Archive for October, 2009

Are You Ready For Social Media?

By Rachel Lufkin, BERKMAN

While visiting my parents recently, my father told me he had been in a meeting with the Board of Directors for the local credit union when all of the members of the Board were asked if they had a Facebook page. My dad, still having two teenagers at home, was the only one in the room who responded affirmatively. Apparently, the credit union was trying to reach out to a younger audience, but being mostly what I’ll call “well-established” business men and women and largely unfamiliar with social media strategies, they were unsure if they were really ready to go down that road.

I believe this sentiment is echoed by many people/businesses, who hearing of social media and the influence it can have on their target audiences, want to embrace this new means of communication but are unsure as to their own abilities to implement social media tactics.

That being said, here are just a few things to consider when determining if you are ready for social media.

Do you have the people/time to support a social media effort?

Social media efforts can be very time consuming. Before starting a social media campaign, ensure you are willing to dedicate the time and personnel necessary for a successful campaign.

Are you ready to participate in the conversation and do more listening than talking?

Companies used to just create key messages and then tell them to the appropriate audience. Today, companies who engage in social media are instead creating an open, multi-sided conversation. You must be prepared to relinquish some control over the message, listening and responding to what people are saying about your company and/or product.

Are your target audiences using social media venues to communicate?

Be sure social media strategies will help you communicate with decision makers who can affect your bottom line.

Are you dedicated to seeing the social media project through?

It isn’t uncommon for people to open a Twitter account, tweet like mad for a few weeks/months, and then lose interest. If you’re planning to use social media, start it knowing that it is important to see the project all the way through to get results.

Do you have a plan?

Social media can be addictive and time consuming, so spend your time on the outlets that will have the biggest impact for your company. Know who will be primarily responsible for implementing the strategy. Like traditional communication strategy, ensure that messaging is clear and consistent across all social media sites for branding purposes.

How to Build a More Sustainable Business

Today is Blog Action Day, an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking discussion around an issue of global importance. This year’s theme is climate change, prompting us to focus our blog post this week on what businesses can do to help protect the environment. Credit for these tips goes to our valued client, SANYO North America, a “leading company for Energy and Environment”. Thank you SANYO for your commitment to our world’s environmental future!

Today, it’s more important than ever for businesses to be mindful of the environment. However, when it comes to actually making real changes that will reduce their environmental footprint, many organizations don’t know where to start. Therefore, below are five simple ways that today’s companies can contribute to a greener future.

1. Set realistic goals and make small, achievable changes over time: Building a sustainable business practice requires long-term planning and implementation across the entire organization. Therefore, setting realistic sustainability goals and benchmarks is the key to success. While a major change, such as converting your office’s energy use to solar power takes planning and financial resources, you can start to enforce greener practices across the organization by changing simple everyday behaviors and procedures. For instance, turn out the lights when not in use, recycle paper and trash, and consider using rechargeable batteries in electronic devices. All of these small changes make a big difference long-term.

2. Make sustainability a core part of your company’s vision and values: Transforming your business practices and behaviors to become environmentally responsible requires a shared commitment and vision among everyone in the organization, from senior management down to support staff.  Therefore, sustainability must be a valued part of your company’s vision and values. This requires integrating environmental goals and practices into the overall business strategy and committing to actual change within your company. A good place to start is to build an environmental business plan or to establish a “sustainability task force” among key members of your team. 

3. Encourage senior management to make an investment in sustainability by helping them understand the upside for your business: Market research shows that customers prefer to buy products and services from companies that are sustainable. Therefore, it’s important to recognize that even if implementing greener practices requires an ongoing investment, it will make a positive impact on your company’s bottom-line. Therefore, it’s important to help senior management recognize the benefits of going green for your company in order to get them behind your desired initiatives.

4. Get involved in worthwhile activities and causes that help protect the environment: Show your company’s commitment to environmental responsibility by participating in related activities and causes. This could be done through volunteering in the community or making a donation to a charity or cause that your staff believes in.

5. Promote your company’s strides in being more environmentally responsible to customers, partners and investors: Don’t keep your company’s commitment to the environment a secret. Promoting the strides that your business continually makes in being more eco-conscious should be shared widely with your customers, partners, investors, and the general public. Share your organization’s ongoing sustainability initiatives and achievements in your press releases, customer e-newsletters, on your corporate Web site, etc.

While creating a sustainable business practice requires time and consistency, implementing positive changes within the organization, even small ones, go a long way. Please visit to join the discussion on climate change.