Adopting a social marketing strategy has become one of the most significant ways to actually reach your target customers. But many companies, having the marketing department be the social voice isn’t enough. Enter the social employee.
Social employees can be anyone, from the newest person on the production floor all the way up to the CEO. Cheryl Burgess and Mark Burgess of Blue Focus Marketing wrote about the concept in a recent book.
The social employee is one who has been trained to utilize their social media accounts at work in a way that will truly benefit business. The age of digital communication has changed the way in which employees are able to grow and develop. Now everyone has the power to have an impact. Allowing them some time each day to be on social media accounts focusing work-related topics can actually give employees tools and insights that will make the company stronger.
Social employees can not only post information about company events and products but also:
- Interact and get insights from industry experts
- Follow influential names and gather information about how they do business
- Learn about market trends that can be integrated into the workplace
- Build brand trust with potential customers by recommending products
Social employees are vastly different than the traditional marketing department because they are not using the company logo to build the brand name. “Ninety-percent of people do not trust traditional ads… but almost 80% do trust recommendations,” said Mark Burgess in his TEDTalk on the subject, “word of mouth is 10 times more powerful than traditional ads.”
Employers that have adopted a social employee policy can now reach each employee’s Facebook friends and Twitter followers through a more personalized means because the employees are the ones recommending products to them. Since individuals are more likely to trust recommendations, there is a higher number of potential customers converting to actual buyers and loyal brand followers.
Does this spell the end of the marketing department?
No, not necessarily. The marketing department will still be relied upon heavily to create new and interesting content that promotes the business and maintains customer enthusiasm for products. Actually, new ideas will be more important than ever to really show potential customers why other members of the company are recommending products. If anything, the implementation of the social employee should free the marketing department to pursue more time consuming and skill-oriented projects.
Furthermore, it can be expected that as a social employee program is brought to the production floor or anywhere else outside of the marketing department questions will arise that the marketing professionals should be ready and willing to answer. Although the social employee marketing strategy is much more organic in its methods of attracting customers, there are most certainly ideas and products marketers will want promoted more heavily than others.
Marketing professionals may have to teach employees that are newer to social media marketing strategies how to communicate messages in a clear and professional manner. Releasing every employee out to represent the company requires some level of trust and most certainly a protocol for what is acceptable behavior while using online accounts during work time, which the marketing department and management should work together to develop.
Integrating the social employee into your marketing strategy is a clever way to boost your social media presence. Additionally, it is a great way to offer employees a new way in which to contribute to the team and build useful skills. Social employees provide new possibilities for the marketing department by enabling it work focus on different projects and take marketing to the next level.
Jessica Keaton is a communications specialist at HyperTarget Marketing.