This year, as part of its annual “Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector” survey, IHS GlobalSpec asked technical professionals a new question: How often do you share or post news or information about your company to your social networks?
Their answers reveal an untapped opportunity for marketers to expand their social media reach by empowering technical professionals in their own companies to participate more. Currently, the vast majority of technical professionals (78 percent) never post news or information about their company to their individual social networks, and only 15 percent post as often as a few times a year—yet the majority of this audience uses social media for work.
This can change. It should change. Because if you can get the technical professionals—and sales people, customer service reps and others— within your company more involved, you will gain a group of social media ambassadors who can help spread the word and increase the visibility of your brand, products and services.
In this era of competitive content marketing, the more people you have on your team to get the word out, the greater the advantage you gain in winning mindshare with your audience. Plus, the ambassador model of social media marketing results in free exposure, expands your reach beyond your own marketing database, and carries with it the cache that each post is being personally recommended by a professional in your company.
Make it easy
How do you get those 78 percent who never post news or information about their company on their social networks to start participating? By making it easy for them.
We’re not saying it doesn’t take some effort—is there anything worthwhile that doesn’t take effort?—but you don’t have to place an undue burden on your ambassadors. For instance, the best thing you can do, and which also gives you the most control over keeping the message consistent and on target, is to provide the content and status updates for your ambassadors to share.
You could create a central repository where all social media content resides. Add entire posts to the repository: headline, copy, link, etc. All your ambassadors need to do is copy and paste. And depending on capabilities, you can organize sort social media content by its subject matter, target audience, best distribution channel or other attribute. For example, sales people would want quick and easy access to status updates that are relevant to particular products or customer challenges that might help them in their sales efforts.
Notify your ambassadors
Whenever you have a new social media status update to post, notify your ambassadors that it exists and let them know where they can find it. Keep in constant communication with your extended team. Suggest when and where they should post the status update. The easier you make it for them, the more likely they are to do it.
You can also create add-ons to email signature lines that include the latest status updates. Ambassadors can simply update their email signatures on a scheduled basis. You can also create signature add-ons that include social media updates around specific topics, such as an upcoming event, an important industry announcement, or the launching of new products and services.
Make your program highly visible
If you want to recruit social media ambassadors from within your own company, you’ll have to visit them and pitch your program. Depending on the size of your company, you might customize your pitch and go from department to department, or you might introduce your concept to everyone at the same time. One of those free ‘lunch & learn’ sessions tends to draw a crowd.
You might consider creating a formal program and ask technical professionals and others to sign up to participate. And this being social media, you will want to track who’s participating and at what level, who’s achieving the greatest reach with their efforts, who’s “this week’s winner.” Recognize the top performing ambassadors. Thank them for their efforts. Give them some social media press of their own.
You might choose to tightly control the distribution of status updates and the outgoing message. Or you can let your ambassadors take social media into their own hands. In either case, you’ll want to develop and communicate a set of social media guidelines for ambassadors to follow when posting news or information about your company to their individual social media accounts.
Important topics to cover include how to respond to any negative comments (no fighting, no arguing), how to avoid disclosing confidential information, and recognizing what’s appropriate (or not) to share on social media.
There’s untapped potential within your own company to extend your reach through social media. Go tap it by recruiting your technical professionals to be social media ambassadors.
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Have you recruited social media ambassadors in your company or encouraged your technical professionals to share company news and information? What tips or strategies would you pass along to your peers in industrial marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.