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Web of Influence and Social Media Policy

Question:

Discuss about the Report for Web of Influence and Social Media Policy.

Answer:

Internal Internet and Social Media Policy

a) This internal internet and social media policy is intended for all the employees of Tim Hortons working for the company all around the world.

The policy and guidelines will be applicable all the employees irrespective of their designations and departments.

The following guidelines is aimed at the employees of Tim Hortons who are working in the administrative offices of the respective cities, the in-house factories and also the employees working in the café outlets of Tim Hortons.

The policy will be applied irrespective of the fact if the internet is being accessed from the premises of the company, travelling for business purpose or working from home.

It applies to the access of internet on the devices that are company-owned or any devise connected to the company networks. To explain it further, the policy will apply to the employee who uses the company’s internet on the desk, and the employees who connect their mobile and tablets to the company’s wireless experts.  

Every employee must abide by the following guidelines so that he does not have to face any consequences for violating the internal internet and social media policy of the company.

Internet for official Use

Every company recognizes that accessing internet is a crucial part of any business activity. Therefore, every company encourages their employees to access the internet whenever it is required, to help the company reach its goals and objectives (Ugrin & Pearson, 2013). The company’s employees can use the internet for the following purposes:

  • Buy the required supplies for the office
  • Book tickets and accommodation for business travel
  • Perform market research to gauge the current standing of the business and monitor the activities of the competitors
  • Locate the potential partners and suppliers

Internet for Personal Use

The employees are entitled to use the internet for their personal uses only during the breaks.

Their use of internet for personal use should be limited to a minimum as it hampers the work productivity (Cooper et al., 2013). The employees should access the internet for personal use to a reasonable level only when they are not officially working. For example, they can access the company’s internet during lunch and breaks.

 The employees are prohibited from accessing or disseminating inappropriate content, because inappropriate matter will remain inappropriate irrespective of whether it is being accessed for personal or business reasons.

The use of personal internet by the employees should never hamper the internet service available to the other employees. For instance, downloading huge data files could slower the internet access for the rest of the employees.

For using electronic mail and electronic devises

Electronic Mails: The employees are allowed to access their email accounts for official purposes. They can do it whenever there is a need to make contact with another official with the purpose of carrying out work-duties.

The employees are not allowed to use the company’s official email account for personal purposes.

The employees are strictly prohibited from accessing someone else’s email account unless he or she is authorized to do so, because it goes against the company’s policy to sneak into someone else’s email account just to satisfy his or her curiosity (Moody & Siponen, 2013).  Employees engaging in such illegitimate activities can lead to severe disciplinary action by the authority.

The employees are not allowed to alter or modify the content of the email without the sender’s permission. They are also prohibited from sending mails to unauthorized receivers.

Personal Electronic Equipments:

The Company strictly prohibits its employees from using any type of cell phone or mobile camera, video camera, digital cameras to record the pictures of personal information that belongs to another individual in the company.

The employees can use these devises during the non-working hours and in ways that can pose no threat to the company (De Wet et al., 2016)

The employees are prohibited from the use of their personal computers and storage devises for accessing the company’s official information. Accessing the company’s official information through devises like CDs, floppy discs, USBs, smart phones can be harmful for the company as the data becomes prone to be of access by unauthorized sources.

To minimize the risk, the company has the right to monitor the personal devise of the employees like the above-mentioned devises. The employees will never like the company inspecting their personal devises so they should always make sure that they are abiding by the policies of the company (Shepherd & Klien, 2012).

Representation of the employees on social media:

The employees have the right to identify themselves as the company’s representatives on the social media. Numerous social media websites require its members to fill in information like job designation, work experience etc. The employees can easily include such information in their profile.

Representing one self on a social media website will mean that everything the employee posts on the website has the potential to reflect the company’s image (Gu et al., 2014). For the same reason, the employees should be extremely careful about the things they are posting on the social media.

The employees should make sure that they never post the following content:

The proprietary information about the company, which includes the details about their customers and clients

Defamatory, derogatory or inflammatory content

Posting information or pictures that suggests their involvement in any illegal activity

While posting any content on the social media, the employees must always include a disclaimer affirming the fact that all their posts shared on the social media are their personal opinion, and do not reflect the views of the company (Schalow et al., 2013).

The employees in this matter should also be sure of the audience that is subjected to their posts. They must ensure that the content they are sharing is accessible only by the authorized viewers (Kiser et al., 2012). This will cut out any possibility of any complications in the future.

Usage of Social media websites: The guidelines for employees regarding the usage of social media websites are as follows:

Facebook:  The employees are allowed to represent the company on Facebook. They must not ‘overshare’ the company’s operation details and must be transparent about whatever information they are sharing about the company. They must never exaggerate anything about the company and should never post inappropriate content.

Instagram: The same guidelines apply to the usage of this social media website. The employees are easily allowed to represent the company on instagram, but they should be careful of the content they are posting on the application or the website. They should always make sure if the audience of their posts are verified, and no private information about the company is being leaked. It is important to be present on social media websites for they are an important source of information about what the competitors of the company are up to.

Twitter:  Twitter is an enthralling social media website for those who are expressive beings. You can constantly update messages, pictures and videos and keep a track of those whom you want to. The same guidelines apply to the usage of this social media website as well. People get reactive on this particular social media website and hence the employee must be sure about the content that he or she is posting on twitter. A disclaimer must always be included at the end of his or her tweet declaring that the views expressed are entirely personal and has got nothing to do with the views of the company.

Violating the policies mentioned above by the employee will lead to serious consequences (Nancy et al., 2012). Accessing the company’s resources for producing or disseminating inappropriate content will subject the employee to strict disciplinary action. Using the company’s internet, computer system, in a way, which can hamper the company’s operations, will accuse the employee of violating the company’s laws and subject him to criminal prosecutions. It can also lead to the employee being dismissed from the company. The employees should remember that the company allowing them to access their resources is a privilege for the employee’s and not their right. Therefore, they should make responsible use of the internet and all the other devises that the company has to offer them in and outside the office premises.

Social Media Strategy

1) All the international brands are leveraging social media as their platform to stand out amongst their competitors, and win the hearts of their customers (Berthon et al., 2012). Tim Hortons has made the most of this opportunity and it uses this instrument to confirm its brand affinity among its target customers. The main purpose behind Tim Hortons revising its social media strategy is to:

A) Enhance the brand authority and visibility: The most important reason behind any brand engaging in social media activities is to revive the brand image of the company. The customers need to know that the company exists and is operating in full glory (Aral & Godes, 2013). The customers need to know that the company is taking every step towards the customer satisfaction. Getting involved into social media gives the company an opportunity to interact with the customers and hence they get to know them a lot closer.

B) Gain customer Insight: Social media is the most promising tool of gaining insight into the customer’s mindset. No Matter how much surveys a company conducts, but some of the most intriguing market research results can be gained only by interacting with the customers on the social media (Tussyadiah & Zach, 2013). Interacting with the customers on a one to one basis with the customers is an enthralling way Tim Hortons can enhance its social media identity.

C) Promotion of products: People already love whatever beverage and snacks Tim Hortons has to offer. However, if they do not remind the customers of its products and services, it will miss a number of customers due to the lack of personal interaction (Rantala & Antikainen, 2015). Advertising on social media will create a buzz among the target customers that will last for a long time.

2) Tim Hortons targets its products and services at almost everyone. It has to offer something or the other to each of its target segments. For children, they have donuts, biscuits, cookies and other nutritional baked products. To the teenagers, they offer a range of cold coffee flavors and sugary products. For Adults, Tim Horton flaunts succulent meals and sophisticated atmosphere. All in all Tim Hortons is for every one irrespective of their age and background. Since the market segmentation of Tim Hortons is so widely spread, they can make use of all the popular social media websites available on the internet.

Overhauling the company’s social media strategy will involve a rigorous presence of Tim Hortons on every social media website like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. Popularizing the use of hashtag, #DrinkCofeeLikeACanadian is an innovative way for the company to reach out to its customers. The revised social media strategy will help Tim Hortons connect to its customers in the following ways:

A) One on one interaction with the customers: As mentioned above, social media is the only platform, which gives the company an opportunity to communicate directly with the customers (Macnamara & Zerfass, 2012). This way they are able to create an even greater impact on its target audience. This will also enhance the recall value of the brand.

B) Help the company gain feedback directly from its customers: Most of the customers are interactive beings that will let the company know all the things that they like and dislike about them (Tsimonis & Dimitriadis, 2014). If the customers are happy with what Tim Hortons has to offer, the positive comments will encourage them to strive for even better service. If the customers are not happy and report grievances, this will also help Tim Hortons to redress their problems.

3) Each social media website serves a unique purpose and appeals to a particular demographic. Since there is no dearth of social media platforms on the internet, the company will always need to know about the attributes of each website before investing time and money into it (Castronovo & Huang, 2012). Going by the brand image Tim Hortons has, Facebook, Instagram, twitter and Pinterest are the most worthwhile social media websites to be used. The reason for this being that they have the highest concentration of demographics, Tim Hortons aims its marketing activities.

A) Facebook: Employing Facebook to overhaul Tim Horton’s brand image will build its reputation and brand loyalty among the customers. Since Facebook has the potential to reach millions with just one post, it will establish Tim Horton’s image as an authoritative brand. Facebook also gives the company an opportunity to create ads on its page that will lead the customers to company’s website. It is an ideal place to share detailed information about the company.

B) Twitter: This social media website is taking the social media users and the marketers by storm because of its power to share the quick updates and breaking news through a bare 140-character count (Burclaff & Johnson, 2014). Tim Hortons can make the most of this platform to promote its products, contests, and gain immediate feedback from the target audience. Creating the hash tag #DrinkCoffeeLikeACanadian would instantly go viral on twitter.

C) Instagram: Instagram is a brilliant way to market one’s products on the social media through short messages and visuals (Gensler et al., 2013). Instagram has millions of users, which gives Tim Hortons a great opportunity to engage directly with its customers. It can tell its stories to the customers through images. The key is to strike the perfect balance between business images and fun pictures.

The company can also devise contests for the customers, which is an innovative way to engage the audience with its marketing activities. It can ask them to share those images with their friends on the promise of a certain gift prize. This will lead to the company’s promotion through Word Of Mouth.

D) Pinterest: Pinterest is like an online version of a scrapbook, which can display a company’s products and services through eye-catching images. It provokes immediate response from the customers (Rapp et al., 2013). Since it gives an opportunity to its customers to customize their search through highly defined classifications, Tim Hortons will be able to reach its demographics with an even personal approach.

Linkedin is one such social media website that is dedicated entirely to the professionals. While companies mainly use websites like Facebook and Twitter to connect with the masses, Linkedin is dedicated to the professionals who want to make business connections (Kim & Ko, 2012). Its main purpose is to unite the professionals with potential employers and clients. For this reason, using LinkedIn as an instrument to market Tim Hortons in the social media realm is not a great idea.

The key is to remember the target audience while devising any kind of marketing activity on the social media website. The company must remember that it is always a two-way communication with the audience, no matter which social media platform they are using.

4) A five-year plan to ensure that this newly devised social media strategy of Tim Hortons keeps moving forward successfully is explained as follows:

A) Setting of specific goals: This is extremely important because the company will go haywire with its marketing activities if it does not have any particular goal in mind (Rishika et al., 2013). It can aim to either strive for a particular amount of traffic to its website or generate a specific number of leads by the end of the month or a year. Setting log term goals will help Tim Hortons generate appropriate content for all the new products that it will be introducing for its customers.

B) Select the most appropriate social network platforms: As mentioned before, every social media website has its unique attribute and serves a specific purpose (Schivinski & Dabrowski, 2016). With a little bit of research and a lot of reading, the social media marketing team of Tim Hortons will be able to identify the most utilitarian websites for the long-term promotion of Tim Hortons. Experimentation is the key to make wiser decisions in cohesion with choosing the best social media platform to leverage a company’s promotional activities.

C) Devise a content plan: If the company is sure about its goals, the next step is to make a content plan. After all, if the company wants to drive leads or traffic into its website, it must have a ton of content to make the plan work (Chua & Banerjee, 2016). Tim Hortons will have to create content not only for the present but for the future since the content on social media expires quickly.

D) Create a timeline: Creating a timeline will help the company be active on the social media on a daily basis. As the word social suggests, one needs to socialize on a regular basis with the community so that there is no loss of contact (Bruhn et al., 2012). Consistency is the key. If the marketers are not frequent with their interactions, they may not be able to evoke the desired response from the audience.

5) Tim Hortons major competitor is Starbucks. This company has been constantly trying to compete with Tim Hortons by introducing a variety of food items in its menu like light coffee blends and breakfast sandwiches. Starbucks is also planning to open numerous additional outlets to the already existing ones in Canada.

Facebook and Instagram are the most popular social media platforms amongst the masses. Starbucks makes use of both these social media websites to promote its products and service (Armelini & Villanueva, 2012). Their marketing objective is to gain new customers and retain the existing ones. Customer engagement is extremely high at Starbucks. The company pays close attention to what its customers have to say and implements innovative features accordingly.

Starbucks has its own social media website called, “My Starbucks Idea”. In this website, the customers suggest new and innovative ideas that the company could incorporate in the services, which it has to offer (Armelini & Villanueva, 2012). The idea is then open to popular vote and consequently the most popular idea wins. Starbucks also engages in marketing and promotional activities that are more social in nature than price based. For example, seldom will one find Starbucks offering a discount on its food and beverages. They will devise exciting offers like “Buy a coffee and get one free for a friend”. These offers are publicized in the social media websites that become viral among the audience through word of mouth.

Starbucks also tries to engage its customers through a number of exciting contests (Bruhn et al., 2012).  They are encouraged to “check-in” through their foursquare application, when they visit a Starbucks outlet. The person with the most number of check ins is entitled for gift prizes.

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