Zero Responsibility Bubble (Part I)
By Ali Ahmad
A simple search on facebook allows us to observe large number of facebook pages for ACCA, CIMA, ICAEW and ICAP related institutes/colleges. But in very same observation, it was revealed that those pages were developed by some students or staff of those institutes who are willing to take their employer name on social media – with different motives though.
These institute staff take this initiative and start using the pages as an information tool and as an updated timetable. They are even expressing their thoughts and interacting with their students’ and becoming more effective and more useful than their official websites.
And interestingly enough, they are doing this in same salaries. Some of them were immature in the beginning but with the time they are becoming the spokesperson of their organizations (be it good or bad) and I personally believe that they top the charts in terms of popularity as compared to other figures of those organization. So the case is, they are information provider on every aspect of their organization and a simple mistake or blood rush (for an unknown adventure) could damage the reputation of that organization.
But whether they are immature or not trained on how to use social media or whether their blood pressure is always on the rise for adventures, they are after all employees and issues could be resolved if something went wrong besides they are doing this for free.
But what if those pages are developed by ex-students and it accumulates a huge number of students? Worst case: you will be witnessing cartoons and disrespectful comments about your respectful faculty. When I spoke about this issue with some colleges then they said that their best response is no response. This might be true in few cases but if ‘someone’ seriously work its way to maintain your so-called-page and then tries to sabotage it: what would you do? Well, you can’t do much except reducing your college premises to adjust the new numbers because of the damaged reputation.
There are many issues revolving around this subject. For instance, what if that employee leaves your institute? What if they are not happy with you anymore? What legal documents could be used to protect your social presence? How you could train your staff to be the best spokesperson of your organization while interacting with their friend and family?
Since the owners and admin are new to tools available to Generation Y – its time the people on top should start attending training modules for handling their social profiles and managing their everyday reputation! And the time is running fast (read fastest than ever).
While as much as this is concerned about your reputation – It’s similarly important for the students. With every new connection in your list, you’re increasing your social and professional network and that same network could help you fixing you for your next job. Even if they don’t help you: employers are searching your facebook profiles and activities to track your behavior so it is equally important for the students to maintain a healthy profile (believe me facebook privacy setting could not help you save information).
I been consulting many clients interested in this service and if I’m saying that your information could be accessed in times of need then we certainly know all legal ways of accessing your information.
Anyways, coming back to social media problem many institutes may face. I mentioned in my earlier article that facebook usage during exams were on the peak in last ACCA attempt. And I was not the only one with this observation. Institutes from all over Pakistan and abroad agreed with this.
So as your first step towards making your social life much better and productive, institutes might like to focus on following points.
- Develop a website first (Yes I could hear my friends in Lahore saying ‘Duh’ but believe me outside Lahore, many never bother to develop a website although they are on facebook)
- Integrate your website with your official pages (at least everyone should know which page is your real page). Facebook is not the only available tool. When I said ‘social media pages’ then I’m actually referring to facebook, twitter and, or, even LinkedIn.
- Train your staff (some of them are pretty much good at it) but still they need some professional training. There are courses available which can train your staff about what to do and what never to do.
- Continuously use your social media profiles and interact with students. SKANS is one of the best examples using this model and they are really interacting with their students but even they could confuse the general public. For instance, SKANS official page actually belongs to its Lahore campus and if you’re studying in another city then you might miss the latest happenings (beside there are no other official pages of other campuses)
- Even if you do not wish your students to interact a lot then you can also use this as a simple information portal. Al-Hamd Academy in Karachi is doing a fantastic job and their model is entirely different from SKANS. Although if you wish to use your page as an information portal than Twitter might be much better.
- You can also brand your teachers (make sure that you’re sure about their loyalty). CFE in Lahore is doing the same job with its CFA teacher Kamran Rashid. (I’m not sure whether the guy is running his page himself or its funded and administered by the college admin)
- Ask your lawyer to prepare some legal documents and get it signed from your staff OR from your company (if someone else is running your page).
- Use more than one page admin. In case if there is only one person running your facebook page then you might lost your page in case facebook block your admin account.
There are many more tactics to promote and increase your social media presence (of course they are not free). But always, always remember! Social media is not for marketing – it’s about interactions and sharing.Twitter and LinkedIn might sound weird to many but you if your college is also catering to professionals then LinkedIn and twitter could not be ignored.
How social profiles and activity could determine and help accountancy students’ (ACCA/CIMA/CA) careers? See Part II