A Clear View: The Clearpoint Agency Blog

Corporate Gift Giving – An opportunity to communicate values and culture

Posted on December 08, 2011

Clearpoint Crew

The Clearpoint staff and Valerie Chereskin pose with their food donations for the holidays.

It’s that time of year, when business people everywhere start thumbing through catalogues to select the gifts for their clients. We’d like to suggest you use corporate giving as an opportunity to share your business values and culture. By thinking creatively, you can give gifts to your clients in ways that make a much bigger impact than goodie baskets.

Creative corporate gifts can come in all forms, but we’d like to focus on charitable giving. There are many reasons to incorporate charitable support into your corporate gift giving program:

  • Help nonprofit organizations and people in need within the community you do business in
  • Improve the reputation and perception of your company
  • Get greater exposure for your company, products or services
  • Share corporate messaging, values and culture
  • Increase networking or leads opportunities
  • Receive tax benefits

Clearpoint is a great example. Several years ago, we decided a better use of Clearpoint’s resources would be to support the community while showing appreciation to our clients during the holidays. Instead of giving large and expensive treat baskets to clients, we opt for cards and small boxes of candy as gifts, and use the rest of our gift-giving budget to donate to a charity in all of our clients’ names. We feel good about the change, and clients appreciate it too. Oftentimes, we buy the candy from a local small business or, as is the case this year, from local high school band students. This year, Clearpoint’s holiday giving is: 1) giving delicious treats to our clients, 2) donating to a charity, and 3) supporting a local high school – it’s the trifecta of gift giving!

Charitable giving is such a great opportunity to demonstrate your company’s dedication to a cause or community, and can be a powerful way to create awareness and good will for your organization with external audiences. Your internal audiences will appreciate it too. Supporting a charity is much more motivating for employees than boxes of client gifts that don’t relate to them.

Charitable giving also has its benefits to your tax return. Whether you donate money, products, or services, there is a good chance that a charitable gift can be a corporate write off. Just remember to check with your tax advisor if a gift will qualify as a deduction. A good rule of thumb is to work with nonprofits with the 501(c)(3) designation.

When choosing a charity, look for a cause that matches your corporate culture. If your employees really care about the environment, support an environmentally-conscious charity (Like Clearpoint’s lagoon support). Or match your services to your cause. If you sell sporting equipment, support your local little league team. These small steps go a long way toward expressing who you are as a company.

To get you started, check out our examples: in years past, Clearpoint has supported the San Diego Food Bank, the American Heart Association (AHA), CARE, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). In addition, Charity Navigator is a good website to find a charity, and Wikipedia has a very inclusive list. Good luck, we look forward to seeing more businesses support charitable causes this season and throughout the year!

This post was contributed by Lexy Haynes, Clearpoint Agency Senior Account Executive.

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Review of “Social Boom!” By Jeffrey Gitomer

Posted on October 05, 2011

Clearpoint team member Lexy Haynes reviewed Jeffrey’s
Gitomer’s book “Social Boom! How to Master Business Social Media”. Here’s what she said.

Hi friends, first, an overview: Social Boom! covers just about everything social. Ok, not everything, but the biggies: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, and even tips on writing. It’s a thorough review of the social media landscape and what you should do as a business person on each of the top platforms.

I thought it was a great book, definitely worth a read. If you’re a novice in business social media it might be a bit overwhelming, but just remember, small steps are better than no steps at all.

I’d call Social Boom! fairly high level, with helpful tactics. It was full of relevant and usual
information, including both precise “how-to” as well as “why-to” information. The book has several chapters written by guest authors including some favorites of mine such as Mark Schaefer and Mitch Joel. It was refreshing to hear tips from multiple industry leaders.

Here are a few key points I found especially truthful and useful, as well as some nuggets to pique your interest:

  • Business social media requires an investment: your time.” At least an hour a day. Thank you Gitomer for being open and honest about this! It is so true.
  • “…with business social media, I can personalize it, and humanize it…” Be human, and be real. This is one point we often have to remind our clients – while it is business, it’s still social media. No one is going to like your Facebook page or share your information if you’re cold, boring and fact-laden. People like people.
  • “Start (or restart) your business social media outreach with purpose, plan and design. And start (or restart) it with an understanding of what you want to achieve.” I find this especially insightful. Too many people start social media without a real vision of what they want to achieve…those are the profiles with
    meaningless fluff that give social media a bad name. Take Gitomer’s advice and
    have a plan.
  • “Start with information, and then add insight.” Yes! Don’t just forward
    information, provide your personal take on it and make it more useful to your
    audience. Don’t just be a content aggregator, be a content creator.
  • A 5.5-part process for starting your own Facebook business page
  • The 15 imperatives of LinkedIn
  • 7 ways to add value to your Twitter conversations
  • How to build an audience on YouTube

Social Boom! was full of useful quotes and lists like these. A caveat on expectations: While I was expecting a book about social media for brands, the book really focuses on tools and techniques an individual can use. I still found it useful, but more for my personal use than for managing our clients’ social media. So, keep that in mind.

Jeffrey Gitomer’s Social Boom! was a quick, fun read, and inspired me to get my butt in gear for my own business social media. While I do it every day for clients, I’d been using
social media primarily for my personal life, I believe to my detriment. I was missing out on adding my professional insight as a PR and social media manager to the world of business social media. If you have smart things to say, I recommend you jump in, share your insight and personality, and get social! See www.gitomer.com for tips and how to get Social Boom!

How about you? Do you do business social media? What social media platforms are your favorites?

This post was contributed by Alexia Haynes, Clearpoint Agency Senior Account Executive

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Be More Active and Engaging on Social Media!

Posted on May 03, 2011

         Tried and True Social Media Tips from the Now Revolution and Clearpoint Agency

Welcome to the Now Revolution! You may not know what the Now Revolution is, but you are a part of it every day. Essentially the Now Revolution is the fast paced, never-ending news river world that we are finding ourselves swamped in. I attended the Now Revolution seminar recently, hosted by San Diego’s PRSA and Ad Club, and it re-invigorated my passion for all things social. The lecturers and authors, Jay Baer and Amber Naslund, did a nice job of summarizing how to be more active on social media, so I thought I would pass on the highlights and add some social media tips of our own.

In today’s environment everyone is a reporter. When you visit a restaurant and comment about it on Yelp, you’re taking power into your own hands. This is empowering for all of us but poses a tricky situation for companies. They have little time to verify comments, even less time to coordinate a response, and even less time to actually react. So how are companies supposed to deal with the fast-paced world and never-ending news cycle that social media has created?

Here’s what Baer and Naslund suggest:

Have a Social Media Policy Companies must have a social media policy in place. Everyone should be on the same page and understand the companies’ stance on issues. This is a simple thing to create but overlooked by many companies.

Turn Negatives into Positives Negative comments are your chance to learn and find out what your company needs to improve on. Make negative comments your opportunity to learn and grow as a company.

LISTEN Understand how social media integrates with your company. Make sure the person who is speaking on social media platforms for your company is also listening. Search ‘Anybody Know’ on Twitter, give out free coupons on Four Square, monitor client brands on Yahoo Answers.

ROI There is no magic measurement tool, it depends on what you are looking for and measure that. Spread social media results around. Companies aren’t sure they’re measuring correctly and all too often don’t spread social media results. What would happen if only coaches knew the score of the game?

Turn Customer Success Stories into Blog Posts Humanity is the story. Attract a following with people not logos. Remember Subway’s Jared? Of course you do! We all do!

We agree and employ these tactics on behalf of our clients and ourselves.  Now for a few Clearpoint Agency social media tips . . .

Hire Employees with Passion Would you want a doctor that wasn’t passionate about medicine?  In today’s world it’s important to not only hire people who know their stuff, but who love their stuff. Employees will be representing your organization – everyone is a marketer- so it’s important that they believe in the company and the work they are doing every day.

Know Thy Self All employees must be on the same page. Everyone in your business has to understand the company’s culture and how to respond. All employees must have the power to communicate and speak quickly without the need for approvals.  If you wait to run every Twitter response through a weekly meeting, it’s too late.

Take it Offline Some conversations need to go offline. If a customer is upset, your best response is to apologize for the situation online, then offer to resolve it offline and provide your contact information. No one can fault you for trying to resolve the issue but the last thing you want is a boxing match online for the world to see.

A Thank You Goes a Long Way Thanking someone for retweeting a story or content you tweeted, or for commenting on your Facebook or LinkedIn posts goes a long way to forming  valuable relationships in the fast paced world of the social media.

Add a little something extra Just simply retweeting or giving a post thumbs up takes a little effort and it shows. When you retweet or like a post or video, provide your spin on it. Give your opinion and tell your friends and followers why they should care too. Yes, it takes a little extra time, but the little time it takes speaks volumes to your approach to being a part of the conversation and not just an observer.

This post was contributed by Rachel Hutman, Clearpoint Agency Account Executive.

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