5 Steps To Building Your Internal Army of Social Ambassadors

Ben Rubenstein

Sr. Manager, Social Media & Online Community

So, your marketing team is awesome at social media.

You understand the pillars of a strong social strategy, you know how to craft and distribute an effective social message, and you get the importance of tracking your posts and learning from the data.

Congratulations. Now, what about everyone else in your company?

social ambassadors
Source: Brandeis

The truth is, no matter how good your marketing team is at social, you won’t have lasting success if it’s just you. To really accomplish your marketing goals and see those social leads start rolling in, you need help from your sales reps, product managers, copywriters, developers – even that guy in finance who you’ve only talked to when your W-2 got lost in the mail.

Engaging with influencers outside your company is still vitally important to increasing your social media reach. But while you work at cultivating those relationships, you likely have dozens (or hundreds, or thousands) of potential influencers sitting at the desks all around you, all of whom come with their own powerful networks who could be receptive to your messages. Employees make great social ambassadors because they get the value proposition of your work and they directly benefit from the organization’s continued success.

Now all you have to do is convince them of these things.

Finding your social ambassadors

Here are 5 tactics for getting non-marketing employees to participate in your social efforts:

1. Identify – and highlight – early adopters

You’re probably not starting from square one. Depending on the size of your company you’ll likely find at least a few people who are already comfortable with using social media. Getting them to participate in your efforts, and showcasing the positive results of that participation, will go a long way toward convincing others to get involved. It’s easy to ignore the pesky marketing department, but it’s harder to ignore the woman at the desk next to yours. The more respected your early adopters are, the more likely others will get the message.

2. Get personal

Sure, your company will see major benefits from increased participation among employees, and they should be aware of the value of that stronger brand reach and traffic and how that relates to sales growth. But no matter how much they love your company, this won’t be enough to spur them to action. Show employees how social participation can help boost their personal reputation and provide professional development that will offer benefits outside the walls of your company.

Also, make sure you’re taking different roles into account. The benefits and drawbacks for that finance guy might not be the same as for your sales reps, so you’ll need to make your point in different ways and with personalized messages. Bulk emails are too easy to ignore.

3. Make it really easy

The number one excuse you’ll likely hear from others is that they don’t have enough time to focus efforts on social media, what with all their other job responsibilities. Be respectful of employees’ time – and avoid annoying their managers – by reducing the number of hoops to jump through. Serve up content so they don’t have to go searching for it, help them understand why it’s valuable information, and draft messages that can be shared with a couple of clicks. There are now tools out there like GaggleAMP and DynamicSignal that make it easy to quickly share content internally for social distribution, but in many cases email will work just fine. Remember to keep your directives simple to get the best response – ask for specific things and give steps to follow (e.g. update your LinkedIn account and post to your network).

4. Train, train, train

Not everyone is as socially savvy as you are, and may need help with “basic” things like setting up an account and posting a message, so create some step-by-step documentation and run trainings for those interested. Communicate dos and don’ts – one ill-advised message from an inexperienced employee could put the whole effort at risk.

5. Don’t forget about fun

Social media can be serious work with serious impact, but that doesn’t mean you always have to treat it that way. Many employees equate social media with non-work activities; take advantage of that by emphasizing the ways social media represents a break from the typical spreadsheets and PowerPoints. Keep your messages light and consider incentives that create a fun, competitive environment for participation. Avoid corporate mandates that make social just another task on their to-do lists, and turn it into something they’ll want to do. You’ll be surprised at the results.

I’d love to hear more about how you are building your army of social ambassadors. Feel free to leave a comment or connect with me on Twitter at @BenRTT, or via email.

building social influence, social, social influencers, social media, socialize marketing

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