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06/29/2009 Arm Those Employees


One challenge you run into in ramping up your business’ social media presence is deciding who’s going to do what. A big challenge is not to overload marketing people who already try to do too much and risk dropping the ball on engagement. But on the other hand, marketers don’t want to enlist other, busy people, who they have to manage closely in order to listen, react and share on social media platforms.

The biggest risk is that nothing happens and your business goes AWOL after a brief appearance in SM. Out of sight, quickly out of mind.

Warrior1One of the best ways I’ve seen to get around this is to engage employees to connect with your brands’ social media profiles and to encourage them to participate on behalf of the brand. That’s right, a classic case of letting your employees act as brand ambassadors since they’re probably the most authentic spokespeople the brand has.

Do you dare to do this? Marketers always seem squeamish when they put employees in the forefront. But, you know, this is marketing’s problem. From a business standpoint, employees are always in front, that’s who people see and talk with.

Want to know who does this the best? Look at Zappos. At last count 198 Zappos employees were on Twitter. Check out this article on what they do.

 It doesn’t stop with Twitter. Your employees should be your Facebook fans and some should even help administer your fan page. Think concentric circles here. Adding your employees helps to add their friends to your fan base, and their friends and, well, you get the idea. It’s a lot more interesting for friends of employees to share their friends’ stories than yours, in many cases.

It’s the same thing with LinkedIn. Yes, some of your employees use LinkedIn to look for new jobs, even while they’re working for you. They’re not stupid, thank God. Encourage your employees to create LinkedIn profiles, then create your company group and let them engage each other and share questions and problems on it.

Sounds easy, right? It isn’t. The leadership and the marketing leadership at your company need to let people know this is okay, that you encourage it, and that there might even be some reward in it. Then do it yourself, personally, and keep reminding people around you. Read that last sentence again. Do it yourself and keep reminding people around you.

I’ve seen too many leaders talk about the importance of relationships and collaboration but yet never seem to do it themselves. If, as a leader, you can’t walk the walk, step aside and let someone else lead this.

Employees are one of the best social media weapons businesses have. Are you ready to take aim?

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