security settings:  friends, friends of friends
b.      Photographs -  materials and recommendations
c.       Personal and Professional demarcation
d.      Who should use Facebook professionally
4.       Provide material:
a.       Newsletter and interesting information in electronic form that the advisor / broker / agent can share with the client network
b.      Website links
c.       Blog or Forum Page where advisor / broker / agent can contribute and also link to their network.
d.      Photos in business and business casual settings
e.      Information regarding public events, sponsorships for the public
5.       Review and Manage
a.       Solicit feedback from advisors / brokers / agents
b.      Review frequency and relevance and match to objectives.
c.       Review support system and make adjustments. 

Check out this helpful article about marketing a business through Facebook:
If you're looking to learn more about Facebook and other social media, http://www.escomputertraining.com/ has a full list of courses and schedules for professionals looking to expand their business through the ever growing social networking phenomenon.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Article about applying social media: http://ping.fm/h0aVR

How to Use Facebook for Business

Facebook has approximately 550 million users. Approximately 20 million of these users are here in Canada. More often than not, a business' clients and potential clients are active on Facebook, providing businesses with an unprecedented opportunity to communicate with clients on a much more personal and in depth level on a more regular basis.

When using Facebook for networking:
  • Ensure that a social network of contacts is created and maintained
  • Ensure the message you wish to get across is viewable by you, your friends and friends of friends, helping to expand your network
  • Use tools allowing you to put specials, programs and charity events out there, as well as information without relying on traditional methods (i.e. press releases, newspaper ads, etc)
  • Facebook has become a powerful referral tool. Try to use this to your advantage
Keep in mind that your contacts on Facebook have actively chosen you to keep in contact with via status updates, messages, pictures, events and more. Use this to your advantage and ensure that you maintain all professional relationships through Facebook so that you can effectively have a more successful business through client and colleague relationships.

Here's a link about using Facebook to market businesses:
And check out this link for other effective ways to improve customer marketing:
Workshop in Microsoft Project for Architects and Construction in Hamilton today! www.escomputertraining.com

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Helpful tips for using Twitter efficiently. http://ping.fm/RnnbB
Check out our blog http://ping.fm/TXz58 for info on social media facebook twitter and linkedin

How to Manage Your Business Facebook Profile

Facebook   can   be used as a highly effective business tool to promote your business and give you access to a large potential global audience   Here is a ‘to-do’ list of   suggestions for Facebook use in your business.  

Manage your profile:

1.       Establish a business account if you don’t already have one.
2.       Fill out your profile to earn trust.  Omit religious and political information.
3.       Install appropriate applications to integrate feeds from your blog and other social media accounts into your Facebook profile.
4.       Keep any personal parts of your profile private through Settings.
5.       Create friends lists such as “Work,” “Family” and “Limited Profile” for finer-grained control over your profile privacy.
6.       Post a professional or business casual photos of yourself to reinforce your brand.
7.       Limit business contacts’ access to personal photos.
8.       Post your newsletter subscription information and archives somewhere in your profile.

Monday, 14 March 2011

http://ping.fm/MkGCc Our next workshop is in Ottawa Mar 17

5 Questions Small Businesses Need to Ask About Social Media Marketing

Small business owners and employees are often confronted with the idea that they "need to communicate with their customer" or they "need to serve their customer" but are often not provided with ways of carrying out these actions.

What small businesses often need is efficient and widespread marketing so as to reach the largest amount of people while maintaining efficient business operations and manpower.

Here are five questions small business should be asking about social media marketing in determining what is best for them and their business:

1) Do I know enough about social media marketing to make the right decision for my business?  Not knowing the possibilities would be the same disadvantage as operating a business without knowing such a thing as television advertising existed.
2) What is mybusiness strategy and how could a social toolkit align with my key initiatives?
3) Are my customers using the social web?
4) Are my competitors using this channel, and what are the competitive implications if I decide to participate or not?  Could I create advantage by being an early adopter?
5) Do I have the resources, or can I acquire the resources, to conduct limited, focused experiments to see if working through the social web can provide a cost-benefit exceeding traditional advertising?

Social Networking and How It Affects Us

As a computer training company, we deal with a variety of professionals in fields such as Real Estate, Financial Planning and Insurance. Though these professions all involve targeting different demographics, they can all benefit from what is now called "social networking."

Through the use of social media websites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, professionals can reach a wide range of people, most of whom would have otherwise been unaware of the services provided by these professionals.

Visit http://www.escomputertraining.com/ for a full range of course descriptions and schedules (we do on-site classes as well) for classes across Ontario. Happy blogging!