Get Your Entire Company On Board With Social Media

Is everyone supporting social media at your company?

Are you struggling to get the support you need?

And although there are many reasons why social media campaigns fail, far and away one of the biggest reasons for failure is the lack of top-to-bottom “buy-in” from all employees in a company.

  • In some cases, the CEO thinks the idea is frivolous.
  • In others, management has their doubts.
  • And in a large majority of companies, employees have no understanding of what social media is, what it does and how they can play a role in its success.

This, my friends, must change.

The Time for Complete Buy-In Is Now

The time has come for companies big and small to achieve complete social media buy-in from ALL employees.

The days of, “Yeah, we let the marketing department (assuming there is one) handle that stuff and we just do what we do,” must come to a close.

In fact, if I had a dollar for every head of marketing who has approached me in the last year and said, “Vikram, I just can’t seem to get anyone else in the company to buy into social media and assist me in my efforts,” I’d be a rich man.

So again, to say this is a problem would be an understatement.Whether it’s an army of 1 or 1,000, when all members of a team share the same vision of success, amazing things can happen. Look no further than the business example of Apple to see exactly what I’m talking about here.

Just as Steve Jobs helped his entire company, plus the world, to catch the Apple vision, so too must businesses small and large look to help their employees have a unified social media vision.

So that’s what this article is all about. We’re going to discuss 5 actions any company, large or small, can take to achieve this social media buy-in. And once we’re done, I can’t wait to hear your further thoughts and ideas below.

5 Ideas for Achieving Complete Social Media Buy-In From All Employees

#1: Someone Must Take the Lead

Every great project calls for a great leader. And if you want your company to dominate in social media, someone is going to have to take the reins.

No, this does not mean all responsibilities fall on one person’s shoulders; rather,the person is a coordinator, a motivator and a filter for all of the company’s core content and social media.

When it comes to true social media success, one thing is certain—if a company’s social media marketing is left up to chance and the unguided efforts of many, it will undoubtedly fail.

#2: Educate Via an Event

In so many cases, the manner in which a CMO establishes a social media campaign is incredibly lackluster and ineffective. Here are some examples of what not to do:

  • Send out a sudden mass email to all company employees asking them to write blog articles.
  • Notify staff of the company’s new Facebook page and suggest they Like it.

The reason for this is very simple: The majority of company employees, no matter the industry, do not understand the power and potential of social media. Blogs make little sense to them. Search engine optimization and its benefits are completely foreign. YouTube is something their kids do for fun. The list goes on and on.

This is why I strongly suggest that when a company decides to start a serious social media campaign—whether it’s via Facebook, Twitter, blogging, video, etc.—that they bring as many staff together as possible for a company “social media summit.”

There is a magic that can occur when a company meets together to fully lay out there social media goals and vision, as everyone can then start off on the same page.

During this summit, the first half of the event is really meant for education. This is where all employees can become familiar with types of social media, the potential power of these platforms, how content marketing works, etc.

Once employees understand how social media can impact the company by increasing sales, revenue and customer satisfaction (thus discovering the “why”), we can now move to phase 2 of this important summit.

#3: Encourage Employee Action

The next step of this summit is to implement an action plan of how each person in the company can make a difference. There are many examples of this, but I’ll just demonstrate one here.

In a recent social media summit for a company in Singapore, the CMO and I decided content marketing would be the main emphasis of their social media marketing efforts. To make this happen, we brainstormed as a group the common questions received each day from prospects and customers. Within 30 minutes and after much participation and enthusiasm from the entire group, we had well over 100 common questions.

Later on, I requested that the CMO turn each one of these questions into the title of a blog post, and assigned each article to different employees, with corresponding due dates for each.

Now that everyone in the company understood the power and importance of content marketing, each accepted his or her role in producing the assigned article. And because there were so many employees who were now willing to take part in this activity, it was easy for this company to produce multiple blog articles a week, all without putting too much burden on the shoulders of the CMO.

This example is powerful because before the summit, the CMO had been struggling for about a year to get other employees involved with the company’s social media efforts. But now that all were brought together in a manner that not only educated but also involved all parties, the reaction to “We need your help” was completely different.Talking about social media is one thing, but merging the brain power of everyone in an organization is truly special.

#4: Create a Company Social Media Newsletter

As with every movement, a great launch like a company social media summit is not enough to sustain the long-term practices necessary for social media success.

For this reason, I strongly urge all chief content and marketing officers to send out a regular newsletter to all employees explaining the results of their social media efforts.

Examples of things to include in this type of newsletter:

  • Special mentions of excellent blog articles and the employees who wrote them
  • Increase in the number of website visitors due to social media/blogging efforts
  • Leads and sales that were a direct result of social media campaigns
  • Positive customer testimonials/comments referencing blog posts, videos, etc.
  • Examples of how specific pieces of content led to a sale that otherwise likely would not have occurred
  • Question and feedback opportunities for the employees

As you can see, the amount of information that can be included in a newsletter like this is significant, but the importance of such a tool cannot be emphasized enough. Constant awareness is key to building long-term momentum with any marketing campaign, and by increasing this awareness, the process of making social media part of a company culture can then become a reality for any business.

Launching your social media campaign is only the beginning, but if everyone is going to work together on this, a newsletter of some type will be imperative going forward to keep everyone sharing the initial vision.

#5: Continue Training and Education

Nothing is developing more rapidly in this world than the Internet and social media. What was yesterday’s MySpace is today’s Facebook, so staying up to date and educated is necessary for long-term success.

Just as the newsletter helps employees to see the fruits of their labors, ongoing education with respect to social media marketing allows for continual improvements, innovations and ideas to come from staff members.

For example, because video marketing is becoming increasingly necessary going forward, it’s a great idea to train all employees in the basics of producing video. Once they have this knowledge and understand how to look for content opportunities, they can then start producing product- and service-related videos that can have a major impact on the company’s brand and web presence. And the more employees who jump in, the greater the results will be.

Just because someone on your staff might not have certain skills today to help with your social media efforts doesn’t mean they won’t excel in that area at some point with a little bit of guidance and training.

OVER TO YOU

So there are 5 suggestions for helping achieve complete social media buy-in with any organization. This being said, I know there are many other ways by which companies can establish such a social media culture.

As always, i’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments section below. Also, if you’ve tried any of the above steps in the past, what has been your experience? What did you do well and what would you have done differently?

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Social Media Optimization Strategies

Social Media Optimization Strategy: Use Good Content

Optimizing Your Social Media Outlets: Social media optimization strategies have gone from personal updates from friends to powerful marketing tools for companies. But as a new and very different medium, there are certain necessary components that will optimize your social media campaign. We start with the cornerstone and what has always been a foundation for publishing:

Content drives traffic to your site through keyword searches and by tracking how many organic links there are to your page from other web pages. Content that is not interesting, does not offer value or is clearly laced with SEO content but not offering any real value no longer works. Use of keywords is extremely important but it needs to be tempered with worthwhile, readable and valuable content. Therefore, to optimize your social media content, make the investment – whether it is time in-house or hiring a social media content company – for good content.

Social Media Optimization Strategy: Update Your Content Frequently

To stay at the top of searches, it is imperative that your content stay current and up to date. Internet news and trends change on a daily basis; make sure your content is doing the same. Whether you do this through consistent article posting or a daily company blog doesn’t matter; the important piece is letting your followers and fans know that you are plugged in with what is happening in the social media world.

Social Media Optimization Strategy:Monitor Facebook and Twitter Every Day

Facebook and Twitter are great places to engage your audience and listen in to what is being said about your company and/or its products – but only if you actively engage every day. It is important to have someone in your organization tasked with being on these sites several times a day to check the posts and respond accordingly. Creating a Facebook or Twitter account only for purposes of shouting out direct pitches for your company will not work; neither will occasional visits. Your followers and fans have taken the time to converse with you through these outlets. Don’t make your company look uncaring by poor maintenance; optimize your presence on these accounts.

Social Media Optimization Strategy:Create Fun and Interesting Video

A great way to engage your audience online is to create a great video, it’s one of the largest returns when applying social media optimization strategies. Whether you go for pure entertainment, a useful how-to or a quick Flash or animation piece, thinking creatively will reward you well. The general guideline for length is no more than two minutes, and with all the various software tools available, you can make your video in-house for very little investment. Once you create your video, consider loading it through an entity like TubeMogul or HeySpread, which are web video distribution companies that will channel your videos through all available social media video outlets all at once. Or, you can create your own User Channel at YouTube and create an audience for that channel through your current followers and fans. Keeping things interesting is key to social media optimization and video is a great way to do just that.

Social Media Optimization Strategy:Be an Audio Star

Have some great tips but don’t want to deliver them just in writing? Record them and post the recording to your website. It can function as your own personal radio station to which followers can listen. Are you a company involved in the food industry? Record simple recipes for your fans to follow while they execute your recipe in their own kitchen. Are you a meditation specialist? Post a recording of a calming mantra for your fans to hear while on a lunch break or settling down for the night. Make sure your followers can add your recording to their song database (such as iTunes) so that you can become a part of their personal repertoire.

Optimization of your social media plans is a long-term but worthwhile and necessary investment in your company’s future. Try different approaches to apply these social media strategies and see what works with your particular audience.

Online Marketing: Facebook Works Best

If you want to reach customers, you have to do it where they spend their time. And these days that means social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Small businesses are quickly coming to appreciate this fact and rushing to use social media in their marketing efforts.

The Fall 2011 Attitudes and Outlook Survey by small-business marketing consultant Constant Contact found that 81 percent of small businesses are now using social media to do marketing, up from 73 percent last the year.

Facebook is the go-to medium, used by 96 percent of small businesses, but Twitter is taking flight as well. It’s now used by 76 percent of small firms, up from 60 percent last year. Eighty-six percent of survey respondents said they’ve found Facebook to be an effective marketing tool; 60 percent said the same of Twitter and 55 percent of LinkedIn.

By comparison, 95 percent of survey respondents said they do email marketing, 98 percent use websites, 66 percent run online ads, 71 percent do print advertising, and 55 percent hold events.

Use of social networks is rising because small-business owners are figuring out how to leverage them better — and quicker. Forty-five percent of small businesses said social media marketing does not absorb too much of their time, up from 31 percent last year.

What are small businesses doing with social media? A lot of them are using the platforms to interact directly with customers. The Constant Contact survey says almost two-thirds of small businesses answer all comments on social networks, both positive and negative. Those who don’t say they can’t find the time, think it’s not necessary, or just don’t know what to say.

(I know what we’d say to a negative comment. But that’s why we don’t run a successful small business.)

What part of Facebook gets best results? So you know Facebook is the most effective way to market your small business online. But what section works best for ad campaigns? Digital marketing firm ComScore just released a research report, “The Power of Like,” that supplies an answer.

The report analyzed brand messages that appear on the newsfeed and profile pages of Facebook users to find out how many fans of a brand — and friends of those fans — see the messages and how they react to them. It discovered that brands get tons more exposure from messages on the newsfeed page than on their brand fan pages.

That’s because messages on newsfeed pages capture the eyeballs of not only fans but fans’ friends, which can add up to millions of extra impressions. Better still, that translates to a lot more visits to your website, as ComScore found that not only do your Facebook fans go to your website more often, their friends do also.

Yes, all fine and good, you say. But show you the money. OK. Turns out, according to ComScore, that your Facebook fans do buy from your business more often than other consumers. It tracked fans of Starbucks and found they visit Starbucks 11 percent more often and spend 8 percent more than the average Joe for a cup of same.

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