When it comes to being social, a business has to start with its leaders. At Tribal Impact, it’s our mission to increase employee advocacy in a way that really adds value to businesses. But this new approach needs a wholesale culture change and that can only come from the top.
Leaders are conditioned to put turnover first. It’s always been the clearest indicator of success. However, today’s statistics are compelling: “Socially engaged companies are 40% more likely to be perceived as competitive, 57% more likely to get increased sales leads and 58% more likely to attract top talent.” (Source: Altimeter Group). It seems that, to be truly successful, you have to be truly social and, to do that, you need to put relationships before sales.
However, too many leaders are shying away from stepping into social. According to a study by fortune.com, of the 39% of CEOs who are active on social networks, no one is active “on all six networks”—defined by the study as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube. In fact, a massive 70% of CEOs engage on only one social network.
So, how do you get your leadership team to embrace social?
Tip #1 – Pick The Right Executive
Not every leader is going to become a social superstar. Instead, focus on 1-2 leaders that are interesting and willing to experiment. Check their LinkedIn profile. Are they well connected? Are they already active on social media? Ask them if they’re interested in building their professional brand online and set their expectation up front. Tell them that you will give them the coaching support but they must commit to investing time – approx 1-2 hours per week.
Tip #2 – Set A Benchmark
Slightly controversial and a little bit of a risk but most leaders won’t have reached that level in their career without watching their competitive peers closely…especially if they’re in sales. Take some time to do your research and share what other executives in similar positions are doing within the industry. Show them profiles, activities, content shared and explain the potential impact as a result.
Tip #3 – Show Them Brand Mentions
If you can, try to access brand social listening reports – most organisations managing branded social media channels will be monitoring conversations…I hope! Show your leadership team real conversations that are happening around your brand. If you have sophisticated listening in place you will be able to monitor the volume of brand conversations compared to your competitors, analyse sentiment and pick out key themes/topics that are trending around your brand.
Tip #4 – Build A Social Habit
Building a habit takes repetition and perseverance. Provide a social routine that isn’t too taxing. For example, start week one by asking them to follow the “Rule of Threes” – make three new connections, share three pieces of content and engage (like/comment) on three posts. It should take no longer than it takes to drink a cup of coffee. In fact, consider suggesting a time when they do it e.g. the morning commute, waiting in line at the airport. Keep it simple for the first couple of weeks and then add to it.
Tip #5 – Show Progress of Your Executives Using Social Media
Finally, schedule regular check-in calls. At the start of the process check their SSI score and/or KLOUT score. Give them a baseline. After a week, check-in with them to see if they’ve managed to build a social habit into their daily routine and review their SSI and/or KLOUT score. Check their activity to see whether they received any engagement on posts shared. Little wins will show it’s working. The more active they become, the quicker they’ll experience social success e.g. their network interacting with them.
Supporting leadership to be more socially active takes time. These tips are based on my experience of working with leaders to help them adopt a more social approach to business by executives using social media. The same process doesn’t work for all. Some will adopt a social habit quicker than others so be flexible in your approach and adjust the routine if it’s not working for them. Focus on the little wins and if you can, relate their success back to a KPI or objective they care about. Good luck!
If you’re interested in learning how Onalytica can help you kick start your employee advocacy program, get in touch by clicking the button below.
About the author
Sarah Goodall is the Founder of Tribal Impact, a specialist B2B social advocacy agency helping organisations shift their social media marketing strategies to the next level – Social Business. Sarah has spent 20+ years in B2B Marketing, most recently leading Social Business for SAP in EMEA where she trained over 3000 employees as part of the global social selling and advocacy program.