Here’s the problem: As a small business marketer, you know social media offers an affordable, effective way to promote your business, products and services online. You’ve done your research and understand how to leverage social networking to generate new leads and build brand loyalty. But, your co-workers are still shrugging off social media, not convinced it will provide adequate ROI.
What’s a smart marketer to do? Here are several ways to convince your company that social media is an important part of your overall marketing plan.
Hold an Event to Educate
Before you notify the company of your social media plan with a mass email asking them to Like the company’s new Facebook page or contribute articles to the blog, you will need to educate employees about the power of social media.
Social media speaker Marcus Sheridan suggests holding a “social media summit” to show your company that social media has potential beyond its personal use for keeping up with family and friends.
The first half of the event should be devoted to education. Teach employees about the different types of social media and how each can be used for marketing communications. You will also need to explain how content marketing works, as many people do not understand this marketing strategy and how it can be leveraged on social networks and blogs.
Your job during this phase of the summit is to help employees understand how social media affects lead generation, customer satisfaction, revenue, sales, brand loyalty, etc. Understanding these links will show them why social media is important to your company.
Make a Plan
Once everyone understands why social media matters, you will be ready to make a plan of action. Show each person in the company how he or she can be involved in the social media marketing strategy and why their part matters.
For example, ask each employee to list information they have expertise in that may be helpful to customers and clients. Just be sure this information is relevant to your industry, company, products or services. The customer service department will know the most often asked questions of clients and customers, the technology department will have the technical information customers want, and product managers will be able to provide deeper knowledge of your goods and services. If you are a professional services company – such as a financial services, web design or law firm – you will have numerous options for sharing information with clients.
If you are blogging, ask employees to commit to writing articles that share their expertise. For social networking sites, ask employees to create tweets/posts containing links with the useful information they are willing to share.
If everyone pitches in, your social media content will be rich and varied, and the responsibility will be evenly distributed, rather than being placed on the shoulders of the CMO. Most importantly, when employees feel they have an important role to play, you will be able to garner more support for your efforts.
Keep Everyone in the Loop
Once you have gotten your company’s social media program off the ground, you will need to work to sustain it. Sheridan recommends marketing officers publish a regular newsletter to employees to share the results of their social media efforts.
Letting people know how their contributions have made a difference will provide recognition and keep the momentum going. Employees will also be able to see how their co-workers created useful content, hopefully getting new ideas in the process.
Some examples of what to include in the newsletter are leads and sales that came through social media efforts, examples of customer satisfaction resulting from social media communications, increases in the number of website visitors, excellent blog articles and the staff members who wrote them, and opportunities for employees to provide feedback or ask questions.
Continue Training for Long-Term Success
Because social media changes rapidly, you will need to continue your education efforts to keep your company up to date. You can use the social media newsletter for small updates, but you may want to consider holding periodic meetings to keep employees abreast of new social networks you’ll join or new campaigns you’ll be implementing on social media.
When new social technologies arise, it will be your job to train employees and give them the confidence to use them on behalf of your company. Sheridan uses video marketing as an example of a social technology that is gaining ground. If you train employees on the basics of video production, they will be able to contribute product and service videos that can be tremendously helpful to customers as well as beneficial to your brand. In any form of social media and content production, the more employees who help out, the better your results will be.
What other tactics have you successfully tried to convince your company that social media is worth the effort? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
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