We are proud to announce that on March 15, 2016, Blue Focus Marketing (@BlueFocus), working with Lynda.com (@Lynda), a division of LinkedIn (@LinkedIn), released “Social Employees: The New Marketing Channel.” We designed this 22-part video tutorial course to show the value of social employee advocacy—and how to build a culture of engaged brand ambassadors. This course is a one-stop shop for business leaders and marketing professionals alike. From the dramatic sea change in consumer preferences and tips on how to best deploy helpful content across social channels, let Blue Focus Marketing take you from the why of social business to the how.
The Game Has Changed
Imagine how you might look if you took a horse and buggy down the freeway during rush hour—and how unsafe it would be. Imagine your surprise if your doctor suggested using leeches the next time you come down with a case of the sniffles. Or, imagine what your child’s teacher might say if you sent them to class with an abacus to help them solve their math problems.
Now, imagine what people will think if you jumped on Facebook and started using the same old one-way push marketing strategies your brand has been using for the past 30 years?
You would look pretty silly, wouldn’t you?
Welcome to the social era of marketing, where two-way conversations, authentic engagement, and collaborative branding rule the day. In this new world, a brand’s most valuable asset is its fans. According to oft-cited Nielsen data, 92 percent of consumers trust earned media—specifically peer and family recommendations—more than they trust any other source to help them make their purchase decisions.
In social marketing, it’s not about what you say about your brand. It’s about what others say about you. But today’s consumers don’t just recommend anyone. If you want them to advocate for you, first you need to earn their trust.
But how? As we explain in our best-selling book The Social Employee (McGraw-Hill, 2014), customers don’t want to talk to a logo. They want to talk to real people. They want to talk to social employees.
The New Authentic Marketing Channel
How effective can social employee advocacy be for your brand? According to recent data, only 3.5 percent of organizations see no benefit in social engagement. In other words, 96.5 percent of organizations are convinced of the value of social employee advocacy—and they’re reporting a wide range of benefits.
Chief among those benefits are increased visibility (79.1 percent), increased brand recognition (65.0 percent) and increased inbound web traffic (44.9 percent). Also noteworthy is that roughly one-third of the organizations surveyed also credit social employees for fostering better brand loyalty and customer advocacy. Whereas only a few years ago, the value of employee engagement was still a topic of hot debate, today the writing is on the wall: social employees are the new authentic marketing channel.
Engage and Activate
So how do you activate these social employees among your own organizational ranks? In our Lynda course, we provide the full breakdown, but here are some pointers to get you thinking about what engagement means in the social era.
- Identify your biggest fans. Whether internal or external advocates, those already celebrating your brand should be given a platform so that their voices can be amplified. This is the essence of brand co-creation—putting employee and customer advocates in conversation and watching the sparks fly.
- Follow the 80/20 rule. Social engagement is about taking an authentic interest in others. Use 80 percent of your posts to highlight industry news, standout leaders and other newsworthy content. The final 20 percent can be about you and your brand.
- Show social responsibility. Nielsen data shows that over half of global consumers are willing to spend more money on products from an organization demonstrating social responsibility. Find a cause that aligns with your brand, and use your platform to help spread awareness.
What you should know before watching this course video.
Culture eats strategy for breakfast.
In The Social Employee, we go behind the scenes with several leading brands—such as IBM, AT&T, Dell, Adobe, Southwest Airlines, Cisco, Acxiom, and Domo—pulling the lid off the inspiring social business success stories that have propelled these companies into the 21st century. These cutting-edge brands have all come to the same realization: the path to social business lies through empowering the social employee.
“Great brands have always started on the inside, but why are companies taking so long to leverage the great opportunities offered by internal social media? . . . The Social Employee lifts the lid on this potential and provides guidance for businesses everywhere.” —JEZ FRAMPTON, Global Chairman and CEO, Interbrand
The Social Employee offers an unparalleled behind-the-scenes look at the social business success stories of some of the biggest brand names in the business world, including IBM, AT&T, Dell, Adobe, Southwest Airlines, Cisco, Acxiom, and Domo. These cutting-edge brands have all come to the same realization: the path to social business lies through empowering the social employee.
The brands that leverage their employee base in order to engage customers and prospects through social media are the ones destined to win the marketing wars. This book not only details the astronomical rise of the social employee, but also outlines the innovative methods that leading companies have employed to foster cultures of enthusiastic and engaged workers.
AFTERWORD by Kevin Randall, Vice President of Brand Strategy & Research at Movéo Integrated Branding, and journalist for The New York Times, The Economist and Vanity Fair.