In today’s B2B marketing landscape, your audience is more likely to buy from a real person than they are a branded social media page.
No matter what, it’s imperative that you have someone represent your brand on social media. It reveals the human face behind the brand, which is much easier to relate to than a logo.
That’s why companies like MarketingProfs and others often have an individual as the face of their brand. Ann Hadley’s name is even attached to the @marketingprofs Twitter handle.
You want someone to represent your brand, but you also want to make sure that they’re not going to leave your company and take your branding efforts with them.
That’s why we tend to air on the side of executives when it comes to pushing employees as brand ambassadors. These individuals have a real stake in the success of the company and are less likely to up and leave.
Our marketing team approached HIPB2B’s CEO Bret Smith about focusing his social media efforts to make him a more effective brand ambassador for the company.
Pitch to them
Sometimes, it can seem daunting to loop your executives into your social media strategy. Encourage them to participate. They will become not only a brand ambassador but also a thought leader in their industry, due to their position at the head of an organization.
Often, this is all you need to get their cooperation. You can also tell them that it will bring in more leads (because it will) if they’re leery of leveraging their social media in this manner.
First, I had Bret track all of his social media activity for a week. If you’re at a larger company, you might be asked to do this yourself.
For social media posting, collect:
- The type of post it is (links, photo, video, text, etc.)
- The content of the post
- The approximate timing of the post
- Whether it was HIPB2B branded content or from elsewhere
- The channel it was posted on (be specific, don’t just say LinkedIn, say LinkedIn personal page)
Additionally, have them try to send a tally of likes and comments on posts for each channel. Being a thought leader doesn’t just mean shouting to the void, it means interacting with others on each channel in a productive manner.
Now that you have your finger on the pulse of your executive’s social media presence, it’s time to lay out a plan to improve their reach. This means diversifying their sharing. Notice the strengths and weaknesses of their current methodology.
A mix of your brand’s content and others
Make sure that you aren’t just sharing content you create. You need to share content from other brands (just not from direct competition). Find brands that create content that supports your brand’s vision and make sure that approximately ¼ to ½ of the links your executive shares is the content of others.
This actually strengthens the voice of your executive and brand, because it shows you respect and read the opinions of others. It also shows that you are being agile and aware of what’s happening in your industry.
A mix of links and non-links
In Bret’s initial strategy, he was doing a very nice job of sharing both HIPB2B content and the content of others.
But his strategy was primarily link-based.
This means that his linked posts weren’t doing very well on the social media algorithms.
Why? Because all of these social media platforms want their users to stay on the platform, not click a link and leave.
That’s the reason you need a blend of links non-links. Non-links can include:
- Image posts – these are given higher priority in the feeds
- Embedded video posts – social networks are pushing this type of content. It can be a little time-consuming to produce in-house but well worth the effort.
- Text posts – think opinions, thoughts on current news, and question. These posts won’t naturally do as well on social media algorithms, but they will if you ask an enticing question. Another thought is to make text posts into image posts by laying the text over an appealing background.
Moderate if need be
Especially at the beginning, it may be necessary to moderate the posts that your executive is making. Check to ensure what they’re saying is in line with the brand voice and your goals for their marketing efforts.
Ensure that they follow your brand’s style guidelines and that their posts are free of typos and awkward phrasing. It’s in both of your interests to ensure your executive sounds good.
Give them direction
Create a document for your executive outlining their new social media strategy. Tell them:
- How many times a day to post on each channel
- How many posts are branded content and how many are from elsewhere
- How many are links and how many aren’t
- Depending on your executive’s desired level of involvement, you might want to write their posts for them
You may have to tweak these ratios once they get started. They’ll see what their followers engage with and what they don’t.
Help them build a following
Finally, a great content strategy can help you grow your following organically, but you will also want to teach them to grow their follower counts to increase engagement.
The easiest way to do this is to use a follow/unfollow strategy. You follow a certain number of people per day, then a day or two later unfollow everyone who doesn’t follow you back. You can do this manually, but for every platform, there are free tools.
Using these tactics, you’ll transform your CEO, founder, or executive into a brand ambassador and thought leader for your brand. By having them be a face that represents your organization, you’ll connect more easily with potential buyers and more the double your brand’s visibility.
Let us know what you think:
- Have you ever transformed your executives into brand ambassadors?
- Who initiated the strategy? Who executed it?
- How can you implement this tactic at your company?