Arguably the hardest part of leveraging the power of social media is generating an initial swell of activity. Every day, we read fantastic case studies of companies who tap their biggest fans to help generate quality word-of-mouth. While there’s no question that customers are one of the most effective assets in social-media marketing, companies of all shapes and sizes often overlook their built-in social network: their employees.
A recent Forrester study indicates that tech-savvy employees who are equipped with information are more likely to advocate on their company’s behalf. Consequently, it is the responsibility of today’s marketer to arm their colleagues with the tools and messages to enable word-of-mouth. In today’s competitive environment, every social-media campaign needs a spark. Your employees, the very folks who build, sell and manage your products every day, are perhaps the most suited to kick-start your campaign. Here are a few ways to empower your employees to get your word-of-mouth moving.
Extend the “all-staff” e-mail. Internal “all-staff” e-mails are perhaps the No. 1 way employees hear about all the great milestones, product updates and announcements at your company. But why do we stop there? After each important announcement (intended for the outside world, of course), add a baked-in tweet or status update, complete with a link to the appropriate news release or landing page. Not only will your well-connected employees share the big announcement, their networks will listen — as they will be “breaking the news” from the inside.
Socialize PowerPoint. Is there a company PowerPoint deck that your sales or business development people use frequently? If you’re lucky, the deck details the value of your business in ways your website or your e-mail signature just can’t. So why not extend that messaging? Get that presentation uploaded on SlideShare, tag accordingly and get your entire staff to upload the deck to their LinkedIn profiles, via the SlideShare application (You can also use Google Presentation on LinkedIn).
“Like” where you work. Chances are, a good chunk of your staff is on Facebook. Scratch that. They all are. How many of them “like” your company? Some people may prefer to keep their personal life separate from their professional life, but it never hurts to ask. Most likely, they’ll accept — and several of them may turn into active (and valuable) participants.
Ax the fax and socialize your business cards. When was the last time someone interacted with you (or your company) via fax? So why is a fax number still a standard component of business cards while social-media outlets are omitted? It just makes sense. Your staff are leaving behind their business cards at conferences and meetings, so including a link to a blog, a company Twitter account or Facebook page provides potential customers or clients with a meaningful way to interact with your brand. All of the above also applies to your employees’ e-mail signatures. Present your staff with a template, complete with all appropriate social outposts — and watch your network grow.
What other ways are companies leveraging the employee marketer? Incentives?