How to Engage Employees in Social Media for Sales Results

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An Alan See CMO Temps white paper on DocuStar

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  • How to Engage Employees in Social Media for Sales Results Alan See CMO, DocuStar, Inc. by
  • Executive summary Social media is driving a wave of human interaction around the world and its use in the workplace has become an important discussion among companies. No one will question the rapid growth of social media and its impact on the customer experience, but many organizations still struggle with allowing employees to engage on social platforms due to risk and regulatory compliance issues.This white paper will examine three key competency areas in relation to the use of social media among employees: Strategy, Processes and Technology. Highlighted are key components and detailed steps that will help employees engage in social media and improve the company brand. 2 How to Engage Employees in Social Media for Sales Results The average number of in-house social media employees today is 4.1 1. CMO Survey Report by Duke University, McKinsey and the American Marketing Association, February 2014. http://www.cmosurvey.org/results/
  • Introduction The customer experience refers to all touch points people have from the moment they are aware of a need until they have fulfilled that need. At a high-level, social media has the potential to influence the customer experience when employees are able to engage in dialogue with the customer and begin building trust-based relationships over time. To make the social-ready transformation an organization may need to adopt a new mindset. Most transformations involve strategy, technology and processes and a social media transformation is no different in that respect. 3docustar.com How to Engage Employees in Social Media for Sales Results On average, when employees share something anything with their social networks, each one reaches 20 times more people than a typical brand sharing with the same number of followers.2 2. Unleashing Power Employee Advocacy, Social Media Today, April 3, 2014 http://socialmediatoday.com/Beyond_Engagement/unleashing-power-employee-advocacy
  • Competency Area #1: STRATEGY Identify your goals and objectives A solid strategy begins with goals and objectives. Many companies are trying to increase sales by improving brand awareness and the customer experience through social media. Others look at reducing costs by becoming more efficient. Whatever your situation, your social media goals and objectives should support your strategic marketing plan, which supports your overall business goals and objectives. Your goals should be supported by SMART objectives so that you can properly track your progress: Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Timed 4 How to Engage Employees in Social Media for Sales Results
  • Create a social media policy There are many challenges associated with social media, especially when it comes to a companys social media use at work. Companies should encourage employee advocacy and engagement on social channels, but there need to be rules and guidelines. The use of the Internet can affect the way customers view a companys products and employees. Negative comments or a hostile environment can tarnish the reputation of the company. Does your company have a policy regarding social media, blogging or posting information on the Internet? If one doesnt exist, create one. Educate and train your employees and partners, and add it to the corporate employee handbook or intranet for reference. Recognize the importance of participating in online conversations but provide a clear policy to help protect both the integrity of the business as well as employees. 5docustar.com How to Engage Employees in Social Media for Sales Results
  • Address compliance concerns Is there a mandated compliance restriction in your industry? Discuss any confidential or legal issues that could harm the companys image. Inform and provide guidance for your employees on dos and donts. Dont let it collect dust Social media and technology are constantly changing, so social media policies need to be updated every few months. Ask yourself if its still relevant or helps your employees do their jobs. Do any legal updates apply? If a policy is developed well enough, it can support and empower employees to be more engaged online. 6 How to Engage Employees in Social Media for Sales Results SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY KEY POINTS DEFINE: Define what employees can/cant do. IDENTIFY: Identify corporate values and help employees understand the impact of their online behavior on their personal brand and the permanence of online posts. REFERENCE: Reference other corporate policies that also may apply in the social media space such as confidentiality, discrimination and harassment policies. INFORM: Inform employees who to contact if they receive a question via social channels about the company that they cant or should not answer and who to contact if employees have questions about the policy itself.
  • Competency Area #2: PROCESSES Empower your employees and make it measurable Social media is becoming more of a function of the company and less of a role of just one person or department responsible for Facebooking and Tweetingmore than just the marketing department needs to be active on social media channels. Employees, partners and distributors are the ambassadors for your brand, and empowering them to become brand advocates can go a long way to amplifying your companys message. How do businesses leverage social media through their employees and partners? Companies can engage their employees by doing the following: Grant your employees access Your employees are already more than likely using social media while theyre at work. And lets be honest: if you block access to these sites, youre only doing damage by getting rid of a direct link to your customers. Embrace the use of technology and let your employees engage in online conversations. 7docustar.com How to Engage Employees in Social Media for Sales Results Source: The Rise of Social Salespeople, Forbes, November 5, 2012.3 3. The Rise of Social Salespeople, Forbes, November 5, 2012. http://www.forbes.com/sites/markfidelman/2012/11/05/the-rise-of-social-salespeople/
  • Meet them halfway Make it easy for your employees to be engaged on social media. Gather existing company material and make it readily available for them to post and share. Education and training It pays to have a good foundation, and training is a critical step in engaging employees and partners on social media. Some of your employees might be socially savvy and will only need to be educated on corporate policy; others will need a complete guide to social media. Lead from the front Identify company executives or employees who are already doing a good job on social media and highlight their activity. Use their success with social media as leverage to get others in the company involved. Set realistic expectations Each individual in the company can be a voice for the company, driving engagement from their profiles back to the company. Some will need to be brought up to speed on social media and how to use it professionally. Recruit interested employees but recognize not every employee will want to participate. Employee profiles are their own Every company should respect any employees online activity as self-expression, however, employees who choose to identify themselves as a member of a company may be viewed as a spokesperson for that brand. It should be clearly How to Engage Employees in Social Media for Sales Results 8
  • stated in their social profile, Opinions expressed here are my own. Even so, any post is a reflection of that employee as well as the company, so they should always act professionally. 9docustar.com How to Engage Employees in Social Media for Sales Results BE REALISTIC: Meaningful relationships are not built overnight LISTEN: Understand what your network is saying PARTICIPATE: Jump into conversations but dont go straight into a sales pitch CREATE: Content is King. Be a resource or find the resource BE POSITIVE: View the process as an opportunity to help others BE PREPARED: Spend time thinking about what information & insight you can share BE PROACTIVE: Nurture and maintain your network RESPONSIVENESS TRANSPARENCY AUTHENTICITY TRUST NETWORKING FOUNDATION NETWORKING PILLARS COVER YOUR NETWORK Social Networking Basics
  • Competency Area #3: TECHNOLOGY Leverage social media tools All too often employees dont know what to say and arent always up-to-date on company news, so they refrain from posting corporate content on social media. Social content distribution platforms, also called social employee advocacy software, can solve that problem and help you reach your audience by empowering your employees, partners and distributors to become effective brand advocates. The platforms house a content library where users have access to a full inventory of posts that have already been created by marketing. An automated corporate approval review process within the online portal can also be in place to ensure compliance. Employees can track real-time metrics of likes and shares and marketing can track and report results on not only corporate social accounts but across participating employee accounts as well. 10 How to Engage Employees in Social Media for Sales Results Members of the general public trust ordinary people like themselves nearly twice as much as they do c