Thursday, March 06, 2014

FIR B2B #4: Avoiding the Landmines of Employee Advocacy Programs

FIR B2BPaul Gillin and Allan Schoenberg host the FIR B2B podcast. In this episode:

LinkedIn is opening up its content platform to all members. Does this present a quandary for marketers? Should you continue to invest resources in your own blog or move much of that activity over to LinkedIn? The benefit of publishing on LinkedIn is that you get access to an existing audience and built-in analytics and sharing features. The downside is that your website doesn’t directly benefit. Is there a way to get the best of both worlds or is the LinkedIn company page destined to become a more important destination than your company website?

New research says nearly 90% of ad agencies are interested in social media and online video, but a majority question the value. Is video really all that useful to B2B marketers? Are those disagree somewhat on this. Paul points to the wildly successful Van Damme Epic Split as evidence that B2B companies can do truly remarkable things with video, but Allan thinks examples like this are few and far between.

Introhive has an infographic that assigns value to different digital media in the B2B sales cycle. It includes some surprises. For example, in the lead generation area, YouTube SlideShare and “Content” are considered strongest while Facebook is categorized as “Poor.” YouTube is also noted as a top performer for lead generation but a poor choice for lead nurturing.

Our special guest this week is Chris Boudreaux, founder of Social Media Governance, a website devoted to best practices in social media accountability and governance. The site was originally created to host a database of business social media policies but has now been expanded to include research and Chris’ frequently updated blog.

Chris has taken a particular interest in customer advocacy. He provides advice on how to mobilize customers to spread the messages of a business.He recently wrote on Social Media Today about how employee networks can minimize information overload.

His book, The Most Powerful Brand on Earth, tells how brands can “transform teams, empower employees, integrate partners and mobilize customers to beat the competition in digital and social media.” He also just published a buyers guide to tools that enable employees to speak on a brand’s behalf.

Activating employee ambassadors is not cut and dried. There may be regulatory issues to consider, and employees who aren’t well briefed on what they can and can’t say can hurt a company more than help it. People in different roles may also need to be activated differently. There’s also the risk of doing too much. If the brand creates too many social media accounts it can tax resources and create a perception that the brand is simply producing noise.

In the closing rant, Paul vents about legitimate publishers citing terrible research.

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About Your Hosts

Paul GillinPaul Gillin is a veteran technology journalist and a thought leader in new media. Since 2005, he has advised marketers and business executives on strategies to optimize their use of social media and online channels to reach buyers cost-effectively. He is the author or co-author of five books, including Social Marketing to the Business Customer (2011), the first book devoted entirely to B2B social media marketing. He is also a social media trainer and coach at Profitecture, a training firm for B2B companies and their channel partners.

Allan SchoenbergAllan Schoenberg is based in London and responsible for managing the international media relations, issues management and brand communications for CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse financial marketplace. He was instrumental in launching the company’s social media activity in 2007 and continues to lead its social strategy and online community engagement. He has more than 20 years of experience in B2B communications, including his work for Accenture, Edelman Worldwide and Fleishman Hillard.

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Posted by Paul Gillin on 03/06 at 10:53 AM
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