Employee advocacy has a value, use it!

As a brand, you can count on many leverages in order to promote your products and your company values. Over the past few years, I’ve been in touch with many companies that were really afraid of their own employees.

Obviously, it is legitimate for a company to be vigilant regarding confidentiality matters, regulation constraints due to specific market requirements (Pharmaceutical or Food Industry for instance) or considering potential communications crisis. Some don’t fear for it!

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Don’t neglect word to mouth importance

Yet, word to mouth is still key when it comes to reputation and gaining new grounds or markets therefore you can rely on your own customers… But not only, your brand image as a company is also an important value that can be really important in buyers decisions… as well as to potential candidates.

My few advice in order to have a good overview on how you can leverage a real employee advocacy program would be the following:

1/ Rely on true social media policy

It requires time and resources but it’s worth it! Otherwise, how would you want to be clear in terms of expectations? You have to define, communicate , explain and sustain your own guidelines in order to raise your employee awareness regarding the benefits and the risks associated to such communications.

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2/ Identify your first champions…

And challenge them (if you can!). Feed them with these guidelines, make regular meetings with them in order to feed them with key elements to share (information, infographics, etc…) or to be fed by them (I must confess I’m a big fan of AS Monaco… Congrats to AS Monaco who surprised be yesterday night against PSG… who are the league 1 champions!)

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3/ Unleash the beast!

At some point, you’ll have to trust them (which does not exclude to control what they do) but the tone requires to be authentic. And you require to have some doers in your teams. Otherwise, you’ll be engaged in long time running talks that would turn to be less productive than the experience it self!

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What about you, how would you proceed to do so? Are you part of an employee advocacy program in your day to day job? Would you like to?

Snapchat: brands, ready to get naked?

In response to my previous post, you’ll find within this article a few arguments in favor of the use of Snapchat for business purposes. Stating that Snapchat is trendy and that politicians or institutional actors take this leap of faith nowadays isn’t enough to consider if snapchat should be integrated to your communications efforts…

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Indeed, as in any communications plans you design you’ll have of course to determine if your target audiences use it or could be willing to use it before launching it… Yet, once you’ve done your homework, if you’re looking for the following effects within your audience, then it my be really useful!

Create more proximity with you customers

I think one of the main aspect to consider with Snapchat is the big opportunity to create more proximity and even some intimacy. Think of all these people sharing pictures of them on Snapchat. I would say that bands have to keep in mind this kind of mood. You can’t replicate what you do on other social networks. You have to adapt. In other words, I’m not saying that you should share nude pictures of your CEO but you have to give pictures of your company or your products that are not seen anywhere else.

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Backstage pictures are typically a good and valuable content to be shared on Snapchat. In France the famous L’Equipe, a sports daily newspaper signed an exclusivity contract with the Ballon d’Or organization in order to provide its followers with backstage pictures of this ceremony.

In other words: try to surprise them!

Snapchat is definitely the place to make surprise announcement. It strengthens the proximity you can have with your customers or readers by giving them preview or teasers from your future services and offers or during special events (Miss Universe 2015 ceremony below)

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You have to surprise them, and the best surprise I know is the gift you can give them! You have to create some content which is really original, genuine and unexpected. You ability to design unexpected communications will encourage people to follow you in order not to miss it!

In order to facilitate the success of your call to actions!

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Through reminders, you’ll give them more chance not to miss your content. think for example of HBO sending snaps before some of their tv shows, making sure their audience will not forget to watch live their latest favorite show.

Propose special promotions and operations: converting your audiences into customers should be your prior target like MacDonald’s did during 2015 Superbowl.

They reminded their customers that they were able to pay with Lovin during a short period: Mac Donald’s U.S. restaurants have been letting some customers pay for orders during the past two weeks with fist bumps, kind words, and other behavior qualifying as—per the official rules—”a random act of Lovin’. OK, I admit, Mac Donald’s didn’t use it genuinely as a particular way to create a reaction towards its community but the idea was there. Why not asking people to send their snaps of having a Mac Donal meal in front of the match in order to benefit a special discount even gift in their Mac Donald for example… Plenty of call to actions could be designed… Costly or not, but at least with considering of making it happen differently and again create real interactions with the customers!

But we could simply imagine to use Snapchat as a way to give your customers special fares and gifts only available through this channel (exclusivity again!). What about you, what would you expect from a brand you’re following on Snapchat?

Snapchat… just for kids? Really?

I recently had the opportunity to welcome a few kids around 12 years old who where visiting my previous company during one of the training sessions I used to animate. I don’t think I was boring during these sessions and I always tried to do my best to provide a vivid presentation. Yet… How could I be able to maintain them in the loop? Snapchat came to my mind!

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And after having realized my short introduction during which these kids where stuck on their mobile phone, I asked to the participants: “What social network, do you use? Facebook? Raise your hand please? – no sign about these teenagers…” Twitter? – are they still awaken?.. Snapchat? YESSS!!!”. They did it, they can answer to simple question… But they were not the only one to answer! (Indeed Barney!!!)

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The point is a few other people raised their hands too… And they were over 35 years old… Of course, in the field of social media strategy, when it comes to studies about social networks adoption, we can have in mind some shortcuts, sometimes useful in the short terms… But when it comes to plan the future, you still need to be more open minded. This short experience helped me to understand that. I was quite surprised of these outcome but it made an echo with a real challenge for Snapchat!

Snapchat is trying to have their network used more and more by other population and to increase their user base. And it seems to be already the case: last year in the U.S., Snapchat added 25-to-34-year-old users (103%) and older-than-35 users (84%) faster than 18-to-24-year-old users (56%) as we can read in the LA times article. Obviously, older people don’t want to be outpaced by the younger and therefore people try to catch up… Well I guess I have to finally use this network too as a personal interest and find some friends and brands to follow.

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We’ll see in a other article how brand try to target this older users… But think of how much proximity it can bring during special events…  (sports team have understood it)

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At least, Snapchat gave me the opportunity to create a discussion with these teenagers… Finally the tool is really able to gather different generations 🙂

10 take aways about the Corporate Social Media Summit in NYC #CSMNY

I landed a few days ago from my flight back home from New York and decided to wrap up some of the main take aways I had after this conference.
No offense with the participants I would not mention in this short post but you’ll find in this short article a subjective vision of some points that really made an echo for me due to my own previous experiences, convictions, etc…

1/ Infobesity… Always!

Not my favorite moment of the conference, yet people among the attendees seemed very moved by this concept. This concept has long been shared in Europe as one of the constraints that impose the companies to find the needle in the stack. Yet here, it’s interesting to see that this concept is not just a concept. Infobesity is not a danger, it’s a warning about your need to look at the accurate information, metrics and remind us that we have to be agile in our social media monitoring or strategies. Always adapt, refine, change. In my opinion, in a way, I would say that dealing with infobesity as an asset is a key to success.

2/ Customers’ delight in the end

Customer relationship is a big challenge. But it’s not the end of the journey! Being able to answer with the same tone and with a propos brings more that satisfaction. You can now impress your customers like NBC who designed specific content during the Superbowl for instance.

3/ Agility helps to reach your goals

To me a value which is directly linked to customers delight. If you want to achieve this customers delight then it is required to be flexible: not only in terms of organisations and processes, but your team members must be creative… and fun! Spotify is a refence when it comes to answer to their customers by designing spotify playlists as answers!

4/ Customer relationship can (must?) be cool

Social media listening used as a way to understand customers expectations and create adequate content is key. You have to understand your context and your customers expectations. In other words, people want answers. But who said that you have to use a bored tone to express it? Dollar Shave club shared a few examples sometimes… explicit!

5/ SoMe is not PR

Obviously! Customers care for valuable information. You have to craft your messages and contents and not csocial networks a another way to push your PR contents.

6/ B2B can use SoMe

Of course, I work for a company also focused on B2B customers. Interesting to see that when it comes to B2B, SoMe is also seen as an efficient tool. Zoetis (veterinarian products) use the power of tools like facebook to target their priority target (veterinarians) and feed them with valuable content to sustain their activity.
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7/Don’t underestimate your customers’ power

Crowdsourcing is definitely one of the best leverage available nowadays if you want to create things and be in line with your customers expectations. Yet every companies are not comparable to Lego.

8/ If you’ve read so far…

It is actually a fake 10 points… I will only have 9 but… Thanks for having read so far!
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9/ What about the others?

Periscope, Reddit ( I mean THE front page of the web), Snapchat, the importance of the search through Search Engines and their impact on reputation were not mentioned a lot… but well, choices must be made! And social media are under a constant evolution. Let’s learn a few years more about it!

10 I’ll be back!

Panelists were great with full of insights and experiences to share, the red velvet cupcake was awesome, location… perfect! I mean… NYC! Brooklyn! You see what I mean right? People as a whole, friendly..
For sure one of the most interesting social media conference I had the opportunity to attend to over these past two years!

Corporate Social Media Summit 2015: see you there!

After a short digital detox in Portugal lately, I’ll be happy to be part of the delegates of this event Big Apple!

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Feel free to get in touch with me through Twitter, LinkedIn and directly in New York Next week while attending to some of these participants sessions

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See you on Monday then! By the way, If I have this face on Monday, it’s not because of Monday, it qwill be because of the jet lag! Still, get in touch and connect, I don’t bite! 😉

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Social media: be open minded as a brand, break down the barriers!

“Do you think this new Facebook campaign is gonna be good or bad for us?”

In spite of having run several social media campaign in your company, you’re still facing people explaining that you will sooner or later learn how bad could social media be for a brand.

It is a risk of course, but a risk which is worth it for many reasons. One of the most important to me is that you’re finally meeting your customers, the general public who can also even not know your brand but can be mooved by your brand!

Then, what are the challenges you have to face daily to create your audience satisfaction?

Create content you’re proud of!

“Good content always has an objective; it’s created with intent. It therefore carries triggers to action.” Ann Handley.

I really like this campaign. #LikeaGirl is no more something that must be seen as insultant, it is something that matters, it’s about respect and confidence! This video is really great because it shows how child are confident and reluctant to accept social determinism.

Besides Always had the good idea to create use this hashtag as a way to compliment someone.

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It also about saying that sex equality is already there, of course not everywhere but signs of it are there and should not be forgotten; if you think that only huge muscle guys can play football in the US… Then I think Always can proove you that you’re wrong!

Always has even become one of the official sponsor of the Superbowlalways2

If this tiny little voice in your head is saying, “are you sure you want to do it like that” it migth be a sign of the potential difficulties you might be facing.

Still, at some point you’ll have to jump in, and experience in the reality if you concerns or expectations where right or not. But you’ll necessarily discover new ones and already have to accept it!

Accept criticism…

You’ve worked a lot on that campaign but people don’t like it. Worse you have to face a lot of criticisms…

Critics are not necessarily dramatic if you seize it as a good leverage to change things … and if you have the ability to change things!

It becomes a little bit more dramatic when you’ve created something that you thought could be fun… but is outrageous for your audience. Take a look at what happen to this cute dog in Go Daddy’s commercial that was initially planned to be broadcasted during the Super Bowl final!

I’m a really cute dog but Go Daddy was not very cool to me in their advertising (He’s too cute, I’m gonna rescue him and we’ll become best friends forever:-) )

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Do you even imagine if they have decided to keep this  advertising programmed for the most viewed sports event in the year in the US?

In France, the 3 Suisses a online shop was accused of having used the wave of emotion generated by the #JeSuisCharlie on its twitter account.

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Some of the web users decided to answer by creating sarcastic content like the following:

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All these examples show how much it is still important today to be priorly worried of what emotions brand messages can create nowadays. And since an emotion is created by the brand, internet users also have the power to answer to it and create another kind of emotion: indignation that could lead to boycott or massive critics online.

Answer to your critics!

Critics might no be easy to handle and sometimes you can only apologize and moove on. US Airways didn’t have anymore things to do when they accidentally posted an obscene picture on their Twitter!

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In many cases, critics are not directly linked to controversial actions or communications from a brand.

Therefore critics must be seen as a good opportunity. In a way, they can show that people are caring for what you’ve said. Maybe you have just mistaken in the way you express yourself. Such feedbacks are valuable in order to wonder if the content you’ve designed is really accurate or not.

And may be it’s the time for you to apologize and correct things, not necessarily within your campaign or your communications, but sometimes directly regarding the quality of the products or services you’re proposing.

It can also reveal a lack of organization and resources diretcly in the structure of the company. And if you don’t want such situation to happen, you have to do something!

What if we don’t have any answers to bring, either in terms of communications or organization?

Let go… if you are convinced you’ve done your best!

trollYou can’t manage everything. At some point you just have to let things go. because in today economy, things no more belong to you.

Communities and customers own your brand and you owe them to be good in what you do and what you bring to them!

But remember that some people might be just excellent at trolling your feeds:  if you are facing obvious and inflammatory statements that are meant to bait people into reacting. ..Welcome! You’re not watching at the Lord of The Ring yet, you’re facing a troll! Whatever upsetting it might be, be reasonnable, don’t think that answering must be systematic: do not feed the troll!

What about you, what are the best campaigns you have in mind, the worst, what are the lessons you’ve learned from it?

Reverse mentoring : this selfie might be a sign of your digital transformation!

Digital transformation has generated a whole new way of considering management and innovation within a company.

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In our world top down decisions or inspiration should not be the common rule: creating an open discussion between the eldest and millenials could proove to be highly beneficial. 

Reverse mentoring: you’ve certainly been saying prose without knowing it!

I recently read 2011, Lisa Quast from Forbes wrote an already highly accurate article that raise my awareness about this topic. Reverse monitoring is not a brand new concept.

Indeed, if you are concerned about educating your company, benefiting from millenials ideas and knowledge on technologies, expectations and habits to be melt with knowledge and company’s core culture could proove to be a real benefit.

You are a decision maker, worried about the futur of your company and aware of the major impacts of the digital on the world economy and want to benefit from it?

Have you hired young people or young experimented people? Then you might be on the path of reverse mentoring. (For my own psychological sake, I will not define “young” :-))

How can you do it?

It’s not only about hiring youg people with great ideas. It’s  not on ly about hiring young people!

When it comes to digital, it “doesn’t just mean increasing digital investments. It means thinking and acting digital first”

Reverse mentoring must be seen as a programme with clear objectives and expectations and dedicated resources.

garfieldscaleI would also add it requires a real agilty in terms of organization based upon trust and transparency between the stakeholders. Others can list also the need of pushing away the barrier of status also. And I agree with that!

Personally I would insist on the mutual listening. Because listening is important but understanding is too! It implies acceptation. Not only from the eldest. But also from the newcomers. Are they diplomatic enough, will they keep being motivated once they’ll be confronted to company’s constraints?

What are the benefits?

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All this for a selfie with the CEO? This selfie is not just a selfie. It’s a commitment and sign of trust.

This helps to increase the level of awareness of your company’s stakeholders on how it is important to embrace new technologies, new trends and be confident in the youngest workforce or newcomers who still have to progressively within the company.

It is also a sign of mutual assistance. Many CEOs might have simply rejected the idea of taking such a picture. But I think this gesture can directly help the digital teams to be seen as teams that matter and are key for the future of the company or at least for the future communications of the company! And it shows how important are digital transformation and young people for Renault.

It is also about giving confidence and depassionate worries about social networks.

Am I going to be followed as a CEO on Twitter? What can I share? How do I use it? Do i use it correctly? Do I have to answer to all the solicitations I receive on my Linkedin?

All this, through specific program can also help non tech savvy become more educated about it and more efficient as it is already done within Mastercard since 2011.

What are the risks?

It’s all about digital transformation! You can simply not make “as if” you were not aware of the situation. This transformation is happening whether you like it or not.

Being on social medias is not about taking risks, it’s about having the opporunity to engage directly with your customers, detractors, potential candidates. Besides, in case of crisis it is a sign of real transparencyby demionstrating that you are able to use all the available tools in order to disseminate your message.

A lot has till to be done, if you consider that only  68% of Fortune 500 CEOs did not have any social media presence (not even on LinkedIn!) How could other executives in these companies be really confident in opening their own social media presences? But of course things are changing!

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I focused a lot on technologies or digital transformation but do you think of other company’s challenges that could benefit from reverse mentoring?

Do you know or are part of reverse mentoring programme. If so, what are your main feedbacks?

What do you think are the challenges leadership has to face due to such change in companies behaviours?