One of the things I talk about in Google+ Marketing For Dummies is the importance of getting your employees and brand loyalists involved in social media. This is something I’m seeing has more and more importance with the emergence of Google Authorship and the affect a public profile on Facebook has for individuals. The truth is, our culture is evolving from a culture of brands to a culture of people. The focus is no longer on your brand.
For that reason, I think it’s more and more important that you get your employees, or if you’re an employee, yourself, involved more and more in social media. In the future (and to some extent, now!), your job is going to depend on this!
Let’s take Google Authorship as an example. For one organization I worked with, we implemented Google+ profiles for high ranking officials/executives of the organization, and tied those profiles, using Google Authorship, back to content they had written on the organization’s website. With no content whatsoever on the profile, and solely the link to that individual’s profile, the organization saw a 300% increase in traffic on the individual articles written by those individuals on the company’s website. Imagine what it would have been like with MORE followers and MORE content on those profiles! You can see why I talked about making your website more about people, with content written by actual people in your organization in my books.
Just yesterday, SEO experts started complaining that Google was no longer providing keyword data back to websites for identifying the keywords people are searching for when they visit your website. Google is making it clear that it’s not about keywords any more. It’s about people, and real, genuine content. Your employees and the people behind your brand are a critical part of your SEO strategy now. You see the same with Facebook as they try to penalize “memes” and other brand-focused spam in the News Feed.
Google Authorship is just one strategy though. If you follow me on Facebook, you know I don’t have a Facebook Page for just me. I have Facebook Pages for my books and other brands, but not myself. Instead, I use what’s called a “Public Profile”, and allow people to “follow” me there. I actually do this on purpose. There, of course, are disadvantages to not having a Facebook Page for myself – I can’t advertise as easily (I can do a Promoted URL or Promoted Post back to my personal profile, however). There are no Insights/Analytics for personal profiles.
However, the advantage using a Public Profile is it focuses on me as an individual. It allows me to show the person behind my brand. When people follow me they know they’re following a real individual. I can comment much easier on others’ posts. In addition, I show up in Facebook’s suggestion algorithms as a person, which in my opinion favors more highly than Facebook Pages do. All of this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Here’s one example of why all that’s valuable: Yesterday Mark Zuckerberg changed his profile cover image on Facebook to an old graphic of all the relationships that exist around the world on Facebook which their data team put together back in 2010. Within minutes, he saw tens of thousands of likes on the cover image and I was seeing half my friends share it. I was familiar with this graphic because it hangs on the wall in my office – awhile back I blew it up and printed it out so I could show it off (If Facebook provided a way to purchase these they would sell off-the-charts!).
I commented on Mark Zuckerberg’s cover image stating that I had this hanging on my wall. All of the sudden that evening I started seeing friend requests from people trying to friend me, and new followers coming in like crazy! Within 12 hours I gained more than 1,000 new followers on my profile. It turns out Mark Zuckerberg liked my comment along with a few other of my friends that worked at Facebook, and that alone was enough to highlight the comment as the top comment on his cover image. Organically, 1,000 new followers in 12 hours is pretty good, and now I have the chance to build a personal relationship with every single one of those followers! Seriously, if you want to get some quick followers go reply on my comment that’s already highlighted there (only one reply right now!).
So as you can see, it wasn’t my brand, but my personal profile that provided the value. I couldn’t have accomplished that with a brand page, or bland brand website. You (the person, not the brand), and your employees need to be doing the same.
Next time you think about your presence on social media, stop thinking about Facebook Pages and Google+ Pages, and start looking at ways you can engage your employees and yourself as people on social channels. Make them “social embassadors” for your brand, and you should see ten times the success you are seeing with just one marketer and one team in your company focused on just the brand.
In these days, EVERYONE is a marketer! You need to be training your employees to be social assets for your company. If you’re an employee, your social presence, and even more than that, value (number of followers, etc), will be a defining factor of whether you, or the guy being interviewed next to you gets the job. It’s time to start learning to build audiences through social media, and build your own value for the companies you work for.
For companies and business owners interested, I provide a “Social Embassador” training curriculum as part of my “Everyone a Marketer” program. You can learn more about it here. Talk to me (email@example.com) if you’re interested in training your own employees as social assets! I am also doing a webinar in 3 weeks that you and your employees can learn how to grow your brand through Facebook ads. Go here to purchase your tickets and learn more!