In the ever-changing social media and digital marketing landscape, your customers are very social media savvy and are looking for more from your digital marketing. They are looking for relatability and authenticity rather than polished traditional marketing material. How do we get around this? By creating social media savvy staff.
This is not to say that traditional marketing material produced either by your in-house team or an agency is worthless, far from it. These campaigns raise awareness, develop a brand’s voice and establishes your position in the market. But customers are looking for more now and trust is built through building a different relationship with your customers.
Using your staff to create social media content, either directly or managed through the marketing team is a way to increase authenticity. You are demonstrating the skill, passion and experience of the very people your customers will be interacting with. I have been working with Group 1 Automotive (the official showrooms for iconic brands like Audi, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes and others) to help them achieve this. More on that later.
Here are some of the benefits of social media savvy staff.
Social media savvy customers research products and services online using social media as well as search engines. They’re increasingly looking for authenticity in a company rather than highly paid marketing advertising. Encouraging and empowering your staff members to create social content ensures authenticity is driving interaction. Customers will engage with a relatable individual which will help to develop trust.
A Company that allow staff to communicate directly with potential clients demonstrates a willingness to take risks and shows their faith in the people at work for them. This approach to social marketing is more transparent and honest as a result.
Social media has the word social in it for a good reason, it is a means to communicate and connect with people. When you have members of your company championing your business online customers will feel they know these individuals and will look for them when interacting with your company. This enables your business to develop a relatable personality beyond pure branding. Then customers can connect more genuinely with the things that you have to sell.
Examples of Audi's Social Media Champions content.
Here are some articles about social media authenticity that you may find interesting.
Authenticity and Social Media - A paper by Wenli Wang and Robert J. Skovira (Robert Morris University)
How to get a return on Authenticity in Social Media - Agents of Change podcast
Group 1 Automotive’s Social Media Champions
We trust our staff to interact with our customers physically, demonstrate their expertise, deliver top-notch customer service, to close a deal, so why not leverage that into social content.
This is exactly what Group 1 Automotive has done. For the last 18 months I have been training their showroom staff, their Social Media Champions, on content marketing and how to connect with customers. You’ll see a couple of examples littered throughout this blog. They have focussed on Facebook and Instagram and have enjoyed great results with increased engagement on these social platforms since the initiative started. Their focus is to provide a local community feel to a global set of brands. Connecting with local people and influencers to add personality and relatability (my word of choice for this blog).
Keeping Editorial Control
How do you maintain control though? You have a brand and it has a voice, how do you ensure that voice is present in the content created by your social media savvy staff? Well, there are a number of ways you can do it.
Create Brand and Social Media Guidelines
Have a set of guidelines and best practice for social media interactions. Ensure that staff members understand it and use it to keep the right tone of voice through their content. They are, after all, representing your company, you want authenticity but it has to promote the best ideals and values to your customers.
Manage the content.
Allow your staff to create content and submit it to the marketing team for final approval. This means that your brand voice is maintained and represented. The content creators do not have access to the platforms so editorial control is maintained. It is the least risky but ultimately may take the shine off some of the authenticity.
Choose Your Social Media Champions.
As with Group 1 Automotive, you can choose champions and provide them with access to the platforms you deem necessary. Facebook, in particular, does allow you to set different levels of access. Your champion does not create all the content but is the trusted content hub for their part of the business.
Make it a part of your businesses culture.
When staff feel valued and engaged with the business and the brand they represent they become more productive. Invest this ideal into staff from induction, their voice, position, expertise and passion are integral to the success of the business. By allowing them to show this you demonstrate the best of your company. Show your customers that you are the expert they need and can trust. Show your staff that they are the experts you need and trust.
The Benefits of Social Media Savvy Staff
Social media savvy staff can add value in all sorts of areas, case studies, blog posts, meet the team, as well as customer interactions, photographs, posts and video. Alongside content from your marketing team, it can create a holistic presence online capturing your customer's attention throughout their journey.
Social Media Savvy Staff Training
To achieve this your staff will need to be trained. I have a number of different solutions that, by necessity, will be created bespoke to your needs. When supported correctly this initiative does work and can take your social media presence to the next level.
If you would like to learn more about social media savvy staff training please get in touch and I will be happy to discuss how this fits within your organisation.