No Budget? Have You Considered How Your Employees Can Market For You?
Dealing with a limited budget or no budget at all can be a daunting task when it comes to building brand awareness for your company. When these scary times strike, it’s important to look at your existing assets – like your staff, for example.
I just read from Social Media Today, “135 advocates now have the same reach as 1 million Facebook fans.” Sure, this is focused more for the B2C market, but it does translate into the B2B stratosphere too. Think about it, no matter where your employees are on the web or in the office, they are your strongest brand advocates.
Even if this statistic is remotely true, then it seems that it is more important than ever before to have your employees be living cyber advocates for your company. The business culture in almost every industry is not shying away from being socially connected, we are all moving toward it.
There is an upside to all of this – a lot of this activity requires no additional budget, just brain equity and educating and equipping your employees with the proper tools. To get you started, here are 5 quick ideas to think about.
1. LinkedIn – The Low Hanging Fruit
Connecting with someone on LinkedIn is the tip of the iceberg. It is really easy to leave comments on people’s posts and participate in trade organizations and professional interest groups, thereby increasing your connections and visibility among your peers and clients. Create a list of associations and groups active on LinkedIn that your company should participate in and divide them among your employees to join, participate and advocate.
LinkedIn has a lot of helpful webinars and online tutorials to assist with getting started. If you want to learn how you can leverage LinkedIn in the AEC community, contact Jen Wise at Smartegies ([email protected]) to set up a one-on-one or group training.
2. Thought Leadership
More than likely your company has one or two Subject Matter Experts (SME). These select people should be out in the forefront showcasing their knowledge on professional social networks, frequently writing on your company’s blog, or speaking at your local trade organizations. Be creative in getting these folks not only in front of your clients but also your employees–both will be impressed and believe in the intrinsic value of your company.
Plus, it is also easier than ever to establish thought leadership without hiring a PR agency or blowing much money. If you have a great writer within your ranks or if you hire a business writer, your SME can write white papers to use in your marketing materials or blog.
3. Arm Your Employees for the World
Have you ever discussed with ALL of your employees what differentiates you from all of the others? Well if your own staff doesn’t know what defines your company from all others, then who will?
From the receptionist to the CEO, every employee comes in contact with the outside world, on and offline. If each person is equipped with the right facts and figures, then they will be prepared to interface with clients, vendors and peers.
Whether it’s a weekly email that educates your employees or a centralized place where important facts and news are stored, make sure your employees are well informed about what your company is doing currently and where it is headed.
4. Employee Engagement
For customer advocacy in the B2C industries, emphasis is on keeping the customer positively engaged so they will advocate for your product. The same goes with B2B – employees need to feel engaged with the company and know that they contribute to its success no matter their role.
For smaller companies, firm-wide strategy sessions or focus groups centered on improving processes/procedures are great ways to develop advocacy and improve and grow your business.
5. Celebrate Advocacy
To encourage enthusiasm and positive feedback, celebrate success stories or give spot bonuses/gift certificates to employees who have generated leads, made connections or actively participated in social platforms. Keep engagement alive by mixing the celebrations up and not making them the same every time.