Join Mark Burgess for an in-depth discussion in this video What you should know before watching this course, part of Social Employees: The New Marketing Channel.
- In an age where social media rips the covers off the inner-workings of modern business, leading brands such as IBM, AT&T, Dell, Southwest, and many others, are investing considerable resources toward building a workforce of engaged brand ambassadors, or what we call social employees. So why are these brands doing this? What do they know about social engagement and the future of marketing, that the rest of us don't? Simply put, traditional marketing methods just don't pack the same punch they used to.
Studies show that while 14% of people trust traditional ads, 78% trust their peers for reviews and recommendations. Todays customers don't wanna talk to a logo, they want to engage with the brand, and who better to drive this engagement than your employees? Afterall, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer, social employees have more power in the digital bazaar than their CEOs. The most forward thinking companies know that the social employee is the new authentic marketing channel of the future.
And they've got the numbers to prove it, courtesy of research conducted by Hinge Research and Social Media Today. According to the survey, roughly four out of five respondents cited increased visibility as the top benefit of social employee advocacy programs, while about two thirds pointed to increased brand recognition, and a little less than half saw increased outbound web traffic. Several other benefits were cited in the study, while only 3.5% of respondents said they hadn't seen any benefits from social engagement whatsoever.
The message is clear. Your brand will benefit through responsible social engagement, but it's up to you to come up with a plan to put the process into motion. Ultimately, the goal of marketing is the same as it's always been: increasing visibility and building relationships with customers, prospects, and other stakeholders, with the goal of growing your business. Social employee advocacy is simply the most recent, the most cost effective means of achieving this end.
And it works because consumers are increasingly taking to social channels to both research and recommend new products and services, ultimately leading them to make more informed purchase decisions, and to seek long-term brand relationships based on that experience. In fact, according to the Global Web Index, the average adult has five social media accounts, and spends about one hour and 40 minutes on them each day.
So if you want your employees to know more about who you are, and what you do, it's time for you and your employees to start engaging online. Empowering your social employees is a clear win-win for both the organization, and the employee. Brands benefit from more authentic communication, increased leads, higher sales, and greater cost-effectiveness, while their employees get to grow their own personal brands, and to build a broader skillset, thereby boosting their visibility, and accelerating their own careers.
Here's a handy metaphor to help you visualize the power of social employees in the organization, courtesy of IBM. Picture a baseball and a bag of marbles, side-by-side. The two items have about the same volume. That is, if you drop them into a bucket of water, they would displace the same amount of water. The baseball represents traditional marketing. The marbles represent a social business with empowered social employees. The difference, however, is that the bag of marbles has over 300% greater surface area.
That means greater connections and interractions, both internally, and across the enterprise, and externally with customers and prospects. So in essence, the marbles are the sum of your employees' personal brands, and your digital footprint in the social marketplace. Social engagement is a continual process with infinite touchpoints, and endless paths to success. To illustrate this concept, we created a nonlinear model based on the concept of the Möbius strip, which is a closed loop with an infinitely twisting surface.
We chose this model to represent the shifting roles and touchpoints we all occupy over the course of the day, the year, or even our lifetime. So at the heart of the Möbius model, is the philosophy of the win-win. Through the continual learning process of social engagement, social employees create lasting relationships for their brands, while they simultaneously build their own personal brands.
As empowered brand ambassadors, social employees hold the power to transform how companies communicate both internally and externally to reach customers. This is a win/win for both company and employee—boosting brand value for the company through authentic communication and increasing exposure and career opportunities for employees. Social employees build their own personal brands and establish themselves as leaders in their field. Here Mark and Cheryl outline the roles empowered social employees can play to transform culture and drive business results, including a five-step pilot social employee plan (called the 5 Ds) designed to help companies to increase internal and external engagement, leads, reputation, and sales. This means a more trusted brand that attracts and retains high-value employees—and that delivers more effective marketing communications in the digital marketplace. This course moves from explaining why it makes sense to create engaged brand ambassadors to how to implement and measure results.
- Shifting from outbound to inbound marketing
- Creating the social employee
- Encouraging social executives and leaders
- Storytelling using social media
- Creating a social employee pilot plan