Marketing is the job of the marketing department, right? Wrong! It’s time for companies to see every employee as a marketer.
Here are two incidents that happened in the past month.
We were at an event for which one of our clients was a sponsor. We did our stuff: live tweeting, blogging, event photos and selfies, and so on. We tweeted from the official handles for the event, as well as from our personal handles. And the analytics showed phenomenal reach. We should have been happy. But we weren’t. We realized that our client had lost a golden opportunity to truly leverage the event for great branding, by not channelizing their people to tweet purposefully. In fact, it was our fault; we should have helped the client do so.
Anecdote #2: We were at a sales team briefing for another client a couple of weeks ago. We were showing the team how to use LinkedIn for their sales pitches. But as the questions progressed, and as resistance showed up, Anubhav from our team, went up and passionately told them that if they didn’t get cracking on their personal branding this year, they would be as good as dead, online. That struck a chord with them.
In both these incidents, the client’s employees are in focus. As more people get savvier about their social and online presence, it would be really easy for them to be the brand ambassadors of their companies online as well.
Right now the people we work with are taking unsure steps to go online. Not many are sure of what to do once the basic social profiles are up. Beyond personal interactions on Facebook, precious little happens on say LinkedIn, and almost nothing on Twitter.
That will change. And once that does, companies with the most engaged employees hold the power to unleash their goldmines of knowledge to their customers. Imagine what that can do to enable marketing.
In fact, digital marketing expert, Jay Baer, has recently written a blog about how employee-generated content is the key content marketing trend of 2015!
So here’s what we think could happen. Going forward, marketing will hinge on employee engagement, far more than ever. Real stories, real tweets, shares, RTs from a set of people skilled in a specific domain would any day be far better than even the best agency trying to shadow the company experts and ghost-writing the stories.
Sounds utopian. Most people don’t see themselves beyond their specific role in the company. They won’t see themselves as marketers. But if there are engaged, dedicated employees, it will only take a small orientation to the online world, and how it works. New processes and incentivization will help to make this happen.
If the employees are engaged enough with the company, they might not like to use their personal handles or profiles to promote their companies. But if they believe in their work, and what their company does, and are happy working for the company, then marketers will have far simpler jobs to do.