So, you’ve decided to embrace social media and blogging as part of your content marketing strategy. You understand how effective it can be to connect with new customers and demonstrate your expertise. You have set up detailed profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, and made sure that your website is ready for new content and is search engine optimized. Perhaps you’ve even identified a resource to help you with your online marketing. Now it’s time to roll out your strategy company-wide and get participation from all your teams and employees. By getting participation from your people, you can help create brand evangelists who will work tirelessly to forge lasting relationships with customers and prospects.
Creating a company culture of content marketing is a remarkable way to connect with your customers and become a thought leader in your industry, but it is extremely challenging to get all of your employees to participate. It’s critical that you put a structure in place to encourage your team and make sure they’re working together in the right direction. These five focus areas will help you create that environment.
The first step is making sure that the leadership at the top of the company has complete buy-in to your content marketing plan. The CEO, owner or board of directors all need to understand what the stated goals and purposes are for your marketing strategy. More importantly, they need to lead by example and have, for instance, active Twitter accounts. They should contribute to the company blog regularly.
If you need to do some convincing, consider creating a presentation and highlight the following points:
- Demonstrate how employee social media contributions can be used for lead generation
- Present case studies of competitors and how they’re using social media and employee participation in particular
- Show how the company is currently using social media, and how opportunities have been missed due to the old strategy and lack of participation
Next, you need to have a Social Media Policy in place so that everyone is on the same page both with company and personal social media and internet activity. Don’t assume that everyone will know what is and isn’t appropriate. Highlight which networks the company is going to be active on and how your employees can help build your brand. Of course, you also need to cover how employees should and should not participate in social networks personally. Your people deserve to understand that their actions, even on their personal accounts, can be construed to represent their employer and so care needs to be taken to avoid potential issues.
What are the benefits to your employees for participating? That needs to be clearly communicated, and should be more than just “it’s good for the company.” Your teams are busy, and it takes time to create LinkedIn profiles or Twitter accounts. They need to understand the value of creating personal brands, as well as how important it can be to mold your company into a thought leader in your industry.
Additionally, remind employees that social media is about being social. While that can mean that it’s fun, it also means that it’s about networking and creating connections. From a business perspective, that means creating connections and fostering relationships with potential clients and partners. This can be both good for your business and individual employees.
Of course, the most effective benefit you can provide is actual, tangible incentive, though money may not necessarily be the best choice. You can reward your employees in a variety of ways including recognition or flexible work hours, or even send them swag or postcards by direct mail.
Once you have the proper leadership and your people understand what’s in it for them, it’s time to provide the proper training. This is perhaps the most critical part of the process, as your people need direction on how to be active on social networks, what to blog about, and more. I often provide businesses & organizations with workshops and seminars to help their people get the training they need. These workshops are customized for each business in order to provide staff with a structured learning environment that’s appropriate for your business and industry.
Training needs to include:
- Social Network profile creation assistance
- Blogging tips
- Brainstorm blogging topics
- How SEO plays into content marketing
Finally, there needs to be a single individual (or team for larger companies) who is in charge of your blogging and social media presence. Perhaps that’s you, or maybe that’s someone else, but all activity needs to be funnelled to a single point of contact. This will ensure a measure of quality control, as well as free the rest of your people from having to learn more technical details than what they need.
Your Social Media Point Person will be the spokesperson for your social media strategy. Employees will use that individual as the go-to person for questions or concerns. That person will also be responsible for coordinating additional training, social media events and new content strategies. This person doesn’t have to be an expert, just willing to learn and help everyone else in your organization.
Let us know if you need help setting up your content marketing strategy, or training your people. Sign up for our free newsletter updates in the box to the right for regular articles on social media, blogging and internet marketing.