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Tag: policies and procedures

I read a post this week about services that allow small businesses to create their own mobile apps.  You can read it here: HOW TO: Build an App for Your Small Business.

This has a number of implications for direct sellers.  On the one hand, I think it’s really exciting that mobile app development is becoming a lot more accessible to even small direct sales companies.  This can help to level the playing field a bit. But on the other hand, does this open up mobile app development to our consultant base?  What would they DO with their own mobile app?  Would it be beneficial for the brand or not?  Do we now need to start considering policy that takes into account the fact that the sales force can pretty much point and click their way to their own mobile app?

I haven’t tested any of the services in this article yet. (If you have, I would love to read about it in the comments!)  But I think it opens up a lot of conversations that we should have next week at the DSA Be Connected conference in Las Vegas.  Will you be there?  If so, please say hello to me and the entire Luce & Associates team.  We’d love to meet you!

And be sure you’re subscribed to this blog.  We’ll be posting updates from the conference.

Jennifer Fong

Jennifer Fong helps direct sales companies leverage the power of social media marketing to increase sales and recruiting, and manage online brand perception.  She provides strategic social media consulting to companies, as well as conference speaking and training. To learn more about how Jennifer can help your company, visit http://luceandassociates.com/Jennifer-Fong.html.  You can also check out her direct sales and social media blog at http://www.jenfongspeaks.com, and her Facebook Page at http://facebook.com/jenfongspeaks.

One of the biggest questions my clients often asked is related to social media policy.  After all, many companies have policies and procedures that were established years ago, before social media was even invented.  Our entire industry has approached social media with trepidation…we know that what is said can last a really long time, and is front and center for regulators to see.  How do we ensure that what is said is in compliance with our regulated industry?

We also have to face the facts as an industry…the salesforce IS using social media, whether we’re prepared for it or not.  Companies that have neglected social media policy are finding that a number of things are being done by well-meaning consultants that infringe on company trademark rights and are often in violation of the terms of service of individual social networking sites.  This all reflects upon your company.

So that brings us to the question…What needs to be added to your consultant policies and procedures to protect the company, along with the salesforce?  Here are a few things I often recommend to my clients:

  1. Create an independent consultant logo. It is sometimes hard for consumers to identify when they are dealing with a consultant or the company when online.  Help make it crystal clear…provide an independent consultant logo that clearly identifies who the consumer is dealing with.
  2. Prohibit use of the company name in domain names, social networking profiles, and email addresses. After all, it’s your trademark.  Consultants must use it in the ways you specify.  You want to reserve use of the corporate name for your own corporate profiles.  Consultants are better off using their own names anyway, since the goal for social media marketing is to build relationships with people.
  3. Media inquiries should include significant bloggers. Most policies require distributors to refer media interview requests to the company, especially if they are national media outlets.  I recommend that companies add bloggers with 1,000 or more unique monthly visitors to this policy.  After all, many reporters from major publications source their stories from blogs these days.  Make sure that the story that is getting out about your company is the one you want told.
  4. Consultant release for social media pictures and comments. Your consultants will be interacting with the company social media presences often.  Wouldn’t it be nice to use some of those spontaneous testimonials and other ideas?  I suggest that my clients add a policy giving them blanket permission to use the content that consultants volunteer on these sites.
  5. Consultants shouldn’t respond to negative comments they find online. We all know about those folks online who, justified or not, seem to exist solely to bash the company.  And your consultants, who love the company, will automatically want to jump in and defend the company vigorously.  However, every one of these comments drives the relevance of that negative post up in the search engine rankings.  Often, it’s better just to leave the negative post alone.  I often recommend a policy that suggests notifying the company of negative posts, instead of engaging.

These are just a few of the things you should add to your company’s social media policy, but hopefully they’ll get you thinking about the other ways you can help consultants interact responsibly online, in a way that benefits their businesses.  If you’d like additional guidance on creating social media policies for your business, feel free to contact us at Luce & Associates.  We’ve helped lots of companies in our industry put into place sound social media policies that protect both the company and its consultants.

What policies has your company put into place to address social media marketing?  Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.

Jennifer Fong

Jennifer Fong helps direct sales companies leverage the power of social media marketing to increase sales and recruiting, and manage online brand perception. To learn more about how Jennifer can help your company, visit http://luceandassociates.com/Jennifer-Fong.html.  You can also check out her direct sales and social media blog at http://www.jenfongspeaks.com.

Image Credit: ifindkarma