Companies do not want conversations on social media!

August 13, 2018

For more than 10 years companies want to have “conversations” with the target audience.  Today, we can say that “joint he conversation” is really dead. Why?

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  1. Brands do not want to converse!

Most of the conversations where brands are named go unnoticed and are never answered. The only place where brands do react seems to be Twitter because it is pretty public and it is one the customer service tools companies use.

So social media is the PUSH platform where companies post messages but no to start conversations which is really the thing about social.  Even Facebook has seen this is even further reducing the reach of fan pages.

The miracle workers?  Brand and companies are now swiching to influencer marketing to get their messages seen.  And this too, is quickly coming to a standstil.  Why?  These influencers don’t do it fort he conversation either.  Let’s be honest they do it fort he money!

Another route seems to be using advocacy programs but here the shoe drops when it comes to the content which is not attractive for your advocates to share and start conversations around.

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  1. Customers do not converse either!

Have you talked to a logo?  It does not say much back, does it… Customers want conversations with real people.  You share ideas in a two-way street and just a one-way street.   It should be collaborative but it is not!  Thus end of the conversation!

The best brands can hope is a comment once in a while but again this is one way (see above).

The miracle workers? Companies are using their employees to talk to clients . Let’s call this employee advocacy.  And again,most posts do not have it in them to start conversations so why should employees share that content?  WIIIFM does not appear in the social selling handbooks!

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  1. Sociale media is no longer about conversations!

The days of conversations and organic reach are numbered.  Today, it is all about who has the deepest pockets to pay for content to be seem.  Guess what, we are going back to the last century with the billboards!

Most of the social media people are becoming the new advertising sales people.  And again, they are only concerned about the one-way traffic and have never heard about conversations.

Social media 2018 is all about buying (or selling) advertising to reach target groups. Where did the conversation go in there?

Even in my domain of social selling I am finding that sales people and marketers are more focused on advertising and not having conversations with clients (as is the case in real life).

The miracle worker? Time to learn the art of advertizing and forget about the conversation.

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There we go, vented my frustration about the lack of conversations.  In the meantime, I continue to find like Don Quichotte against the windmills to convince companies and social sellers to start conversations.  People do business with people and NOT logo’s (whatever these LOVE brand make you believe).

Are you joining my fight against the windmills?

Advertisements

Personal Branding just got a lot harder!

August 5, 2018

Personal-Branding-1

Unless you are willing to pay…

Over the course of the last months, social media networks are crusading for real human interaction and engagement which I support.  This comes as a bit of bad news for those people trying to do personal branding from real personal accounts.  And yes, people looked at forms of automation (just like marketers do with marketing automation) but that is coming to a standstill or better slowdown.

fake newsIn March 2018, Twitter undertook efforts to reduce the spam or similar tweets and no longer allows tweets to be posted from Hootsuite & Buffer to multiple accounts.  As of August 1st, 2018 you can no longer use tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to post to personal profiles.  LinkedIn has never supported any planning of messages from the platform but I wonder when they will banish posting via Hootsuite and Buffer and others.

Here is what the situation of the current automation of Facebook:

  • Content posting platforms such as Hootsuite, Buffer and alike -> GONE
  • Action/reaction tools like IFTTT or Zapier -> GONE
  • Auto post from Twitter to Facebook -> GONE
  • Employee Advocacy programs have to adapt but -> REMAIN
  • Share buttons on a website and others -> REMAIN
  • Auto post from Facebook to Twitter -> REMAIN
  • Auto post from LinkedIn to Twitter -> REMAIN
  • Click-2-Tweet unchanged -> REMAIN

But wait, could your account get suspended on Twitter for (Re)tweeting the standard text that is presented to you but the website, newspaper, Click-2-tweet or even the Employee Advocacy platforms?  That remains to be seen…

Result = Let the money roll!

facebook-paymentsPeople who want to do personal branding are now forced to move a page on Facebook which drives your right to the Facebook bank.  Since posts on pages get very limited traction, visibility, and impressions, you will have to pay for your personal branding (sponsored content) just like large corporations.  Where is the authenticity in that?

Final thought

But here is the contradiction, while these platforms want you to post as a human being, they are bringing more and more bots online.  This automation seems to be okay.  Really?

humanrobot

The war for your recruitment money!

May 18, 2018

Recruiting via social media just a little more interesting in Belgium.  LinkedIn, the uncrowned champion for recruitment is now being challenged by Facebook and their job vacancy post.

Of course, people will say that LinkedIn is the platform to find “white” collar workers and Facebook “blue” collar workers but let’s be honest both categories use Facebook so the pool there is much bigger (in Belgium 3.4 million vs 7 million).

From an employer’s point of view, this offers some great opportunities and challenges.  So let the battle begin.

The incumbent LinkedIn

LinkedIn recently changed the “job” vacancy approach.  Here is a quick rundown of the process:

1. Define the basic job title and area

LI - R1

2. Complete the description

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3. Define Skills and Experience levels

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4. Payment options

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You will notice that LinkedIn will indicate the number of candidates you might get after 30 days based on your budget.  I get mixed messages from customers when it comes to results but I am sure LinkedIn will argue that it is the best way platform overall.

Now enters Facebook

Now that Facebook has added “Publish a Job Post”, I fear that this will become more popular than LinkedIn… Let take a look at the process here too:

  1. Select the option for the post types

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2. Enter the job description info

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The biggest difference is that this is a post on your page and gets organic views.  No just like any other post on Facebook you will need to increase the visibility by boosting (aka promoting) this post.

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3. Payment options

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There seems to be 9€/day minimum budget required by Facebook but the numbers here a little different. Rather than giving you an idea of how many people you might get to apply, Facebook will tell you how many people you could reach.

If you are looking for a more cost-efficient way to create visibility for your job openings on LinkedIn (on Facebook that is already the case), you might be considering posting the job openings as a public post on your company/fan page and promoting the post as “promoted content”.  The final bill will be considerably less and your targeting options increased.  Now whether the platforms will react quicker to this “improper” use of the platform is to be seen.

So, who will win the battle for talent?  Or should I say, the “war for your money”?  Not sure, but an interesting development altogether.  What do you think?  Drop your comments in the comment box below.

How to Use LinkedIn to Increase Your Leads and Prospects

April 26, 2018

Today, I would like to feature a guest blog from a good friend of mine, Melonie Dodaro on the topic of Social Selling.  In her latest book, she describes how salespeople can unlock the power of LinkedIn in the sales process to generate lead and do prospecting efficiently.  So here it goes…

Melonie 1

 

“We have entered an era of digital transformation that has completely changed the way people buy. As a result, businesses, marketers, and sellers, need to adapt to stay relevant and competitive in attracting the modern buyer.

We have experienced more change in the last decade than anyone could have possibly imagined.

To attract today’s buyer, it requires a shift in the sales dialogue from “What can I sell you?” to “How can I help you?”

Today your personal brand is more important than it’s ever been as people are looking to find out more about an individual before they do business with them.

Seven seconds is all you have to wow a potential client. Your social selling success is dependent on how your LinkedIn profile represents your personal brand.

With all of these challenges, there is still tremendous opportunity. You now have tools available to you to connect directly with your ideal prospects, with the click of a button.

And while everyone has been talking about social media for years, few talk about the power of LinkedIn. I believe many businesses ignore LinkedIn for two primary reasons:

  1. It isn’t sexy.
  2. It isn’t fun or exciting.

While LinkedIn may not be exciting, getting new clients and having a successful business certainly is!

There are five crucial steps that will turn LinkedIn into a highly predictable lead generator for you; I call this The LINK Method™.

In the infographic below I will share with you the five-step process, what you need to have in your profile to attract your ideal clients, trigger events that allow you to build relationships with your prospects on LinkedIn, how to leverage existing relationships, and much more.

Are you interested in discovering how to turn LinkedIn into a lead generation machine? Take a look at the infographic below:

3. LinkedIn-Unlocked-Infographic_preview3. LinkedIn-Unlocked-Infographic_preview

I believe that when you stop collecting connections and start building relationships, you increase trust, credibility and attract more clients. This is vital because effective social selling is all about building relationships and trust.

The beauty of LinkedIn is that it is a platform that was designed to help you find, connect and then build a relationship and trust with the exact group of people that comprise your target audience.

Yet people continue to make two very serious mistakes with LinkedIn and social selling.

Mistake #1: They rush to a sale right after connecting with a potential prospect.

Mistake #2: They never move the conversation offline, or don’t know how to, as it’s offline that you convert a prospect to a client.

LinkedIn is the premier business platform for social selling and the tips shared in this infographic represent just a small portion of the blueprint laid out in my brand-new book LinkedIn Unlocked: Unlock the Mystery of LinkedIn To Drive More Sales Through Social Selling.

In LinkedIn Unlocked you will learn a step-by-step system that will help you generate a steady stream of new leads, clients, and sales on LinkedIn in under 30 minutes a day.

To celebrate the launch of LinkedIn Unlocked, there is also $221 in free bonuses, including a companion workbook with all of the exercises, worksheets and templates provided in the book. Click here now to learn more about LinkedIn Unlocked and the exclusive bonuses.”

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I hope you enjoyed the guest post from Melonie!

Employee Advocacy starts with Passion

August 23, 2016

You have your EA program completely wrong!

Let’s start clarifying with a definition: “Employee advocacy” is a term used to describe the exposure that employees generate for brands using their own online assets. While social media is often the main medium for employee advocacy, these “online assets” include email, chat, forums, discussion boards and more.” (Source: Linkhumans).

ea

Going through a  large number of post on how to start an Employee Advocacy Program, I found the following recurring elements.  Most include some kind of a mission; creating trust and freedom quickly followed by social media policy (of course);  a set of advocacy tools;  some kind of an incentive plan; company generated and focused content;  and finally possibly some training.

The focus of the program is on Reach and KPIs as measurement criteria.  Though this might make sense from a company’s point of view, it does not from the advocate’s point of view.

passion

What is really needed to get to advocacy going is “Passion”.  Few (or no) programs are addressing this.  Let me dig a little deeper on what I mean by passion.

Passion for the company

Passionate employee are those that pay attention to the company’s strategies and tactics.  They follow every step the company is taking to be successful. Sometimes they might question these steps. They see their role in that success.  They defend their company every time without being asked and not because someone in the company ordered them.  Most importantly, they are not motivated by money.

Without that passion there is no employee advocacy.

Passion for the culture

Companies must have a passionate work culture that translates into devotion, recognition and long-term employment.  Open communications, honesty are key components that must exist within the company.  A lot of the times, you team culture springs to mind.  And as the expression goes: there is no I in Team!  And yes, EA is about creating trust and freedom!

Without that passion there is no employee advocacy.

Passion for products and services

The next level is that your employees need to be passionate about their products and services.  They see how these products make a difference and what their contribution to that success is.  It makes them proud!

Without that passion there is no employee advocacy.

Passion for helping

Yet another key element for advocacy is that you give freely without expecting any immediate return or otherwise stated the giver does not specify what should be given in return but rather accepts that the recipient is free might decide to give something  at some point.  As a giver you are trying to add value to your network and community.

Without that passion there is no employee advocacy.

Passion for social

Employees also have to have a passion for social media.  And I do not mean obsessed with constant updates but more about that internal fire to share and contribute without asking the ‘return’ questions.  So if they have no or limited social media accounts they will not suddenly create them and start sharing information because you ask them (via a amplification platform using gamification techniques).

Without that passion there is no employee advocacy.

Passion for personal branding

Finally, there must be a need/want of the employee to do personal branding and that using content that is either handed to them or they curated/created themselves.  The WIIIFM factor is and must be high and add value to the network of the individual.

i in team

And yes, there is an “I” in team when it comes to employee advocacy. Here is the magic formula:

                Employee Advocacy = Team + I

Without that passion there is no employee advocacy.

Remember that Passion and authenticity are hard to fake and people see through it easily.  Of course, this comes at a cost: the cost of failing and changing direction at some point. That’s okay because it lets you know it is time to move on and follow new passions.

passion 2

So when you set up an Employee Advocacy program release the passion first!

With that passion there is employee advocacy.

Why organizations fail at Employee Advocacy?

July 26, 2016

low-hanging-fruitThe low hanging fruit for ambassadorship is Employee Advocacy and yet many (not to say most) companies are failing miserably at it.

 

Why and what to get it on the rails of for many one of the burning questions on the table.

4 golden rules for Employee Advocacy and Sharing

When it comes to Employee Advocacy there are 4 golden and simple rules:

  1. You employees follow your company accounts
  2. There is a culture of sharing
  3. The WIIIFM factor (for the employees) of posts is high
  4. Content is generated by the employees

Let’s take a look at the above rules and answer the question of why and what

Employees follow corporate accounts

social-media-newsroom-banner

This seems so obvious but it is not.  Sometimes because companies have not asked, sometimes because of ignorance and even sometime because employee choose not to.  Few companies take the time to promote their own social accounts internally even though externally thousands of dollars/euros are spent to get followers/fans.  Companies assume employees will find and follow the accounts anyway.  But how do you expect your employees  to look for them and even going one step further to share from there.

Why not run an internal campaign to promote social media accounts and content as  first step to true Employee Advocacy?

Sharing culture

HiRes_small

It must be said that some people and even nations share more than others.  Us Belgians are renounded for not sharing.  Sharing must be encouraged (via the social media policy) and done by example.  The management team and the social media lead by example for the rest of the organization to follow.  How do you expect employees to share what management and others do not share themselves.

Social media usage (also for private reasons during worktime) must be encouraged but forced upon your employees.

Oh by-the-way, the corporate account might want to share some of the content posted by its employees and this without being told to do so.

WIIIFM

what-is-in-it-for-me

People share if the content they share makes them look good of entertaining to their audience, friends, fans and followers.  As a company post creator you should keep that in mind and not the promotion of company products and/or services.  Most company post do not hold the potential for people to share and look good!

User-Generated Content

content-people-01Sharing is a 2-way process and successful posts have a high level of human factor embedded in them.  Showing off your employees (and no, they will not be stolen away from you) and their content will make sharing so much more attractive.  One step further is using content from your employees on your corporate account will dramatically increase even more the level of sharing.  See it as a pat on the back and recognition for having great content.

And then there are tools

Since Employee Advocacy is seen as the golden egg, companies are looking for ways to make it hatch faster.  Here come the tools to help (aka“force”) the sharing actions.  These tools even come with incentive programs (gamification) to make sharing even more attractive. But gamification will only work so long.  In my humble opinion no longer than 3 to 6 months.  And yes, internal promotion will be required.   Let me clear these tools have their role to play and are a good way to kick start social sharing of company posts but they are no longtime cure.  There are a lot of great tools out there to help you with social sharing and employee advocacy.

However, the real cure lies in adhering to the above 4 rules to make Employee Advocacy a success!

Feel free to agree of disagree with me and sharing this in the comment field below.

Put your social media Sombrero on!

January 31, 2016

You will probably recognize the following scenario.  You enroll for a training or webinar to learn new things.  During the session there are a lot’s of tips and tricks you think you should implement but as you are keeping up with the pace, they get lost.  And then we all suffer from the “I will do it tomorrow” syndrome.  However, the next day we either forget or fall victim to our hectic business-as-usual where other fires have to be put out. Finally, we only implement less than 10% of what we learned.

I see this happening to too when people who learn all about LinkedIn or Social Media in trainings.  As a trainer it is frustrating that all your good tips & tricks were no implemented (in the spur on the moment).

sombreroRecently, I came across an interesting app called Sombrero which actually starts where you left of in your social media training.  This app acts as you guide and teacher but in small bits on a daily basis.  I tried the app myself first and then spoke with the people from Sotrender, the company behind this app.

 

Getting started is simple!

Installing the app is easy and so is setting it up.  Register your social media profiles like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and the small tasks start rolling in.  The nice thing is that the app takes babysteps as the task are simple and take very short time to complete.  The app gives you a real sense of accomplishment but still you are moving forward to professionalizing your social media presence.  True, if you are already active the first days/week might be boring but it provides some good benchmarking on where you are.

sombrero app

As you move along the timeline, tasks become a bit more challenging but reflect how you should be running your social media.  I found a great complement to my training program.

It is not all sunshine, of course!

What caught my attention is that there is bit of confusion around the target profiles: personal vs company profiles.  The app wants to serve both and it is not always clear which way it tilts.

Since I mostly focus on B2B, LinkedIn is a major component.  Unfortunately, this bit is missing today.   I understand it will be coming in next versions.

Another little drawback is the fact that it is an English-only version and my feeling tells me that the audience best served is not always used to work in English.

Must-do!

Since this app is free (and there is no catch) and very educational, I think you try it on your smartphone or tablet.  I am convinced that you will learn a thing or two even if you have some experience.  The app really delivers when it comes pushing your boundaries and boosting your online performance.

Let me know what you think!

 

Employee Advocacy in 9 questions?

November 27, 2015

I recently organized an event together with “ADM – Where Business meets ICT” on the subject of Employee Advocacy.  It is a hot topic for many companies as the low hanging fruit for brand ambassadors has not been picked yet.

Here is what members of ADM taught us.  The full list of questions are below in the appendix

Q1: What words come to mind when you hear the word “Employee Advocacy”?

Here is what the audience thought….

EA - 11

We all know that Employee advocacy” is a term used to describe the exposure that employees generate for brands & company using both their own online and offline assets.

Q2 – Q4 pertained to current Employee Advocacy

About 2 out 3 companies that took part in the on line survey during the event had a program in shape or form for EA.  Most of the Advocacy seemed to happen on LinkedIn (45%) while Twitter and Facebook came in 2nd with about 23%.   In most companies between 15% and 25% of employees are being advocates.

Q5: What Employee Advocacy programs do you know?

One thing that is clear is that even though there are many platforms out there, people seem to know few of them.

EA - 12

Q6 – Q8 pertained to who drives the EA initiative

Though marketing seems to be the biggest driver (46%), HR and communications are close seconds.  Even though we seem to hear that incentives are the key to successful EA, most of the companies in the survey disagreed.  Less than 30% offer incentives to their employees.

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Now with Employee Advocacy comes the danger of having things go wrong so having a clear up to date social media policy is key.  As my other research has shown about 50% of companies are not paying attention and have no or an outdated social media policy.

Q9: Who is responsible for the content that will be shared through Employee Advocacy?

The obvious answer seems to be marketing but stories from and by employees seem to be the trick to successful EA.

Conclusion

If your company want to start with an Employee advocacy plan a few steps need to taken:

  1. Make sure you have a culture of sharing and openness
  2. Update your social media policy
  3. Have your employee create content
  4. Implement an employee advocacy platform
  5. Encourage sharing through a smart incentive plan

What are your thoughts, feedback and experiences? Love to hear from you

EA - 13

Appendix: questions asked to about 70 companies during the event

  1. What words come to mind when you hear the word “Employee Advocacy”?
  2. Does your company have an Employee Advocacy program?
  3. On what platforms is your advocacy happing?
  4. What % of your employees participate in advocacy?
  5. What EA platform are you using or know of?
  6. Which department drives EA?
  7. Are people incentivized for being an advocate?
  8. Do you have an updated social media policy?
  9. Who is responsible for creating content to be shared via EA?

When the whale washes up on the beach…

November 5, 2015

The last few weeks it has been raining negative messages around Twitter.  But what if the Twitter whale really washed up on the beach what would the consequences?

twitter whale

Loss of employment

The first group of people impacted are those companies that make tools to slice and dice Twitter.  There will be a lot of blood flowing on the floor.  From monitoring platforms to posting platform and tools of all other kinds.  I see you thinking: “It is only startups and who cares? But it is not only a large number of startups that would go out of business overnight but also some of the big players would get hurt and have to let go of people.  Not to mention companies using these tools.

klout

OMG! The Klout score could really disappear for real.

Companies and Organizations

Twitter has been the tool that many companies have used to provide customer service and/or get close to the r customers.  All of a sudden they would lose their eyes and ears on their community,  Back to phone canvassing or trying to move the communities to one of the remaining platforms.  Let’s be honest, you don’t want the twitter type conversations on LinkedIn or even Facebook as a company.

Twitter users

people tweetingAnd how about the users of Twitter.  They would have so much time on their hands.  No more checking their influencers (an retweeting or pressing like), no more content curation, no more personal branding tweets to be sent, no more customer service complaints, etc. just to name a few.  What would they do with all this regained time?

Let’s be real, Twitter washing up on the beach would mean that we are left with only 2 real networks.  Google+ has been catching rays on the beach for a while now.  Would Tweeps really move to LinkedIn and/or Facebook with their content and messages?

What a nightmare that would be for both the platforms, companies and users.  I can’t image what messages on LinkedIn will look like or how the amount of spam in LinkedIn groups will spiral as the (professional) influencers from Twitter flock to LinkedIn.  What if more people started to complain about company services  and products on Facebook (or LinkedIn for that matter)…  Could customer service really move to Facebook? I guess Not!

Conclusion

twoogleThe long and short is that Twitter is likely not to disappear, so stop whining and spreading negative news.  I kind of want to  come back to my predictions for 2015 in the sense that if Google with Google+ (They have the users) and Twitter (they have the content) should team up (Twoogle?) they can be a counterweight to the two protagonists.  I wonder…