The B2B buying process has changed considerably in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. As conventional methods of networking and nurturing leads such as meetings, events and tradeshows continue to be pushed back, sales and marketing teams have been forced to reimagine and realign on how to gain company exposure and generate leads.
Social selling is just one avenue global B2B businesses are exploring for lead generation. 89% of top performing sales professionals find social networking platforms, such as LinkedIn, useful in lead generation. It’s no secret that many B2B business professionals are active on LinkedIn – 70% in fact – it’s a great way to connect with like-minded individuals and boost exposure. Social selling has become a key part of the new ‘normal’ purchase cycle, and a social media ambassador programme is just one way to support this.
The first step in social selling is to ensure that key sales leaders have active and current LinkedIn profiles.
However, there are two problems that are quoted by tech B2B experts around the world:
- “I don’t have the time!”
- “I don’t know what to say!”
A great way to get the sales team on the path to social selling and addressing the two issues above is with a social media ambassador programme.
What is a social media ambassador programme?
A social media ambassadors programme entails supporting key members of your team with social content to enable them to maintain an active social presence. This type of campaign has several advantages: it aligns the team on your company’s social platform, enhances exposure of your content and positions your business as a dynamic partner to work with.
So, how do you get started? Here is a simple step-by-step process.
Step 1 – Identify the thought leaders in your business
Everyone in your organisation cannot be a social media ambassador: so the first step is to identify the spokespeople for the job. You might decide to start with the sales team, the senior leadership team or product marketing, for example. You’ll also need to consider aspects like whether the person would be comfortable to engage socially and get the most for your organisation out of the campaign. They need to have a strong network to ensure you reach your audiences: you might want to consider only those who have a solid network with 500+ connections. People who engage socially with audiences, getting involved with key discussions on the platform in line with their expertise, are also good candidates.
People who are already involved in your marketing campaigns, perhaps subject matter experts who contribute to media campaigns and participate in activities such as webinars, interviews or podcasts, are also good candidates. These are the thought leaders in your business and should be top of the list for a company-wide social media ambassador programme.
Once your spokespeople are identified, you need to ensure their LinkedIn profiles are up to scratch:
- Do they have a professional photo as their profile picture?
- Does their bio reflect their role and ambitions at the business?
- Have they branded their profile with a customised company logo and banner?
If any of the answers to the above are no, think about supporting them with profile optimisation, helping them improve their profiles and align with your businesses brand guidelines. If you are struggling to find someone internally you may wish to explore other options such as using influencers and embarking on influencer outreach.
Step 2 – Ensure content is aligned with key business goals
Now that you’ve got your ambassadors onboard and their profiles are optimised, it’s time to plan the content they’ll be sharing as part of your programme. There are a couple of different ways to do this:
- Create and share relevant content from your company’s LinkedIn page and ask ambassadors to share it to their own networks. This is a great way to give ambassadors new, relevant content that they can share in their own style: there are a number of tools that allow you to automate this process, provide reminders and so on. However, this approach does come with some limitations: it’s time consuming, and they may also forget to share content in a timely manner, as other matters take precedence.
- Develop content specifically for your ambassadors and post on their behalf. This provides greater control over what is shared on the platform and is an efficient way for you and your ambassadors to work together as there are fewer touch points. However, you might run the risk of the individual’s voice bring ‘lost’ or subsumed by corporate messages.
Regardless of which method you choose, you need to align with your key team members on the conversations they are having with customers, and their overall business goals, to ensure content is tailored and relevant. Assets such as thought leadership articles, white papers, reports, infographics and video demonstrations are all great pieces of content to share on social media.
Step 3 – Post, update and track consistently
Once you have aligned on the content you’ll be sharing and started drafting posts, it’s time to put a detailed schedule together. Post frequency depends on the unique needs of your ambassadors: some might prefer weekly posts, some might wish to post updates every couple of days or even daily. Ensure that the frequency you agree on is sustainable: results improve steadily over time. If a number of ambassadors are involved in your programme, you will need to manage posting schedules carefully to avoid content duplication.
It’s also key to ensure your ambassadors have full visibility of the posts before you share them on their behalf. Again, there are numerous ways by which you can do this efficiently, depending on your organisation and the people involved. One way to do this is to share their weekly or monthly schedule of posts with them a week or so prior to going live. This offers them the chance to flag any issues or make changes as they see fit.
By following these three parameters, you’re already well on your way to kick off an effective and successful social media ambassador programme. If you’d like to find out more about how to run an effective programme, or are looking for a content agency to do this for you, contact: [email protected]