Il y a un peu plus de deux ans, je vous parlais de ce cas de la propriétaire de boutique à Chelsey qui avait reçu une lettre de l’Office québécoise de la langue française exigeant que sa page sur Facebook présente du contenu en français?
L’OQLF vient de publier un guide pratique destiné aux entrepreneurs et aux gestionnaires de communications intitulé « Les médias sociaux et la Charte de la langue française »
En voici quelques extraits :
Bien que la Charte ait été adoptée avant l’arrivée des médias sociaux, ceux‐ci doivent en respecter les dispositions, de la même façon que les sites Web, même si aucune mention n’en est faite dans le texte de loi. Les différents articles de la Charte relatifs à la langue du travail et à la langue du commerce et des affaires s’appliquent quel que soit le moyen de diffusion utilisé.
1. L’entreprise est établie au Québec (personne morale ou personne physique exploitant une entreprise au Québec).
2. Le média social est celui qui est officiellement utilisé et publicisé par l’entreprise.
3. Le contenu du média social vise le marché québécois.
– La publicité « par un organe d’information qui diffuse dans une autre langue que le français (par exemple, dans la zone publicitaire de la page Facebook d’un internaute) »
– La publicité concernant un produit culturel ou éducatif si son contenu est dans une autre langue, une activité culturelle ou éducative si elle se déroule dans une autre langue, ou un organe d’information s’il diffuse dans une autre langue
– La publicité relative à un congrès destiné uniquement à un public spécialisé ou restreint
– Une marque de commerce utilisée dans la publicité
– Des messages de type religieux, politique, idéologique ou humanitaire pourvu qu’ils ne soient pas à but lucratif
Si une entreprise choisit de diffuser de l’information dans une autre langue que le français, elle peut le faire dans un compte de média social distinct. Elle aurait ainsi, pour un même média social, un compte en français et un compte dans une autre langue. Elle peut aussi diffuser l’information dans un seul compte, qui sera alors bilingue. Dans tous les cas, l’entreprise doit s’assurer que le contenu en français destiné au marché québécois est au moins équivalent à celui dans une autre langue.
Pouvons-nous utiliser l’option de ciblage offerte par Facebook? L’OQLF semble avoir évolué sur ce point. Voici la réponse qui m’a été envoyée :
Équivalence du ciblage
Facebook permettant le ciblage linguistique, une entreprise peut choisir de diffuser en fonction de ce critère. Cependant, il importe de s’assurer que tout contenu destiné au marché québécois est au moins en français. Le ciblage qui est fait dans une autre langue que le français doit avoir son équivalent en français.
Nous recevons parfois des plaintes de consommateurs qui nous indiquent ne pas voir l’équivalent en français d’une publication. Nous demandons alors la vérification de la langue du compte. Il peut arriver que, quand bien même le compte est configuré « français (Canada) », la publication s’affiche en anglais, preuve qu’elle n’existe pas en français. Il peut aussi arriver que la publication ne s’affiche tout simplement pas. Dans ce cas, il n’y a pas d’équivalence dans le ciblage.
La stratégie de diffusion appartient à l’entreprise. Elle peut choisir de cibler selon la langue de l’utilisateur (ou, comme vous le dites si bien, selon ce qui est configuré dans les paramètres du compte) ou de diffuser dans les deux langues dans la même publication. Dans tous les cas, l’important est que le français ne soit pas occulté et qu’il soit présent de façon au moins aussi évidente. Bien sûr, la publication peut être en français seulement, ce qui reflèterait le visage français du Québec.
Et voilà. Le respect d’un peuple passe par le respect de sa langue et culture. Ce guide démontre l’ouverture de l’OQLF aux réalités des réseaux sociaux, et ce dans le respect de leur mission première.
Business owners, managers and communications professionals looking to boost their team’s social media skills will be interested to learn that McGill University’s School of Continuing Studies is offering a new certificate program called Digital content and community management. And guessed who helped design it? (hint: MOI!). And guess who will be launching it on September 18th? (hint: see hint #1). I’m thrilled to be teaching the program’s kickoff course, Current Trends in Digital Communication. It’ll feature dynamic industry speakers and great discussions that’ll be of interest to social media beginners and seasoned professionals alike.
I have some fantastic speakers like CT Moore, Adele McAlear and Ligia Pena lined up to talk about everything from digital marketing and SEO, to community management, to social media for non-profits … with a few surprises up my sleeve …
Having followed the evolution of a similar course offered by friends like Martin Waxman, Eden Spodek and Donna Papacosta at UofT, I’m expecting a mix of communications professionals with limited social media experience, with more than a few experienced community managers thrown in (because sometimes a little piece of paper called an attestation or a certificate helps with HR and pay raises). Because of this, I’ve designed a course that will be of interest to communications professionals at any level. And since this is a continuing ed. course, we’ll be able to pull from real-world experiences. Should make for a fantastic laboratory! I’m looking forward to the conversations we’ll have.
The class provides an overview of current uses of internet-based media (websites, blogs, social networks) in public relations, direct marketing, internal communications, fundraising, consumer relations and reputation management. Participants will leave the course with a firm grasp of best practices, and will be able to implement social media tactics based on strategic considerations.
Registration for this 10-class, 6-week course is now open.
Are you a Quebec businessperson? Have you been following the Delilah-in-the-Parc affair, and wondering how you can be sure your page on Facebook meets Office de la langue française du Québec requirements? Or do you just want to be sure you’re catering to both your francophone and anglophone customers in the best and most efficient way possible? You’ve come to the right place. This blog post provides you with a step-by-step guide to help you navigate Quebec’s linguistical waters when you’re on Facebook. It’s easy. All you have to do is take avantage of Facebook’s language targetting capabilities when posting your content. Problem solved.
This step-by-step guide is available on Slideshare here:
A little background:
Last Thursday, English language media across Canada exploded with the news that a small clothing boutique owner in Chelsey Quebec had received a letter from Quebec’s French language office stipulating that her largely English language Facebook page had to provide content in French. The store owner seemed flustered, stating in interviews that she had always conformed to language regulations but didn’t see how she could make it work on Facebook. After all, posting in French, then in English, would mess up her page, bilingual posts were unmanageable … and how on earth could they expect her to control the font size? Spokespersons for l’OLFQ stated that they had responded to a complaint, were entering into new territory with social media and definitely wanted to ensure that French was used online as well as off by businesses operating in Quebec.
A tempest in a teapot. Why? Because Facebook provides a simple solution that satisfies l’OLFQ. How do I know? I asked. And after some explatation of Facebook features and a little back and forth, l’OLFQ confirmed.
L’OLFQ publishes its guidelines for business owners online, in a document called « Bonnes pratiques linguistiques dans les entreprises. » Clause 4.4 speaks to social networks. Unfortunately, the clause isn’t particularly clear, and only provides some examples, not directives. It appears to offer the following French-only case study as an example of best practice:
Au Québec la Financière Sun Life (…) a d’ailleurs créé, pour l’entreprise et ses propriétés, des pages Facebook et Twitter purement québécoises, et exclusivement en français, afin de créer un dialogue vivant.
I wrote to l’OLFQ requesting clarification. That correspondence is available here. To sum it all up, l’OLFQ agrees that if Facebook page managers use Facebook’s language targetting functionality in the way brands like Fido do, they meet Quebec’s language requirements. This means that French content will display when the user has his or her Facebook settings set to French, and English content will display when the user has his or her Facebook settings set to English.
L’OLFQ does not hold businesses responsible for the conversations their Facebook fans may have on their page … meaning they don’t need to ensure that discussion is being held in French only … they only need to ensure that the content they themselves publish is available in French. Which then allows a business to also provide that same content in English.
Check out my Step-by-Step guide to OLFQ compliance on Facebook for all the details.
Do you feel more confident in your OLFQ compliance now?
I’ve run some interesting one-on-one coaching sessions for independent consultants and small business owners recently, with a particular focus on Linkedin. Here are some of my top tips for small business owners who have decided to leverage this social network to increase their notoriety and position themselves as specialists in their field.
1. Be strategic when building your profile
Think SEO (search engine optimisation) when describing yourself. Rather than « President, Michelle Sullivan Communications », for example, I’ve put myself in the shoes of LinkedIn users who will use the platform’s search tool to find a PR consultant with a social media background. For this reason, my profile reads « PR consultant, social media specialist, speaker, trainer. » This is how I’ve positioned myself in the market and these keywords speak to the kind of mandates I’m hoping to attract. This will evolve as my business priorities change and, luckily, LinkedIn provides the level of flexibility needed to ensure my profile is always up to date.
2. Don’t limit yourself: LinkedIn is much more than a place to post your resumé
I’d wager a good 80% of LinkedIn members miss the boat on the platform’s social networking potential. They limit themselves to building their profile, as if it were an online resumé. They fail to explore LinkedIn’s ability to connect them with people they already know, not to mention people they’d like to get to know: potential clients, mentors and professionals who could help open doors. Take the time to explore the network to see how it can help you make the kinds of connections that will grow your business. Become part of the community, so it can start to work for you.
3. Become an active member of a LinkedIn group
One of the best ways to increase your notoriety and broaden your reputation through LinkedIn is by actively contributing to group discussions. As always, resist the tempation to join too many groups at first in order to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Your goal is quality, not quantity.
I recommend joining 3 types of groups at first:
- a group of your immediate peers
- a broader group of peers
- a group consisting of your target market
By joining the group of first-degree peers, that is to say of professionals who practice in the same field, you enter into an exchange of ideas that will be beneficial to your professional development while increasing your notoriety within that group. As you contribute intelligently to discussions and begin to be perceived as a valuable resource, you’ll attract the attention of peers who, while they may more often than not be competitors, could also potentially be collaborators or refer you to clients when their workload doesn’t permit them to take on new mandates. Most importantly, you’ll engage in interesting conversations that will feed your professional soul.
Joining a broader group of peers, who practice in the same general field but who don’t offer exactly the same services as you puts you in an even better position to develop ties with people who could refer potential clients to you. As you make valuable contributions to group discussions and become known within this circle for your expertise and the niche service you provide, you increase the possibility that group members will allow you to tap into their network. They’ll be able to point potential clients in your direction when a mandate doesn’t interest them or doesn’t quite fit their specific service offering.
Finally, joining a group that includes members of your target market, and building a reputation for yourself as the go-to person in your niche area of expertise is a great way to drum up new business. You’ll be able to stand out from the crowd and grow your reputation as a specialist in your field, able to provide a valuable service to group members. A warning however: tread carefully, as you certainly don’t want to build a reputation as a spammer. Contribute only relevant content that will be valuable to the group. Shameless self-promotion is not the way to win respect or clients.
4. Write recommendations for others … and don’t be shy about soliciting some for yourself
Social networks like LinkedIn work best when the principle of giving back is applied. Take the time to go further than the simple one-click endorsements LinkedIn promotes and leverage their recommendation tool to recognize the quality work of professionals you’re happy to refer to others. These short letters of recommendation will not only be appreciated by your contacts, they will increase the chances that they may return the favour. But your role shouldn’t be a passive one. Reach out to past clients and colleagues and ask them to take 5 minutes to recommend your services through LinkedIn. If you’re a speaker or trainer, grab the list of participants before you leave the venue and reach out to them on LinkedIn, following up with a new connection to ask for feedback on the workshop they attended. The platform does a nice job of making all of this easy, so take advantage of the opportunity to solidify connections and make them work for you.
5. Leverage your network
You have your eye on a potential customer? Someone who doesn’t yet know how valuable you could be to their business or organisation? Use LinkedIn to see if and how you’re connected. LinkedIn will reveal the identify of people who can serve as intermediaries. Building connections through LinkedIn is very easy for you and every intermediary able to introduce you to your future clients, so don’t be shy.
Understanding the power of LinkedIn’s ability to connect you with the people who matter is an important step towards building your credibility online. Do this, and the world’s your oyster.
How have you been using LinkedIn to grow your business?
Like a kid in a candy store, once you’ve committed to social media you’ll be tempted to grab a handful. Don’t. Resist jumping onboard the Facebook and Twitter (and LinkedIn, and Instagram, and Pinterest, and .. and … and) bandwagons just because those networks are getting good buzz in traditional media. Take a breath before succumbing to the pressure to be « where everyone else is ». Social networks are expensive. Yes, you heard me, expensive. Subscription (generally) doesn’t cost anything, but social networks are very resource greedy and before you know it you’ll be spread too thin, frustrated and wondering where the return on investment is.
And you want to feel like you’re getting a return on your investment of precious time and energy.
So what’s a small business owner or marketer to do?
Follow these 5 steps before deciding which social network is right for you:
1. Identify your target audience. Who is likely to purchase your product or service? Who is likely to identify with your content enough to share it with decision makers? Which social networks are they on? That’s a great place to consider starting. But you’re not done yet.
2. Benchmark. Identify competitors and colleagues with a presence on social networks. Where are they and what are they doing? Are they enjoying success through their social media initiatives? Do you think you can compete for attention with them there? If so, you might consider opening an account on the same social network. After all, laws of proximity that apply to commercial bricks-and-mortar spaces can also apply to the online world and being where your target audience expects to find you is an important consideration. That said, have you also considered niche networks? After all, opening a presence on Facebook or Twitter can be the equivalent of opening a store in the Mall of America or West Edmonton Mall. You’re likely to get lost in the fray. Lesser known niche social networks might be just the thing to stand out from the crowd. You’ll have access to a smaller group, but if they’re more relevant to your area of interest, the return on investment could very well be higher. After all, if you sell purple-sparkly-unicorn-ribbons, you want to be among purple-sparkly-unicorn-ribbon lovers. When it comes to choosing a social network, your strategy will depend upon your level of notoriety, your industry, your needs and your capacities.
3. Have you attached enough importance to your own web properties? Social networks are great for building links with your community and driving traffic to your website. This, after all, is home. Is your website up to snuff? Is a mobile version available? Are you blogging yet? Going off to play in Mark Zuckerberg or Jack Dorsey’s playgrounds is great, but before you do be sure your house is in order and you’re doing everything you can to build credibility through your own channels.
4. Check your ego at the door. Social media is not for the reluctant. If you’re going to join the party, you need to make sure you’re not on the defensive or fearful. Be open to different ideas and criticism. You need to begin to see negative comments as opportunities. Opportunities to thank for feedback, explain your position, clarify misconceptions and, where appropriate, offer an apology.
5. Be realistic about your bandwidth and abilities. Is communication your forte? Are you willing to set aside a considerable enough amount of time to market your products and services? The amount of time and pleasure you’re likely to give to and take from social media initiatives is going to be a determining factor in your success online. Rather than launching your brand presence on 10 social networks at once, begin with and get comfortable with one, moving onto the next when you’re ready. You’re more likely to stay the course if you pace yourself.
Follow these 5 important steps and you’ll be on your way to social networking bliss.
Before I let you go, a word to the wise and a hat tip to one of my previous blog posts : opening an account in a social network in order to squat in your brand or company’s name is good practice. It prevents others from claiming your brand name before you do. But there’s a difference between reserving your spot and moving forward with social media. I’m speaking in today’s post of initiatives that go beyond this basic point. Countless business owners and marketers embark upon the social network adventure only to give up quickly after a few tweets or posts on a branded Facebook page. Don’t be that guy.
How are you going about choosing the social network that’s right for your business?