How to ‘socialise’ your workforce.

If you think about it, your employees should be the most devout ambassadors of your brand. They know your products and services better then most and it’s in their interests to promote the company that pays their wages. The credibility associated with this kind of word-of-mouth advertising makes it potentially one of the most effective promotional vehicles at your brand’s disposal.

As the proliferation of social media platforms continues to change and meld our personal and business lives, so it becomes an ever more powerful (and relatively inexpensive) tool for your ambassadors to influence the buying habits of those in their social spheres by spreading the good word about your brand far and wide.

So how do you make effective brand ambassadors of your employees and ‘socialise’ your workforce? Here are some suggestions:

1) Get your employees onside – unhappy employees are not likely to make your best brand ambassadors. It goes without saying, look after them and they will look after you. That is more important now than ever if you want to keep your brand’s reputation intact.

2) ‘Socialise’ your culture – ensure that social media is a part of the cultural fabric of your organisation. If you haven’t already heard, it’s how we communicate these days – and it’s going to become more prolific for building relationships with clients, suppliers, colleagues, etc. If you don’t vilify phone and email users, or meeting attendees for that matter, then why do it to staff members who are more comfortable using social media – most likely your younger and more forward-thinking employees. Don’t ration or outlaw the use of social media at work – embrace it as a part of your communications strategy and enable your workforce to be comfortable with it. See a word from me about this in an earlier blog post.

3) Identify your ‘social employees –  these are the ones that will carry your social strategy forward and become your greatest brand ambassadors. Survey your staff – ask around. Have a quick shufty on social networks and see who’s active. Then engage them.

4) Plan your strategy – identify some objectives for your social efforts (eg. drive website traffic and conversions, build brand awareness). Define key messages you want to get across to your audience and then educate your social ambassadors about them.  Schedule these messages to coincide with particular events (eg. product launch) to make them relevant. Set some parameters for the socialisation of your social marketing efforts.

5) Tool up – give your social employees the tools they need to weave their magic. Give them access to social networks on their desktops and laptops. Explore the use of social media as an internal communications tool. Give your social army (paid-for) mobile devices, dedicated solely to the business of promoting your business – and make sure they have permissions and budgets to download the social apps they need for the task. Offer any training required.

6) Incentivise – give your social employees an incentive to broadcast their loyalty to your brand. Give them the option to try or even own new products before official release, so they can blog, tweet, pin and share their opinions (within agreed parameters of course). Offer other incentives for employees who generate results. How about giving away an iPad once a quarter, to encourage your social employees to be even more sociable?

7) Monitor – measure the results of your social efforts against your objectives. Make sure someone is in charge and on top of what your social employees are doing online. You don’t want your brand name dragged through the mud by one of your own because they had a disagreement with a colleague.

The age of the ‘social employee’ dawns.

Check out more on the subject here:

http://blog.clomedia.com/2012/06/redefining-the-social-employee/

Social overload

You‘ve set up a gazillion social media accounts for your brand. Now what?

It’s usually a directive from above. ‘We need to be on X network.’ ‘We need to have a Y account.’

Wrong approach. Calm down, have a biscuit and think about this for a second.

The points made in this article are right on the money.

http://socialmediatoday.com/fixcourse/564760/3-social-media-mistakes-you-dont-know-youre-making

It’s not about quantity it’s about quality. Make your content compelling and relevant. Sales guff makes you look silly on social media. Do less and do it well (this should apply to everything actually). You don’t have the resources to manage all those accounts effectively. You probably don’t have the resources to manage two accounts properly. And if they are neglected or mismanaged they will do you more harm than good. Do some ROI analysis before leaping in – and don’t underestimate the ‘I’ bit.

The article quotes Steve Jobs:

“Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do”

Getting results takes time, effort and energy. Sure, your personal facebook page didn’t cost you anything but your business’ social presence will. It will cost you double-figures man-hours a week and a considerable amount of time and energy crafting your tone of voice, creating your content, making sure you are seen in searches and building the kind of credibility that your followers will respond to.

You need results today? Then you should have started a year ago. Calm down and have another biscuit. Start now, review constantly and plan realistically about when your efforts will bare fruit. Dedicate resource to the task properly. Managing social media isn’t something your existing resources just ‘slip in’ around what they’re currently doing. If you want results you will have to add resources or trim back on other activity.

Having a clear objective is key. Are you trying to grow referrals to your website, sell directly from your social media pages or build a community around your brand? If you don’t have a clear objective you have nothing to measure your success against. Make a plan and follow it.

What social media platform(s) you use should be dictated by where your audience is and whether the medium is the right fit for your product or industry. For example, if you are selling industrial grade widgets for a specialized heavy manufacturing process, the chances are that you don’t need to be talking to all those young women looking at food recipes and summer fashions on Pinterest. But if you are a fashion retailer then that’s exactly where you need to be.

Your net promoter store is your most useful measure of performance. It represents the percentage of customers who would recommend you. You are trying to maximize the number of people who rate you 9 or 10 out of 10. This comes down to quality product. Social media won’t save your brand if your product or service is below par.

Your marketing team will make the best judgments on your social media strategy. Let them. You can help them best by focussing on getting the product or service right and removing obstacles for them so they can believe in what they are selling and gain your brand the credibility it needs online to grow business.

Have a clear objective

If you don’t have a clear objective you have nothing to measure your success against.

good ideas

Most ideas are good ideas in isolation. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are good ideas in the context of the bigger picture.