Today, the question isn’t why you should invest in social media marketing, but rather how you can do it well to make an impact. To do this effectively, you must look to turn your fans and followers into powerful brand advocates whose opinions can influence and incite fellow consumers. This post is dedicated to creating valuable ways to educate, nurture and mobilize this legion of fans and enthusiasts, and it all starts inside the four walls of your corporate office. Think Cisco, Comcast, Dell, IBM and Zappos —they’re using their employees as social media troops to communicate their company’s key messages and build stronger ties with the community, and so can you. But it all starts with leadership, education and ongoing nurturing. To help you arm your social media troops, here are some tips.
Identify social media natives.
For many, social media budget is a luxury. This means you must find a way to scale beyond your current resources. At JDA, I decided to research and speak with our associates to identify our social media experts who were willing to join the social media team in our effort to train and become social media natives to support our education program. Two heads are better than one. Ten heads are even better. Separate the haves versus have-nots and invite them to become social media natives to help you in your cause. Train them first, as they will be your extension in your social media effort. This means communicating your social media marketing vision, goals and objectives for what you want them to achieve.
Recruit and mobilize your ambassadors.
The first step is to identify your strongest evangelists who are already in the field actively advocating your brand and promoting your products. At JDA Software, we launched the JDA Social Media Ambassador Program with 15 of our strongest industry experts from around the globe who were already sharing their expertise and building thought leadership. The JDA Social Media Natives launched a multi-tier education program for our ambassadors to help them become experts in social media—transitioning the conversations with traditional media to social media engagement. Once you have identified your ambassadors, it’s easy to expand their role in your brand-centric activities to include blogging.
Develop a social media buddy program.
Social media never sleeps. To help scale your efforts, create a buddy program by pairing up social media natives with ambassadors. Social media natives’ responsibilities are to work with their buddies on an ongoing basis to identify key influencers for them, provide commenting opportunities on influential blogs and news sites, etc.
Multiply your army.
Now that you have your social media ambassadors at work, it’s time to recruit your army to support your greater cause. Look around your company and find out which business units are customer facing—such as product management, services, support and HR recruiting. Once you’ve identified these groups, train them one by one, either through townhall-style workshops, video webinars or webinars. Remember, each individual group will have a different purpose for social media. For example, company recruiters will want to know how they can use social media tools to identify potential candidates and connect. So be sure to tailor your education program for each respective group. One size does not fit all.
I want to know your thoughts. How are you mobilizing your troops and what’s the biggest challenge you face with supporting your legion of advocates?