ok

How to Run an Effective Social Media Employee Advocacy Program

Every smart entrepreneur knows that you need to use social media to effectively market your business and your brand.

I realized that back in 2008, when I opened my camera store in New Jersey and had to compete against the largest camera store in the world – B&H Photo — and the biggest competitor of them all – Amazon. I had to acquire customers, and build our brand with little time and even less money. Social media turned out to be the fastest way to do that. But one of the problems I immediately faced was how to get engagement on our posts, when we didn’t have a big following on any of the social platforms.

This is a problem that many entrepreneurs face today.

In many cases, your social media accounts do not have very many followers, connections or interactions. So, if for example, you post on Facebook, your relatively small number of followers will mean Facebook’s algorithm will keep engagement very low. But is there a way to increase your engagement without investing a lot of money boosting posts?

The tactic I discovered back in 2008, and one that I have honed with great success today, is employee social advocacy. Here are the 10 steps I’ve used to implement and run an employee-driven, post-boosting program, which you can start doing today.

1. At the next staff meeting, it should be announced that you are looking for all team members to promote posts on their personal social media accounts – Facebook, LinkedIn, beBee, Twitter and Instagram — on a regular basis.

2. There should be an email sent to All@YourCompany.com with an explanation of what employee advocacy is, why it is done and what will be accomplished for the company. Ask staff to reply with their willingness to participate. I would not require any staff member to do it that doesn’t want to, but let them know there will be rewards for the people who do it the most.

3. In a follow up email, ask everyone to follow and like all of your YourCompany pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, beBee, Twitter and Instagram from their personal social media pages.

4.There needs to be a social leader in the company. It works best if it’s the owner, president or stakeholder. He or she will lead the charge on the personal posting side. Let everyone know who that will be. There can be more than one leader.

5. All participating members need to connect with the social leader. It’s ok if someone is not on every social platform. Let them participate where they can.

6. The social leader then creates a post on their personal social media accounts. Use all the social networks if it makes sense for the post’s content. The post needs to be interesting and engaging and include no direct selling. That post should be shared on all company pages by the company page owner.

7. Send an email to All@YourCompany.com with all of the links to the leader’s posts asking everyone to share on their accounts with a personal comment added that relates to their friends, fans or followers.

8. When you start this advocacy program, do one post per week until your staff gets use to it. Then do up to three per week, but that is the maximum you should do. The staff will get tired of it and so will your followers.

9. To jump start the program, give everyone who follows No. 2, No. 3, No. 5 and No. 7 a $20 giftcard or something similar. Many, who agreed to do it, won’t – especially the first time. A personal note or visit from the social leader asking them to participate again is the way to go here.

10. Create contests, and publicly hand out prizes. The top employees with the most engagement, receives a money prize, extended lunch, day off or something else intriguing. You should post a leaderboard and hand out prizes for the top performers for each month and for the year.

Employee social advocacy is an incredibly cost-effective way to build your brand and business. It also builds employee morale and creates a corporate culture where staff feels like they have directly contributed to the success of the company.

Source: Fox News, article by Matt Sweetwood http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/09/15/how-to-run-effective-social-media-employee-advocacy-program.html)

Read More

bigstock-Business-team-analyzing-market-39980689

Does Your Content Marketing Support Your Business Goals?

With 2016 more than halfway finished, it might be a good time to revisit those content calendars finalized last year and see how things turned out.

 

One quick method to ensure your content marketing supports your business goals is to revisit five questions that should have been asked before your content strategy was finalized:

Why are we creating content?
Who are we hoping to connect with?
How and when will we interact with them?
What do we want them to do?
How will we know we’ve achieved our goal?

This may seem like pretty basic stuff, but if the answers to these questions are not clear, it may be time to step back and make sure your content is meeting the following four expectations.

Your Content Connects

Whether it be B2B or B2C, effective content only delivers if it’s consumed. To connect, it must be easily found by your audience and it must resonate with them. For example, if you’re using Facebook to win over teens, you may be wasting your time. (One 2015 study confirms Snapchat and Instagram are both outpacing Facebook as the go-to Social channel for the 12-24 year olds.)

Understand where your audience hangs out online, and plan your content amplification channels appropriately.

Your Content Offers Value

Content cannot support business goals if it fails to deliver on customer needs. Providing useful, relevant, timely information is vital: 78% of consumers perceive there is a relationship with a brand once the brand provides useful information, according to Demand Metric.

So, what information is your audience after? The answer to that question is likely at your fingertips. By combing through your own data, you can see what it consumers are looking for.

Start by perusing the following sources:

  • Website usage and engagement data
  • Onsite search queries
  • Verbatim feedback submitted by customers
  • Social media engagement and comments
  • Customer surveys
  • Usability feedback
  • SEO keyword analysis
  • Feedback from your sales team and other customer-facing colleagues

Analyzing this data will uncover trends, patterns, and dominant themes. It will also reveal any content gaps that need to filled.

Your Content Is Measurable

Measurement is also essential, but each type of content has unique objectives. Although key performance indicators (KPIs) differ from one organization to the next, most center on the following:

  • Traffic Volume – What are the number of click-throughs, downloads, etc.?
  • Engagement – Do you know the amount of time a visitor stays on the page, watches the video, etc.?
  • Top Pages – Which pages generate the most traffic?
  • Resolving Audience Needs – Are frequent customer questions being addressed in the content?
  • Lead Generation – Are you capturing your prospects’ contact information before they leave?
  • Enhancing Brand Awareness – Are there upticks in brand recognition or other metrics that can be directly attributed to content?

KPIs should be factored into the creation of all future content.

Your Content Inspires Action

Addressing customer needs is essential. Equally important is a clear “next step.” What is it you want your customers to do? Download a guide? Hand over some contact information? Watch a video? Whatever it is, the next step should be crystal clear.

In almost every case, ongoing engagement should be the goal; helping people transition from one step of the journey to the next. This helps ensure content remains focused on providing useful information. It also provides content wizards with metrics by which success can be gauged and used to make strategic decisions.

Testing for Alignment

To ensure your content is hitting the marks, take a fresh look at the content you’ve created so far for 2016. Compare it to the checklist below.

  • Content was promoted to where your customers are hanging out online.
  • Content offered a clear benefit to your customers, meeting their search intent.
  • KPIs were factored into content creation and measurements were analyzed.
  • Clear calls-to-action were included.

Formula for Success

There you have it: a brief checklist to ensure content goals are simpatico with business goals.

Looking for an even simpler formula for success? The proverbial elevator test? Try boiling down your content goals into one or two sentences. Something like: “We’re doing X so that we can Y. We’ll know we’ve succeeded when Z.” Kind of like these examples:

  • We’re amplifying content on Facebook, so that we can reach our targeted customers. We’ll know we’ve succeeded when X% more website traffic comes from our Facebook page.
  • We’re ratcheting up blog articles to build our contact database through blog subscribers. We’ll know we’ve succeeded when X% of email subscribers convert to paying customers.
  • We’re nurturing our email leads so that we can increase customer retention and convert customers into influencers; success will be measured via shares, forwards, and click-through traffic.

In each example, definite customer conversions are the desired outcome. Content connects by giving customers what they need, when they need it. Boiling down content plans into a single declaration creates a clear indication of where content goals and business goals align.

Does your content support your business goals?

You can’t have an effective content strategy without a clear understanding of the business goals driving the strategy. Regardless of whether you want to reinforce the value of your brand, win over new customers, dominate online searches, or you are seeking some other outcomes, both the business objectives and what constitutes success must be clear.

By revisiting the original driver behind your content goals, you will eliminate the habit of “creating content just to create content.” Instead, every piece of content you produce will be customer-focused, delivering on their specific needs.

Source: Vertical Measures. Article by Jeff Hinkle (http://www.verticalmeasures.com/content-marketing-2/does-your-content-marketing-support-your-business-goals/)

Read More