We all know what advocacy is, and when done correctly it can greatly benefit us as brands. Partner this with social media, and social media advocacy becomes one of your best marketing assets. The question is are you taking full advantage of all your advocates? Are some being overlooked?
Your employees are said to be your greatest fans so why not take full advantage by enabling them to promote your brand content through social media? Many of you, I believe, will have already adopted this, but could you be doing it better?
How to make employee advocacy better
How are you currently enabling your employees to promote your brand message? Is this through a weekly newsletter, whereby employees are encouraged to share articles? This is a good start, but could certainly be improved upon.
Tracking to see who is sharing and interacting with your content is vital so you can adjust strategies and understand what is working and what needs improving. This will not be possible through a weekly newsletter.
If however you invest in a social media collaboration platform, you will not only be able to track the effectiveness of your content and employees, but you will also be able to maintain control of your content, ensuring your brand message is promoted consistently and idealistically throughout. Yes there are a lot of platforms on the market, but it’s about finding the right one for you that will reach and go beyond your expectations.
Channel/ Partner advocacy
Not everyone sells their products directly to customers, many of us sell our products through third parties such as channel partners, sales partners, dealers, retailers or resellers. In this case, it is highly important that you leverage their social media presence too. Make sure their target audience become aware and engaged with your brand too. Enabling these advocates to promote your offerings on social media will not only benefit your brand but also them. Using a social media collaboration platform would be appropriate for this too, for exactly the same reasons as your employee advocacy program.
Other influencers and brand ambassadors
Don’t expect this to happen overnight but building an influencer network on social media can be highly beneficial. If you haven’t undertaken this task yet, whereby you share one another’s content on social media, pretty much a favour for a favour, you should certainly start now. You may think ‘but this isn’t appropriate for me, I am a large brand, I don’t need to share others content’. Wrong. Maintaining and building a strong reputation in your industry is key, and what better way than through other thought-leader influencers and brand ambassadors. Once you have built these relationships, you will also be able to increase your reach that bit further, which is certainly advantageous.
Customer reviews of your brand, whether that be on social media or elsewhere are becoming ever important, due to prospects increasingly searching for these to make their buying decision that bit easier. So if you can encourage your customers to share, retweet or comment on your content, this is a great selling point to prospects. It shows that past customers were satisfied and would recommend your brand. Everything that you could possibly wish for.
So don’t put off the inevitable. Enable all of your advocates to share your content on social media, and of course invest in a social media collaboration platform to do this. Not only will it increase your reach, but when done effectively it will show prospects just what a great brand you are, making you the choice over competitors. Start now!
Want to learn more about social media advocacy? Register for this webinar to hear Microsoft, Avalara, Xerox, Zoe Sands, the social selling expert and Ian Moyse the number 1 cloud influencer on social media, discuss social media advocacy with in the IT sector and their brands. This is taking place on the 18th February at 4pm GMT. Click here to register now.
CEO and Founder of purechannelapps
“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.” This a great quote by Mike Tyson, one that many brands need to abide by. We, as an industry, need to embrace change and all that it brings. But what does 2016 have in store for purechannelapps and the marketing industry? It’s time we planned and prepared for the unexpected to stay on top and most importantly keep in the ring. Here is a sneak peek into purechannelapps’ plans and my predictions for the marketing industry.
2015 saw a vast increase in social selling, I believe this was led by many social networks upping their game to appeal to the B2B market. Whether that’s Facebook improving their ad tools, LinkedIn sophisticating their targeting abilities, or Instagram enabling advertising, these are all steps forward to allow social selling to commence. This creates opportunities for many more brands, so it only makes good sense for social selling to be an integral part of brands marketing strategy for 2016.
In 2016 the visual social networks will no doubt take the B2B market by storm, not only because it’s now more targeted to them, but also because it’s what we all respond best to. It’s what gets our attention. The likes of Instagram and Pinterest will certainly serve to increase in popularity in the coming year.
Your employees are your greatest fans
For brands to increase their exposure and reach on social media, they need advocates to spread the word for them and what better advocates than your employees. A lot of brands will look to deploy this in 2016, and many will even go one step further by rewarding employees whose social selling efforts eventually lead to sales, making this part of the buying cycle process. This will mean not only that social media amplification/ syndication platforms will be increasingly in demand, but that there will also be many more platforms popping up, specifically targeted to enabling employee advocacy.
Why stop with employees? Involve your sales partners
Once brands discover the benefit of leveraging advocators to promote their brand, channel advocates, such as sales partners, resellers, retailers and dealers may be tasked with the job of sharing their suppliers’ content on their social media accounts too, increasing their potential reach even further.
Social media customer advocacy programs
Again, who better to influencers buyers than existing customers? In 2016, we’ll see a surge in social media-based customer advocacy programs. Customers will be asked to share their views and opinions about their suppliers with others, and social media is a great platform for this!
What’s the ROI?
For brands to invest time and capital into social media, they increasingly expect to know and understand the return on investment they will receive from this, especially when investing in platforms to enable their advocates to promote their message. They are no longer willing to accept that social media is a must, they will need to see the results! I believe this will be a priority for 2016, with social media software providers upping their game to provide the service customers expect.
Communicating with channel partners
With channel partners under increasing strain from a multitude of their vendors each fighting for their attention, it’s not surprising that communication between brands and their channel partners can be somewhat difficult. Email marketing is a common method to communicate their message to their channel partners and inform them of their offerings.
If however companies are sending identical emails to all of their partners it is not rocket science to see that engagement will be low. They may not even all be selling the same product or in some cases they could even be receiving duplicate emails if they fall into more than one product category. So my prediction will be that brands will look for an alternative method to communicate to their partners. This could include researching 100% targeted email marketing platforms or potentially looking for an alternative method to improve their communication.
How does purechannelapps fit in with these predictions?
With social media looking to be a top trend for this year, 2016 is shaping up to be a thrilling year for product development at purechannelapps. The sharing and amplification of content is continuing at a rapid speed, but the media in which people are sharing this content are also changing.
As a result, we are developing our mobile application, allowing users to share content to their social accounts directly from the app. That doesn’t mean to say that emails will be disappearing any time soon in a B2B space, so we’re improving both the design of our email notifications, but also allowing content to be shared from both social posts and directly from more “traditional” newsletters and emails.
2016 will also be the year when our platform gets a full makeover. The user interface and customer journey will be drastically improved to simplify the creation and sending of content, along with a snazzy new interface and reporting module.
We’re also busy looking to add more social networks into our platform, including ones in the Asian marketplace, investigating ways of getting streams of content into the platform for both email newsletters and social posts and adding more functionality to our CMS, Resource Library and Deal Registration modules. So, we’re looking forward to our most ambitious year yet!
What do you think, do you agree with my predictions? Please feel free to comment to share your opinion.
By Olivier Choron
CEO and Founder of purechannelapps
Find me on LinkedIn