Employees are your greatest marketing assets
I enjoyed seeing Jay Baer give a presentation at Social Media Marketing World titled How to Turn Your Employees Into Your Best Social Media Advocates. I have long been a strong proponent of employee brand advocacy. In fact I list it as one of the five pillars of a social business. So, I invited Jay to jump on a podcast recording with me to discuss this topic, and he graciously obliged. Here is a link to Jay’s presentation. Below is a list of key points Jay and I discussed.
If you listen to Jay’s Social Pros podcast, you know that he asks each of his guests this question: “If you could have a Skype call with any living person, who would that be?” For the first time, you’ll hear Jay answer that question on this podcast episode.
Key points we discussed on this episode…
Employee advocacy is borne from culture, not technology. It’s difficult to make a culture shift. It’s like a blood disease. It’s difficult to convince senior leadership to change. Such change typically occurs over a period of years. Sometimes employees leave if a culture shift takes too long to change.
Your employees should be your biggest advocate. If your employees aren’t your biggest advocates, you have a bigger problem to solve.
Social media guidelines (not policy) encourage employee participation because they provide encouragement and actually give employees permission to engage in social media as brand advocates.
If the C-suite sees employees fleeing, that might persuade them to embrace a social business culture. However, if they see customers fleeing, that’s more convincing to the C-suite to embrace a social business culture.
Companies that are good places to work are good at social media.
The Human Conduit refers to the notion that information conveyed by individuals is far more believable than what companies say as the brand. The employee is more credible than the corporate message.
Employee advocacy needs to be voluntary with guidelines, training and support. No good social media gets created at bayonet point. Employees who don’t love social media, won’t be good at it.
The organization should provide training and certification, E.G., Dell has more than 10,000 employees certified in social media. It’s a disservice to employees to ask them to do social media without providing ongoing training. The changes in social media require ongoing training, not a “one and done” approach.
I suggested amending Jay’s famous quote from his book YouTility: “Content is fire and social media is gasoline,” to “Content is fire and social media is gasoline and the employee is the blow torch.” Jay’s response was lukewarm. He wisely pointed out that employees can indeed be a blow torch and likewise customers can also be a blow torch. I can’t argue that point!
“Marketing’s message is best conveyed by the people sitting right next to you at work.”
Every employee is in marketing and customer service. Most companies have employees that can be identified in social media. Companies can’t hide behind a logo as in years before social media existed. So, when real people are contacted by customers, no matter their title or role, those employees are in customer service. This is a mindset issue.
Jay’s response to the question I ask each guest on my podcast: “Businesses today don’t have enough patience. The explosion of technology has enabled us to work faster. Companies expect the sale to close faster. The mindset should shift from becoming a customer today, to becoming a customer eventually. This mindset is rooted in culture.”
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