What a terrible shame it would be if you went to all the effort of putting a killer content marketing and social media strategy together only to have to go it on your own.
That’s why any marketing strategy you develop is only as good as the support you have for it and getting your staff involved is a non-negotiable before you go ahead and push the launch button.
If, like many companies, you operate in competitive silos, i.e. I’m in marketing and wouldn’t be caught dead talking to Bob in sales, you’re going to have to muddy the waters a little and start fraternising with ‘the enemy’.
For it is only through staff buy-in and collaboration that your marketing strategy can be a success. In fact, by converting your staff into brand ambassadors you could even launch it more quickly.
If, for instance, you’re pursuing a content marketing strategy, a behind-the-scenes post on YouTube, Facebook and Google+ could see John, the game ranger, regale your audience with this morning’s shenanigans in the African bushveld, or Busi, the hotel chef, share her secret chakalaka recipe.
John and Busi are so proud to have their name in lights they share the company’s behind-the-scenes post with all their friends and networks, who, in turn, are so terribly proud of them they share it with their friends and networks.
Perhaps your product manager, Kim, has just been on an educational to Botswana and has some amazing photos to share on the company’s Facebook page or even Pinterest. Kim would want the world to know her photos have been published and so she will share the post prolifically with her network, and so on… and so on…
A couple of years ago, Adobe (you know the guys behind PDFs and some other pretty cool software) decided to enlist the help of its company employees to drive their sales through social media.
After discovering the Edelman Trust Barometer report that showed that trust in company employees had grown, they decided to focus on empowering all employees to be brand ambassadors.
According to Social Media Examiner, they put their employees in the driver’s seat, a brave move I will admit because, let’s face it, it’s a tall ask to control anything that’s said on social media and most of you have probably blocked it so they won’t spend all day ‘poking’ each other instead of working. Newsflash – they’ve got mobile phones.
Adobe made it easy for employees to share content about the company by designating a hashtag to all their social media posts – #adobelife. The idea was to promote the lifestyle that comes with working for Adobe and employees were encouraged to take pictures and share updates using the hashtag with their friends, family and followers.
The company had to put together social sharing guidelines, giving them guardrails and training to help them be safe when they wanted to talk about Adobe. They also identified elevated brand ambassadors – employees who wanted to go further and set up their own branded social media account.
It’s taken a lot of patience, time and resources, but the strategy is starting to yield results, says Adobe.
So whether you choose to rope in your staff to develop your content, or simply encourage them to help you share the content your company has developed, they can make a real difference to helping your content get circulated and your brand talked about.
Here are some handy tips to get them on board:
- Survey your staff: Get their insights into your marketing strategy. What do their customers want and need? Where do those customers find their information? What encourages them to buy? What challenges exist in the business that would make it difficult for you to roll out a strategy? Your staff can help you formulate great customer profiles that will help inform your strategy.
- Keep them informed: Once you’ve received their suggestions and communicated the strategy and how it will benefit the company, ask for their feedback and take it seriously. Give your staff a monthly update on how the marketing strategy is performing and impacting the company positively.
- Involve them in the solution: Determine how your staff are willing to contribute to the marketing of your brand. Can they help generate content? Will they help to distribute it on their own social networks? Do they have a special skills set or interest, e.g. photography they would like to contribute?
- Create content: Involve them in the creation of content. This could be from behind-the-scenes articles or videos and photographs taken on educationals, to articles on the Top 10 places to visit. Any content that is going to help position your company as an expert among its customers and raise your profile and theirs.
- Share content: Involve them in the sharing of content the company develops. Inform your staff when you post something that needs a special share and encourage them to share that content with their own networks.
Your entire company, and the staff who make it tick, have to live the strategy you employ. So make sure you have their interest, support and commitment before you launch it and don’t expect overnight results, which, as you know, is sadly always the case in marketing.