As you know, the success of any company is in the strength of its employees. This “happy employee = happy customer” mantra is encapsulated in many of the solutions sold by NICE. But it is in fact of much greater significance than just a mantra to ensure that a company’s customers stay happy.
It feels a bit weird writing about successful employee engagement for a company that sells solutions for successful employee engagement. Be that as it may, employee engagement isn’t only about measuring an employee’s goal success and performance in their day-to-day tasks; it’s also about how they fit into the company culture, how they engage with the company and how they portray the company to the outside world.
Think about your own professional status, how you are viewed on LinkedIn or Facebook, who follows you, how many times your posts are liked etc. If you don’t know or care, well then you should and here is why. On average you spend 9 of your 15 awake hours a day working, you spend years building up your career, hopefully working your way up to more responsible roles or aspiring to better your sales goals thereby achieving better commissions. If you were to look for a new position elsewhere, most employers these days recruit via social media, but more importantly, most employers recruit “based-on” social media. That’s right, they check you out and see what people say and think about you on social media or how you use social media to portray yourself. If you aren’t there or at the very least not active and another candidate has written or shared countless thought-pieces on topics related to the position, the other candidate is more likely to be taken more seriously. FACT! You social status is inevitable.
But the point of this blog post isn’t to give you the tools to successfully look for work elsewhere; the point is that if a potential employer cares about your social status, then even more so a potential new customer or returning customer will too. Social media, when used correctly, will help you engage with new potential customers; will help you get noticed by customers possibly using a competitive product; will raise your personal profile and may even position you as a thought-leader (or Influencer) on topics related to your industry. This is called social selling and you need to be doing it, like RIGHT NOW!
So what is influencer marketing and why is it relevant to social selling?
An INFLUENCER is defined as someone active on Social Media who consistently posts on topics of relevance to your target audience. Not necessarily with the most followers, but preferably with a significant following (i.e. people of importance in the industry). So you may be wondering why it is important to follow and engage with these so-called “influencers.” Well to put it simply, because they shape the news and trending topics in your industry, and if you want to be noticed then you need to get them to notice you, and in doing so maybe become an influencer yourself.
But this is not just some fairy tale idea of putting people up on a pedestal and worshipping the ground they walk on. In the Customer Service/Customer Experience industry for example, Shep Hyken, Brian Solis, and Marsha Collier, are people have worked hard for years to build a reputation and be recognised as industry experts. When they say that RTA is important to banks – or you cannot run your back office without automated processes – then the decision-makers who purchase those products – sit up and pay attention. Especially if these influencers are mentioning your company or more importantly, you.
So how can Influencer engagement work for you?
IDENTIFY > FOLLOW > ENGAGE > ACKNOWLEDGE
It may seem daunting to come up with an influencer strategy. However, it is actually just part of your everyday social media activity and shouldn’t take more than 10-20 min per day. It may surprise you to know that all of NICE social media activity (we are talking about 70-100 posts a day), only takes 1-2-hours per day. The most important thing is to constantly IDENTIFY the people talking about your areas/topics of interest. FOLLOW them, ENGAGE by liking their content/posts or including their research in the posts you create and most importantly never forgetting to tag and ACKNOWLEDGE them in your posts so that they are encouraged to engage back. This way their followers are more likely to see and follow you.
If you are lucky, your company will do all the hard work for you by posting their content to a social advocacy board, making social posting VERY easy for you to do. Using a content management platform, that has a built in Advocacy board, the NICE social team prepare all the social posts adding tags and acknowledgments where relevant. Using this social advocacy board, the NICE employees who participate in their social advocacy programme can simply log in or share directly from an email notification straight to their own social profiles. By encouraging social advocacy, NICE posts have the potential to be seen by hundreds if not thousands more people relevant to the industry. If your company does not use social advocacy they should.
How else can social help you to grow your following?
Simply posting your company’s content is not going to be enough. You should be spending 5-10 min a day connecting with other people in your industry network. You should identify groups and communities relevant to your topics of interest and expertise and make sure that you are a member of those groups. If you cannot find the group you are looking for, create it and invite people with shared interests to join that group. If you “own” the group, then you have a dedicated audience for telling your story or sharing your promotions. For example - if you are hosting a webinar or have a sales tip/offer/product, as a member you are able to promote it in those groups and potentially increase your “signup” or conversion success rate.
This is called social selling. It is however important to make sure, that “sales promos” is not the ONLY thing that you post in these groups, many of them will frown upon pure sales or selling posts. However, if there is something relevant to your product like a webinar or blog post then you can try and “socially sell” your solution by adding a call-to-action at the bottom of the post saying something like, “for more information about how you can use XXX to XXX your customers, please contact XXX XXX@xxx.”
It’s a two way street – How can you help your company to help you?
- Suggest great content: 2/3 of all posts sent out by NICE are called curated posts, i.e. someone else has written them but we think what they have to say is important or good. In fact NICE have a curated blog post once a week around the topics of customer experience and customer service (www.nice.com/engage/blog). If you find an article, infographic, cartoon, video or any important thought-piece that says something that either validates a solution your company has, predicts changes or trends, or talks about your areas of expertise, send them to your content marketing team. They should add them to their daily posts and do all the hard work for you so that by the time it appears on the social advocacy board, if you are lucky enough to have one, all you have to do is share or like it.
- Connect to Influencers: Start connecting to people you recognize as important to your industry, invite them to like or follow you and then invite them to follow your company too.
- Create great content: Have a story to tell, a success to share, a trend to predict, something to say relevant to what you do or your topic of interest? Write about it! You may not be the next Shakespeare – but hopefully your content marketing team can help you out with that.
Get social: Take pride in the place you work, sharing your company’s success can only make them more successful. When you are asked to share, everybody wins.
Below are 5 great pieces about social selling, published this year, which we recommend you read:
By LinkedIn Sales Solutions, via LinkedIn.com
Just in case you need more proof that Social Selling works. LinkedIn have established a new Social Selling Index (SSI) for measuring the success of social selling. According to a recent report that they released based on this new SSI formula, they found a strong correlation between achieving sales goals and sales reps with high SSI. In fact the results show:
- 51% more likely to hit quota
- 78% of social sellers outsell peers who don't use social media
- 3X more likely to go to club
LinkedIn's Latest Survey Shows Why Social Selling is Becoming King
By Louis Columbus, via Forbes.com
This is a great summarization by Louis Columbus for Forbes.com on the above-mentioned LinkedIn social selling survey.
Why the Future of New Business is Social Selling
By Monica Zent, via Entrepreneur.com
Monica says that, "Potential investors, employees, colleagues, clients and customers are literally at your fingertips. But it is up to you to build relationships and establish trust. And that is what social selling is all about. Social selling is no longer optional for your business. It’s a powerful strategy that can help sell your ideas, establish credibility, secure funding, attract talent and win customers."
How to Leverage More Leads Through Your Personal Brand
By Matt 'Handshakin' Holmes, via Medium
Matt says about social selling, "Align your personal brand with the reasons your marketplace buys what you sell. You will become a walking, talking advertisement, and, without actually trying, people will link you to your product and service. And they will want what you sell." Couldn't have said it better ourselves!
Excerpt of infographic by Sales for Life. Full infographic available on link below
6 Surprising Statistics on Social Selling That All Salespeople Should Know [Infographic]
By Emma Brudner, via Hubspot
If we haven't convinced you that social selling is the bomb, perhaps this infographic by Sales for Life will. Emma Brudner sums it up perfectly with this one tiny fact, "Not sold on social selling? Consider that buyers who engage on social media have far bigger budgets than those who don't -- 84% bigger, to be exact. Or that sellers who use social far outpace their non-social selling peers in terms of quota attainment. It's not too late to climb aboard the social selling train -- get started today."