21 ways to grow your business without social media...getty
Even though it seems like everyone is doing it, you don’t have to use social media to grow your business. This fast-paced, notification and newsfeed-centred way of distributing and consuming information might not be for you. It might not suit your business; it might just not be your jam. Plenty of businesses have flourished in the internet age without participating in social media.
If you don’t fancy creating content and interacting on social media platforms, here are 21 other ways of growing your business.
1. Go networking
Research networking events happening online, in your area or for your industry and go along. Be ready to meet a lot of people and follow up with those where you see synergy. Find an excuse to get in touch with them after the event, for deeper, real-life conversations that bring introductions and new clients. Don’t be shy; the networking gains go to people who put themselves out there and work the room. Remember other people and be memorable yourself.
2. Create collaborations
Collaborate with organisations and individuals with whom you share a target audience. Perhaps they pass you work as an associate of theirs, with or without a commission. Maybe you collaborate on programmes or the delivery of your work or your service is included in their proposals. Collaborations with big players in your industry can keep business coming your way with no tweeting required.
3. Take rifle shots
One step up from networking, research people who will make perfect customers, collaborators and connectors and get in touch from scratch. Aim to meet them at an event, ask them to book a call or take them for a fancy lunch. Have a compelling reason to book their time and don’t waste it when you have it. Then, play the long game. Keep a personal CRM to remember what you talked about and follow up regularly.
4. Improve your SEO
Ranking well on Google is no mean feat. If you can appear at the top for terms your audience is searching, you will win traffic and customers ahead of your competitors. For this to work, go in depth. Increase your SEO knowledge; learn about keywords, meta descriptions and link building. Arm yourself with the tools for search volumes and domain authority and be ready to create a lot of content.
5. Run ads online
Google Ads and YouTube ads can be a solid way of growing a business. Rather than building your own house, you are simply renting the land. Create incredible ads in the format required, collect tonnes of data, then analyse and edit. Keep going until you have a winning combination of headlines, images and calls to action that keep your potential customers clicking through to your site.
6. Join communities
There are more communities around than ever, so find the one that works for you. This could be for people in your industry, location or simply other entrepreneurs. Join and aim to add value. Share what you know, help other members, give everything you have before you ask to take. By the time you do, you’ll be trusted and well-known and members will be ready to introduce you or sign up as your customers. Cherry pick some of the members to create a mastermind for a personal development bonus.
7. Grow an email list
Rather than hitting publish and hoping you appear on enough newsfeeds, as with social media, with email marketing you can hit publish and know you are landing directly in the inbox of your subscribers. Grow an email list through all the ways mentioned so far, and offer a lead magnet to incentivise people to sign up. Once you have them, communicate regularly and consistently add value.
8. Make use of podcasts
Podcast usage is growing like crazy and it’s only going to increase. Your podcast strategy could be to start and grow your own, to guest on other people’s or to advertise on popular shows within your niche. Each requires careful research and planning to make sure you’re not wasting your time. Practice telling your story, build your network of podcast hosts and create goals for the number of shows you want to record or appear on.
9. Start a newsletter
One way to build your email list is starting a regular newsletter that they can’t wait to read. You could share a roundup of what’s been happening in your industry or offer a new video, article or insight with every issue. Plan your newsletter series, decide a launch date, then go out to people you know to collect your first hundred subscribers. Publish consistently. In every issue, encourage readers to share with their networks to grow your subscribers.
10. Exhibit at trade shows
Many industries still run trade shows and it’s a great way to build up a buzz and meet a bunch of people. Exhibiting means investing in a plot, a stand and a way of standing out. Attending means working the room like you would any other event. Exhibit with a game plan; know who you’re looking to meet and what you will say once you meet them. Automate your follow ups to exhibit with ease.
11. Work on public relations
Rather than schmoozing your followers, take a narrower approach and schmooze journalists by email. Get on their radar, catch their attention and follow up with ideas for how they could include you in their publication. Successful public relations require an advanced strategy of staying up to date, bugging them just the right amount and adding commentary in a way that other people want to publish what you say. Or, be so newsworthy that journalists come to you.
12. Run workshops
Whether online or in person, run workshops to share your message and teach your methods to groups. Advertise on websites such as Eventbrite, Meetup and Airbnb experiences to bring people in from their traffic, notify your email list or tell local business owners and pin flyers up in the community. Run them regularly so your attendees create the habit, then ask them to tell a friend and grow your workshop numbers by referral.
13. Run print ads
Online advertising is sexy but print ads can still be a solid bet. Magazines and newspapers are still read on paper, same as event programmes, billboards and sponsor displays for sports teams. Design a stunning ad complete with a tried-and-tested call to action. Testing print ads also requires including a code or specific URL so you know when they have been a success, but it might work perfectly for your business.
14. Host events
Networking events, awards dos, fireside chats, panel discussions, contests, dinner parties. There is no shortage of events you could run for people who make great customers or connectors. Design and plan the event then tell everyone you know, incorporating the other methods in this list to get the word out there and get people along. One successful event means you can make it annual, to bring fresh customers to your door year on year.
15. Become a blogger
Instead of waiting to be printed by the journalists you schmooze, start your own blog for your own target audience. Decide on your topics, decide on your cadence, then begin turning writing and publishing into a habit. Engage within blogger communities to share your link, make it easy for readers to turn to subscribers, and cover every topic that you know is relevant to your dream customer base. Write with a specific person in mind and test out formats as you go along.
16. Work with influencers
Instead of building your social media following to promote your own company, make use of the effort influencers have already spent building trust within a specific niche. Find them online and ask if they work with brands, then define an influencer budget and try a few out. Metrics can lie, so keep track yourself. Experiment with different types of placements and different types of people until you hit on perfect alignment and the sales start to flow.
17. Do speaking gigs
If you’re an entrepreneur with a story, other people want to hear it. Set yourself up as a speaker to be booked for events that others are hosting. Get good at educating and inspiring to add the most value possible. Approach big brands and event organisers and set up profiles on speaker directories. Include a way of people hearing more within your presentation and nurture them through to enquiries and sales.
18. Build and they will come
Set up on a busy street to make use of location in getting new customers. New bars, restaurants and coffee shops in high footfall areas benefit from potential customers walking by every single minute. For an online alternative, build something cool and post it on Product Hunt or Reddit. Ask your friends to upvote and share with your list. Post when you’re ready for potentially thousands of hits.
19. Guest blogging
Other business owners run websites that are hungry for content. Provide the content to be published on their turf. Not only may a valuable article be read by their audience and start flocking your way, but you can also ask for a backlink to build the ranking power of your site. Build relationships with the webmasters and editors of collaborator sites and mind map article titles to offer to them. If they accept, write in their style and add all the value.
20. Have a referral programme
If I loved your product and wanted to tell my network, could I earn commission when they bought? Referral programmes and affiliate links are one of the simplest ways to incentivise happy customers to bring their friends. Create the programme, invite specific people, then share the winnings and grow your business on their shoulders. You could include a referral link on packaging or landing pages.
21. Start your own group
Chances are, you know some cool people. Your customers, suppliers and extended network likely have plenty of things in common. There’s huge value in starting a group and being the connector of everyone you know. Group ownership means curation of topics, suggesting of ideas, and being in everyone’s minds every time they engage. Use Discord, Slack, Mighty Networks or an alternative to connect and chat online.
If you are determined to grow your business, there are plenty of methods you can try before you dance around for TikTok or become a victim of the Instagram algorithm. Finding people, adding insane value and staying in touch is the basis of most business growth, and these 21 ways provide an alternative way to do exactly that.
Slivergate CEO Alan Lane, second from right, is applauded as he rings the New York Stock Exchange ... [+]Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
Crypto winter is finally catching up with Silvergate, whose unusual business model saw its mostly interest-free deposits zoom while yields on its investments rose. The leading crypto bank gathers demand deposits from exchanges and crypto infrastructure providers that need to be able to tap their cash in a hurry.
A boom in deposits, coupled with Federal Reserve tightening and an investment portfolio with more than half its holdings in floating-rate instruments sent profit soaring in recent quarters. As the crypto economy has cooled and leading currency bitcoin’s price has stabilized at a lower level, trading volume has declined.
The current environment leaves investors concerned that Silvergate’s deposits have dropped, as they did last quarter when they fell to $13.8 billion from $14.7 billion in the first three months. On a year-over-year basis, Silvergate is still expected to report stunning figures, with net income up 83% to $42.9 million, and earnings per share on the adjusted basis used by Wall Street up to $1.40 from 88 cents a year ago.
But the tide seems to be turning. Jared Shaw, managing director at Wells Fargo WFC Securities said Silvergate may not be able to take as much advantage of rising bond-market interest rates as conventional banks because the liquidity needs of its customers require conservative investments. Wells Fargo earlier this month cut its full-year EPS outlook for Silvergate to $4.73 from $4.93, while slashing its 2023 forecast to $6.93 from $9.21.
Silvergate shares rose 5.2% on Monday to $70.65, though it remains far below the $239.26 it crested at in November. This year, the stock is down 55%, compared with a 5% drop for the Invesco KBW Regional Banking ETF.The depressed crypto market also has implications for one of Silvergate’s growth initiatives: bitcoin-backed loans.
Earlier this year, the bank made headlines by issuing a $205 million loan to analytics software company Microstrategy, which used the funds to buy bitcoin. However, with bitcoin’s price down 57% year-to-date, Shaw is not optimistic in the short-term about the business stream. “Clearly, with bitcoin pricing under pressure, people need to put more collateral down for that loan,” Shaw says. “I think the overall service use case for that is delayed and reduced.”
Investors will also be eager to hear an update on Silvergate’s plan to launch its own stablecoin by the end of the year. In January, the bank purchased Meta’s abandoned Diem project for $182 million. The stablecoin could make Silvergate’s existing payments network more efficient and the company’s CEO Alan Lane has said he believes U.S. dollar-backed stablecoins have the potential to change the traditional payments landscape.
“The reality is there is not a bank-regulated issue stable-coin in the world right now,” Michael Perito, managing director at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, says. “They know the advantage of being a first mover and I think that’s what they’re trying to move to.”
While stablecoins generate excitement in traditional and crypto communities, regulatory uncertainty looms over the progress of these projects. In 2013, Silvergate became the first to target crypto companies as business banking clients. Today, the bank acts as the plumbing behind much of the crypto economy by facilitating the conversion of dollars to crypto assets for clients like exchanges.
Additionally, Silvergate offers institutional custody services, issues bitcoin-backed loans and runs its own real-time payments network. Silvergate banks for some of the largest companies in crypto including Coinbase, FTX, Kraken, Gemini and Circle.
Silvergate Capital (SI) is no longer on track to bring its own stablecoin to market this year, though CEO Alan Lane said the company continues to work closely with regulators on the matter.
“We’re certainly disappointed that it looks like we’re gonna miss our goal of launching it this year,” Lane said during Silvergate’s earnings conference call Tuesday. The company, Lane added, is working diligently to build its operational and regulatory compliance “muscle” to ensure a smooth launch.
The delay isn’t related to any technology issues for the project, said Lane, who still believes Silvergate is in a strong position versus other banks to bring its own tokenized dollar to the blockchain.
Silvergate shares fell over 20% in Tuesday’s trading session after reporting an earnings miss that included a slowdown in USD transfers and digital deposits, along with the stablecoin delay.
Universities and colleges across the U.S. are preparing for potential outbreaks of monkeypox this fall as students begin returning to campus amid an upswing in cases nationally, marking another public health challenge for schools to manage after years of grappling with Covid-19.
Dr. Ina Park, a professor at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, told Forbes that while monkeypox “does pose a risk to students,” the risk is different from that posed by Covid-19 and there is not a concern about catching the virus through everyday activity or passing someone in a corridor.
The main issue is that students live together in close quarters and gather to socialize, including hookups where close contact like kissing, skin-to-skin contact and sex might happen, Park explained, adding that the virus could also potentially be transmitted through sharing clothing or sleeping in someone else’s bed.
Numerous universities told Forbes they are in contact with local and federal health authorities to plan their responses and some schools, such as Texas A&M University, said clinicians at student health services have taken part in CDC training related to the disease.
Other universities, including Georgetown University and NYU, said student health services are able to carry out the specific testing needed to diagnose monkeypox.
Disinfecting desks or public toilets—surfaces the monkeypox virus can live on—could be one way of minimizing the risk to students, Park said, as would vaccinating students who are men or transgender people who have sex with men and expanding access to all college students when supplies permit.
Evidence-based education—especially alerting people to “the fact that monkeypox is transmitted through intimate contact”—will be crucial, Dr. Marina Klein, a professor of medicine at McGill University, told Forbes, as well as training campus health services to be on the lookout for potential monkeypox cases.
Monkeypox primarily spreads through close physical contact, as well as contact with contaminated objects and surfaces like bedding or clothing. While infections are clustered among men who have sex with men—data suggests the outbreak is largely driven by sexual activity—there have also been cases in women and children and experts told Forbes there is a risk the disease could spill over into other groups and obviously these communities are not self contained and members also attend university.
Experts stress the importance of balancing the provision of accurate information about the risks of monkeypox and how it is spreading and avoiding stigmatizing the groups most affected. Campuses also face a number of unique challenges when managing disease outbreaks, the American College Health Association (ACHA), told Forbes, such as how to isolate people with limited housing available and managing the disruption a two-to-four week isolation period can cause to students. The organization said it is working to develop tailored guidance for campus settings.
What To Watch For
How universities communicate about monkeypox. Several universities told Forbes they are following guidance from local health departments and the CDC, though this advice does not specifically address university settings. Many universities have set up informational websites providing resources and guidance on the virus, while some like NYU, the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University and the University of Michigan told Forbes they have also emailed staff and students about the outbreak and will provide updates as the situation evolves.
Other universities have gone, or plan to go, further in communication efforts: the University of Florida told Forbes it is increasingly promoting safe sex messaging and Texas A&M University said the school is pushing out information on the disease via social media and flyers in residence halls and high-traffic areas. Guidance and protocols are sure to evolve as the outbreak does; NYU spokesperson John Beckman told Forbes the university is “closely following developments” and staff at the student health center are on “heightened alert” to respond.
There are also broader impacts of monkeypox to be considered, Cornell’s director of media relations Rebecca Valli told Forbes, adding that the school is considering “the potential academic impacts and accommodations which may arise” should a student come down with monkeypox.
There have been 10,768 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the U.S., according to numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The overwhelming majority of cases have been among men who identify as gay, bisexual or who have sex with men and transmission is suspected to have occurred through sexual activity in most of those infected.
The World Health Organization , the White House and a number of local jurisdictions have declared the outbreak a public health emergency and a vaccination campaign is underway to target groups most at risk of the virus. Supplies of Jynneos, the only vaccine licensed against monkeypox in the U.S., do not come close to meeting demand for the shot and U.S. officials have greenlit a dose-saving strategy to stretch the stockpile.
Though the outbreak is largely, though not exclusively, limited to men who have sex with men and spread through sexual activity, concern has grown among officials that the disease could spread more widely. The close-contact campus environment, notably dorms, contact sports and sex, have flagged colleges as more likely to experience outbreaks. At least five schools—Georgetown University, George Washington University, the University of Texas at Austin, Bucknell University and West Chester University—have already reported monkeypox cases, according to STAT News.
McGill’s Klein said it is “inevitable” that monkeypox will spillover into populations other than men who have sex with men, which could happen more easily in situations where people are living in close quarters. “There is no need for panic,” Klein stressed, urging strong and sensible messaging on how monkeypox is transmitted and reinforcing “messages about how to be safe when having sex,” especially with casual contacts. “Making vaccines easily available in safe spaces for those at risk would also go a long way to helping stem any potential outbreaks on campus,” Klein added.
One of the first public health measures triggered by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic was mass closure of daycares and schools. Indeed, the proximity with which students and teachers congregate in close quarters means that viruses are more apt to spread in such conditions, which made school closures a sensible means of slowing the spread of COVID-19.
Then, last week, news broke that an Illinois daycare worker tested positive for monkeypox. While the worker is isolating, it remains unclear how many children — if any — were exposed to the virus while the infected person was at work. The news raises questions over whether schools, daycares, and the like are safe — from monkeypox — for both workers and their charges.
“An adult at a day-care center in the Rantoul area has tested positive for a case of monkeypox,” Dr. Sameer Vohra, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said at a news briefing. “Screening of children and other staff is taking place now.” As parents gear up to send their children back to school, should they expect monkeypox outbreaks to occur in school and daycare settings?
The answer to that requires understanding the way that monkeypox spreads, and how it differs from COVID-19. Monkeypox symptoms start within two to three weeks after exposure to the virus. The primary mode of transmission for monkeypox is skin-on-skin contact or contact with contaminated items.
Currently, there are more than 7,500 confirmed cases in the United States, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is nearly double the number of cases since late July. Last week, the Biden administration declared the monkeypox a public health emergency. While transmission is mostly occurring in adult men, in the United States there have been at least five reported pediatric cases.
Yet experts are optimistic about the safety of schools. Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases and associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California–Davis, told Salon he doesn’t anticipate K-12 schools to be particularly rife with outbreaks this school year.“Since transmission is primarily via prolonged skin to skin contact,” Blumberg said. “So of course children horse around and they might have skin to skin contact, but usually it’s not prolonged during most activities.”
Blumberg added that another way monkeypox could be transmitted in a school setting is via contaminated linens or bedding. Unlike COVID-19, which is more transmissible but usually less severe for children, monkeypox is less transmissible but can pose a higher risk of severe disease for children under the age of 8.
“I suppose during nap time if kids are sharing bedding or linens, it’s possible that there might be transmission,” Blumberg said. “But most schools and daycares, for now, have their own dedicated area, their own dedicated space, for nap time.”
Dr. Katrine Wallace, an epidemiologist University of Illinois–Chicago, told Salon via email that monkeypox could potentially spread at school “by touching someone’s rash/lesions, exchanging body fluids via kissing or prolonged face to face contact, hugging, etc.”
“So, it’s best (for [monkeypox virus] and for COVID-19 reasons) to emphasize giving each other space in the classroom and not touching one another,” Wallace said. According to the CDC, monkeypox spreads through direct contact with body fluids or sores on the body of someone who has monkeypox. It can also spread through sores that have been in contact with someone who is infected, or materials that have touched body fluids — for example, clothing or bedsheets.
Monkeypox may also spread through respiratory droplets when people have close face-to-face contact. However, experts say this is not the main mode of transmission. According to data from the World Health Organization, 91.4 percent of cases have been linked to sexual contact.
Wallace agreed it is possible for a monkeypox outbreak to occur in communities like college campuses. Understandably, this raises questions about college students in a university setting. “If students are having prolonged skin to skin contact with many others, such as having sex with multiple partners, that will be a risk factor for transmission,” Blumberg said. “And in that case, it’s easy to prevent transmission — if somebody has a rash, then they shouldn’t have prolonged skin to skin contact with others until they get that rash diagnosed and make sure it’s non-infectious.”
Wallace agreed it is possible for a monkeypox outbreak to occur in communities like college campuses.”It is important that colleges and universities are prepared to provide public health education/information about monkeypox to students, have testing/medical resources available to if students develop symptoms, and have an isolation protocol ready,” Wallace said.
Still, there are reasons to protect younger children from any exposure to monkeypox. Unlike COVID-19, which is more transmissible but usually less severe for children, monkeypox is less transmissible but can pose a higher risk of severe disease for children under the age of 8, as noted by the CDC based on limited pediatric data on infection.
“Children who have monkeypox are at higher risk for severe disease and higher fatality rates have been reported in children less than eight years of age,” Blumberg said. “There’s a variety of complications that may occur, including inflammation of different organs, myocarditis, meningitis” — hence the concern about young children being infected.
Notably, there are vaccines for monkeypox, although supply is limited. As Salon previously reported, the U.S. has released the Jynneos vaccine against monkeypox from the Strategic National Stockpile. Meanwhile, those who received the smallpox vaccine before it stopped being regularly given in the 1970s will likely have protection against monkeypox. While the Jynneos vaccine isn’t being publicly offered to kids nor is it licensed for children, those who have been exposed to it can be vaccinated if it is recommended by the local health departments.
As noted by CDC, Jynneos has been used in studies as part of vaccines against other diseases including tuberculosis, measles, and Ebola. These studies included children as young as five months old, and were found to have no adverse health effects or safety concerns. For worried parents, Blumberg said it is a good idea to make sure that daycares and schools and policies are in place to prohibit potentially infectious staff and students.
“Most schools and daycares do have policies in place so that if somebody is suspected to be infectious to others, they are excluded — and for monkeypox, the key would be an undiagnosed rash,” Blumberg said. “There are many different infections that may cause rashes that may be transmitted to others — so schools and daycares should be pretty experienced with screening for rashes.”
Wallace emphasized how different monkeypox is from SARS-CoV-2, stating bluntly: “this is not COVID-19.””It spreads very differently and is nowhere near as contagious,” Wallace said. “If your child develops symptoms, definitely see a health care provider before sending the child back to school.”
No matter where you sit in a business, you’ll likely have heard of environmental, social, and governance (ESG). Your peers in finance, legal/compliance, and risk will have heard of it a lot. And we’ll all be hearing a lot more about it in the coming years. But ESG can mean a lot of different things, depending on who is saying it and the context in which they’re saying it, which leads to confusion.
What Is ESG?
Essentially, ESG denotes the qualitative and quantitative data that either:
describes a business’s environmental status, societal characteristics, and corporate governance (thus ‘E’ for environment, ‘S’ for social and ‘G’ for governance) or …
… reflects a business’s or sector’s or investment’s exposure to, and management of, environmental-, social-, or governance-related risks.
Interest in ESG started with arguments such as those of Harvard economist Michael Porter that businesses (and capitalism as a whole) benefit from thinking about value generation beyond the purely economic — that is, businesses should focus their value generation on all of their stakeholders (including communities, employees, and customers), not just shareholders or owners.
This broader interpretation of value would provide for longer-term competitiveness, profit, and business health, because it both drives down risk and makes the most of scarce resources. In fact, it was the investment community that coined the term, as they sought to widen their analysis to nonfinancial factors
ESG performance, the managerial decisions that drive it, and the data points that reflect it have become a form of proxy measurement on the quality of a business’s management, right alongside its financial data. Naturally, they have then become a matter of board attention, leaders’ attention, and operational discussions, with supporting functions, processes, and technologies across a company.
ESG now features much more prominently in just about every company’s key strategic discussions, especially at its highest levels. As the battle over Exxon last year and McDonald’s right now show, these decisions determine the futures of companies. And Elon Musk’s recent ESG post on Twitter, meant to disparage the term, reveals its importance even in companies that resist its influence.
Expect ESG to become more important, driven especially by climate change and scrutiny of capitalism’s social impact but also by companies’ efforts to seek competitive advantage and differentiation and investors’ desire to incorporate nonfinancial analysis for better returns.
By 2018, approximately $12 trillion worth of investment assets were selected using a socially responsible investing strategy. As millennials begin to comprise a larger segment of the total pool of investors, you can expect ESG investing to expand right along with them.
The financial services industry’s responded to the growing demand for ESG investments by making moves such as offering ESG-focused exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Both of the two largest ETF providers – BlackRock and Vanguard – offer clients a choice of ESG-focused funds. BlackRock added six new ESG funds in 2020, and its equity investment team now includes a Head of Sustainable Investing. Brokerage firms now customarily offer stock analysis employing ESG investment strategies, and robo-advisors such as Wealthfront can be set to seek out socially responsible investments.
Although ESG metrics are not currently a required part of financial reports for publicly traded companies, a growing number of companies are proudly including them in their reported statements or a separately issued document. Increasingly there is consensus among many regulators that some form of standardized ESG disclosures will be required of publicly-traded companies on most major global stock exchanges.
Each of the three elements of ESG investing – environmental, social, and corporate governance – comprises a number of criteria that may be considered, either by socially responsible investors or by companies aiming to adopt a more ESG-friendly operational stance.
While many ESG criteria are rather subjective (such as evaluations of “diversity” or “inclusion”), moves are occurring on several fronts that are designed to provide more objective, credible ratings of a company’s performance in terms of ESG policies and actions.
In the past, a company’s standing in terms of ESG has often depended less on substantive practices and more on how good the company’s public relations department is. Businesses such as AccountAbility offer ESG consulting services for companies that want to implement broad ESG-friendly policies and practices.
Environmental criteria include a company’s use of renewable energy sources, its waste management program, how it handles potential problems of air or water pollution arising from its operations, deforestation issues (if applicable), and its attitude and actions around climate change issues.
Other possible environmental issues include raw material sourcing (e.g., does the company use fair trade suppliers and organic ingredients?) and whether a company follows biodiversity practices on land it owns or controls.
Social criteria cover a vast range of potential issues. There are many separate social aspects of ESG, but all of them are essentially about social relationships. One of the key relationships for a company, from the point of view of many socially responsible investors, is its relationship with its employees. Following is a brief rundown of just some of the issues that may be considered when examining how a company handles its social relationships:
Is employee pay fair, or perhaps even generous, compared to comparable jobs or similar positions throughout the industry? What type of retirement plans are employees offered? Does the company contribute to the employee retirement plans?
In addition to basic wages or salary, what benefits or perks are employees provided with? With ESG-concerned investors, it can make a big difference in the evaluation of your company if, for example, you do things such as providing a free, very lavish buffet lunch for all employees every Friday – or provide other types of benefits that aren’t common at all workplaces, such as an on-site fitness center.
Workplace policies regarding diversity, inclusion, and prevention of sexual harassment are also frequently considered.
Employee training and education programs; for example, does your company provide financial support for continuing or higher education and/or flexible working hours for employees pursuing further education; what opportunities exist for employees to be trained in new job skills at the company that will qualify them for higher-paying positions?
What level of employee engagement with management is there? How much input do employees have in determining operational procedures within their respective departments?
The level of employee turnover
What’s the company’s mission statement? Is it socially relevant and beneficial to society?
How well are customer relationships managed? Does the company engage with customers on social media? How responsive and efficient is the customer service department? Does the company have a negative history of consumer protection issues, such as product recalls?
Does the company take a public or political stance on human rights issues? Does it donate money to charitable causes?
Governance, in the context of ESG, is essentially about how a company is managed by those in the top floor executive offices. How well do executive management and the board of directors attend to the interests of the company’s various stakeholders – employees, suppliers, shareholders, and customers? Does the company give back to the community where it is located?
Financial and accounting transparency and full and honest financial reporting are often considered key elements of good corporate governance. Also important are board members acting in a genuine fiduciary relationship with stockholders and being careful to avoid conflicts of interest with that duty. Are the board members and company executives a diverse and inclusive group?
The issue of executive compensation is a primary focus of many ESG investors, who, for example, don’t tend to favor multi-million-dollar bonuses for executives while the company imposes a salary freeze in effect for all other employees. Is extra compensation for executives appropriately tied to increasing the long-term value, viability, and profitability of the business?
An example of how responsible corporate governance is put into practice can be seen in the policies of the company, Intuit (NASDAQ: INTU). One of the company’s corporate policies that is aimed at helping to ensure that company executives take on a strong vested interest in the company’s ongoing success, rather than just in earning some quarterly bonus, is a rule that requires the top-level chief executive officer to maintain stock ownership equivalent in value to ten times their annual salary.
In addition, executive bonuses depend on more than just revenue or income – factors such as employee, shareholder, and customer satisfaction are also part of the calculation.
Twitter recently announced its new “crisis misinformation policy” which will seek to suppress posts the company deems “viral misinformation.” The update will allow Twitter employees to label, and censor posts they determine to be misleading or false. The company claimed that the new tools will only be used in the case of a “humanitarian crisis.”
“Today, we’re introducing our crisis misinformation policy – a global policy that will guide our efforts to elevate credible, authoritative information, and will help to ensure viral misinformation isn’t amplified or recommended by us during crises,” Twitter wrote in a blog post Thursday. “In times of crisis, misleading information can undermine public trust and cause further harm to already vulnerable communities.”
Twitter went on to define such crises as “situations in which there is a widespread threat to life, physical safety, health, or basic subsistence.”“This definition is consistent with the United Nations’ definition of a humanitarian crisis and other humanitarian assessments,” the company added.Hoax tweets and other misinformation regularly go viral during emergencies, as users rush to share unverified information. The sheer speed of events makes it difficult to implement normal verification or fact-checking systems, creating a significant challenge for moderators.
As part of its new “misinformation policy”, Twitter will employ a variety of tools, including the removal tweets from recommendations and disabling engagement on “misleading” posts. In addition to a label, users will not be able to like, retweet or reply to flagged tweets.“To reduce potential harm, as soon as we have evidence that a claim may be misleading, we won’t amplify or recommend content that is covered by this policy across Twitter – including in the Home timeline, Search, and Explore,” Twitter explained.
“In addition, we will prioritize adding warning notices to highly visible Tweets and Tweets from high profile accounts, such as state-affiliated media accounts, verified, official government accounts.”Under the new policy, tweets classified as misinformation will not necessarily be deleted or banned; instead, Twitter will add a warning label requiring users to click a button before the tweet can be displayed (similar to the existing labels for explicit imagery).
The tweets will also be blocked from algorithmic promotion.The stronger standards are meant to be limited to specific events. Twitter will initially apply the policy to content concerning the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, but the company expects to apply the rules to all emerging crises going forward.
For the purposes of the policy, crisis is defined as “situations in which there is a widespread threat to life, physical safety, health, or basic subsistence.”The policy comes at a delicate time for Twitter, with the company’s approved sale to Elon Musk in a confusing limbo.
Musk has pledged to scale back moderation systems at the company in favor of a maximalist view of free speech. But with Musk claiming the deal is on hold pending a bot investigation, it’s unclear when or how his ideas will be implemented.The social media giant infamously flagged the New York Post’s bombshell Hunter Biden laptop story just weeks before the election.In order to suppress the story — which included emails, text messages, photos and financial documents detailing foreign business dealings of the Biden family — Twitter cited its “hacked materials” policy. This policy, like many sections of Twitter’s terms of service, has been applied selectively on numerous occasions.
In a recent example, an illegally obtained list of donations to Canada’s Freedom Convoy protesters was allowed to be freely shared on the platform. The list included names, addresses and phone numbers of anyone who donated as little as $25 to the protest movement. Despite the fact that the information was obtained through a hack, Twitter took no action.Many believe Twitter’s “crisis misinformation policy” will be yet another policy that is selectively applied to conservatives.
This would give the San Francisco-based platform even more power to meddle in election outcomes, as they did in 2020. A poll conducted by The Post Millennial this past March found that 16% of Biden voters would not have voted for him if they were aware of the laptop scandal.