Growing your company from in the inside out might be one of the easiest things you could do for your company. In today’s world of employee advocacy, social media, leadership and transparency, companies are beginning to change the way that they act and feel in front of their clients. This is also changing the way we do business.

One of the most important shifts that we see is a new commitment by companies that have been talking about becoming a social business. We’ve seen this take on many different meanings.
But what does all of this have to do with culture? In order for us to be social, and in order for our clients to feel connected, we have to be connected internally first. The way we look at it, is that this is where the application of our Social Jack system and social teaming come into play. When we go into an organization, whether it’s from marketing, sales or culture side, we look to see how the company is connected together, before we start connecting them externally.

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This allows them to begin to work together as a team but also be transparent together. This works best when there is a top down initiative, and the leadership is bought into the fact that the company will not operate in this fashion.

The great news about this is that you can be any size company, what matters is that you operate as a cohesive team internally, working together so that clients are connecting to you but also the brand. We also see this as a marketing incentive that we call “humanizing the brand.” All of a sudden, we’re bringing the brand alive with people from within the organization. So this does promote a couple of great things as we begin to take this shift and make this happen.

 

  • It builds a stronger internal trust between the team members and the culture.
  • It allows us to connect to each other’s networks for resources and visibility.
  • It helps support employee retention, recruiting, and career development.
  • And ultimately it helps marketing the brand through the people to the rest of the world.

 

So when we look at building a social culture from the inside out it has a lot of benefits although it has to start with training the core employees making sure the brand and the people operate in concert with each other as they begin to communicate externally. This we see as culture changing for any size business. Here are seven tips to build the social culture within your own compa435ny.

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  1. Top Down Initiative-leadership buy-off: Without support from leaders within a company, social culture cannot strive in the business atmosphere. To make this work, you must be enlightened and a reformist CEO. Another way is to make the business care internally by reverse engineering out of the company’s business goals. By doing this, you are showing how social practices can help achieve social culture.
  2. Corporate Mission-: Quit overlooking the pages of the annual reports, today mission statements must be influential and inspire employees at work. Does this support the effort?
  3. Policy-: Remember to educate your employees on what can and cannot be said on behalf of the company. What type of rules do you have in place at your business? A known social media policy is also important, remember what goes on the Internet, stays on the Internet.
  4. Roles: Within a social business, roles become an important dynamic between how the employees help the business operate. Social media isn’t just for the younger employees, today it is key for all employees to utilize social media. Get online, get to tweeting, posting and snapchating away! Who are your internal champions?
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  5. Rewards and celebrations: Employees are the root of expanding the brand and the story your company tells, remember to recognize and reward employees on their efforts. It is important to create a culture of socially sharp employees.
  6. Contribution: When employees show extra effort in volunteering to make the company thrive forward, it shows customer’s that the brand displays an authentic commitment.
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  7. Measurement: Every marketing company knows that they have to measure levels of engagement among posts. What are the metrics that your company is using? Which KPI’s (key performance indicators) work best and how do they tie back to business? A productive business will help employees become hard working brand ambassadors.

 

So no matter where you are in the journey, start changing your culture today so that you can reach more business from the inside out. Let us know if you need any support around getting started, we would love to help!


In reading recent articles the last couple of weeks, it seems there are mixed reviews on the good and the bad around the purchase of LinkedIn. I have a few thoughts on this:

  • Microsoft has stated that it has plans to integrate LinkedIn and Social Selling into its existing CRM product, Microsoft Dynamics CRM- which is second to sales. I believe this is great for Microsoft but not so sure how it will impact the rest of us that do not use Microsoft CRM. There are also current LinkedIn tools, like “Sales Navigator,” that work well in the sales force. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

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  • My personal thoughts are that Microsoft is genius at wanting to own the data that LinkedIn has. The business intelligence that LinkedIn has from a social perspective of how people are connected and how people work and communicate together, there is nothing out there like this. Microsoft will be able to obtain social trends, social data, business trends, business data all blended together. I believe this is the main reason why they wanted to do this and also give new life to their new CRM products.
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  • Microsoft has historically not been that successful when it comes to social networking or social media. This to me validates that now they’re seeing the value, and it has increased, of social media and social networking. Many people think that this is potentially the death of social media, where these platforms cannot survive on their own, however I believe just the opposite. Microsoft has proven the value of connection, which is what we teach in our Social Jack training programs on coaching individuals the value of their connections based on their own ROI (Return of Investment).
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  • The fact that Microsoft paid $26.2 billion in cash for 433 million users, tells me that they found the cost per user came out to be $60. In our system, we look at it by value of user based on the ROI and outcome of the relationship, which is expediently more. The fact that Microsoft has placed a value on those connections, which have relationships, shows us that there is a value in social networks and connections.

So, connect with someone new today and you never know where it will take you.


The inspiration for this blog post came from two recent conversations I had with fellow colleagues, along with life experiences that come along with working in the Social Media field. We currently live in a world that is ever changing, and we have access to so many different social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn) in which we can connect with our network.

 

Think about Facebooks new feature Safety Check, during major disasters the feature will let friends and family know you’re safe, and can mark other friends as safe.

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Now let us discuss your entire network. Over your lifespan, your network has grown by connecting with people around us and we can classify these connections and put them into three different categories.

 

The first is “Friends.” My definition of friends is, people who we connect with, with the intent for relationship. They can be career connections, friends and family, or even the team you build for your life.

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The second is “Followers.” That is defined by, people who have interest is us in some capacity, either professional, or personal and they literally follow what you do. As a professional, often times people follow your social media pages to stay up to date on what you are posting. Having followers is a choice, check your privacy settings on your social media accounts, because each platform is different.

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Lastly, “Foes” can be identified as the people who connect or tune into your page, for reason of harm. Like theft identity, competition, or possible stalkers. When connections begin to feel disruptive they start to feel more like a foe.

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Here at Social Jack it is purely about relationship building from connections and acquaintances with the intent to attract good targeted followers that someday will become friends and relationships we do business with. That stems from the practical business side of social networks. Once you have categories of friends, you can then decide how you want to operate those friends and networks, we define this as your Social Team. These networks and collection of friends can help you with building a business, marketing a brand, and having a good life team.

 

Remember that there are positives and negatives when connecting with people from your past, but above all it is your choice if you stay connect. Never feel obligated to stay connected if it is not a mutually beneficial.


Our new partnership with EPI, Exit Planning Institute, started in late May, when I traveled to the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, to certify some of their workers with CEPA. I am proud to announce that Social Jack is their official Social Selling learning provider for EPI.

The Exit Planning Institute is the premier provider of education, networking, professional development, and tools for exit planning professionals worldwide. Exit Planning Institute whose representatives are typically wealth managers, financial services, accountants, and other business related careers, want to add exit planning to their book of business.

Our Social Selling technique is essentially another product line for their members. Social Selling can be defined as, “the interaction between two people to get to an entire network.” This functions no differently than when people build a sports team. That’s the system we use: scouting, drafting, and building a core team around your book of business.

At EPI, we have been brought in to be part of their sales track, part of adding the view add of Exit Planning Institute is that they teach and certify you in how to help a business strategy exit but they also help teach you how to sale those services.

 

This is where the Social Jack curriculum, and modules for Social Selling have now become a standard as part of their modules that they deliver to the membership. We’re so excited to start working with EPI and their members to help them produce more new business by generating this new product and by having the knowledge of leveraging Social Jack and Social Selling.

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Now let’s break down our business plan. Our curriculum is about people teaching people how to do social teaming. Social teaming is when people who are in practice management, (accountants and wealth managers) that have a network, but they don’t know how to organize their network. We then step in and teach them to structure their network, clients, friends and family and then convert that to into a powerful team to generate referrals.

 

As part of their CEPA certification, members of EPI are enrolled into two classes. The first was Social Selling 101: How to harness the power of social selling and thought leadership and Social Selling 201: How to build your influential network. Then members will migrate and become members of the Social Jack system, where they will be introduced to all 15 modules, bi-monthly coaching, and library of over 200 other classes.

About Social Jack

Social Jack is a Micro-Learning coaching and training platform that allows you to learn at your pace for your own objectives, sales, career, culture, business building or lifesyle. We use Social Teaming as an exclusive core to all of our programs. All learners will set an objective, get a game plan and quickly move into result driven power moves with a proven system. Over 100,000 professionals have been coaching and trained on this system and more information can be found at www.SocialJack.com.

About EPI

EPI is emerging as a worldwide recognized leader in the exit planning industry and is on a wave of momentum, powered by a strong, active community of CEPAs, members, faculty, board and leading industry experts. Our team is dedicated to accomplishing this vision, providing leading educational opportunities, certification programs, events, member support, and industry research for exit planning professionals in the United States and worldwide. More information about can be found at http://www.exit-planning-institute.org.

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Employee Advocacy is where we are now seeing the effects of Social Media and the power of Social Networks work on behalf of the employee and brand together, however only if done correctly. Otherwise, it’s just another brand request which can work against us or fall on deaf ears!

First let me share my favorite definition of this most recent hot topic.

Employee advocacy is defined as, “the promotion of an organization by its staff members.”

A business may ask employees to actively promote the organization, often through social media, as an element of their jobs. However, the most compelling employee advocacy consists of freely-offered communications on the part of the workforce. The question of whether or not staff members are likely to freely promote an organization is highly related to the degree of employee engagement in the workplace, and employee engagement is largely a factor of the corporate culture and the employer’s ability to make working for them a positive experience.

Source: http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/employee-advocacy

 

How strong is it?

So many brands are working on this effort, and there are so many variations that it is tough to gage how strong it is across the board. It still feels like it is brand and content driven rather than people driven. We believe that there must be an initiative to train and coach employees so they understand the benefit  themselves (WIFM) first, then for the brand. From our observations, these brands are the strongest.

Being a “show me” type person, I have put down some of the stats that jump out at me as we research the net and ask our friends focused on this space. I especially like the lift on blocking stat by Gartner, this shows that even the most compliant environments are loosening up and shifting to the employee being trained and doing the right thing on behalf of themselves and the brand. 

What are some of the benefits?

HR and Company Culture – As employees become part of the “brand” culture, they automatically become raving fans and attract their network to that workplace. See some of the evidence below.

Sales and Marketing Leads – Employees hold a stronger voice than most brands, meaning that people trust other people before they trust brands. If you activate the culture, you then activate the brand from a better position. See the stat below that employee content ranks over brand content shared by over 8x.

Employee Communications – Great communication, produces great everything else. Once people communicate internally and externally with social media, then all areas work in part on behalf of the whole company.

Brand Awareness – When we speak of humanizing the brand, it brings life through the employees to the brand. It’s an automatic trust builder. People trust and buy from people, they pay attention to what their friends say and do. This supports and builds the brand faster than any other method, and at a lower cost!

 What is the Evidence?

General Advocacy

  • 77% of buyers are more likely to buy from a company whose CEO uses social media (Source: MSLGroup)
  • Social CEOs are much more likely to be seen as good communicators than unsocial CEOs (55% vs. 38%, respectively (Source: Weber Shandwick)
  • Leads developed through employee social marketing convert 7x more frequently than other leads (Source: IBM)
  • According to Gartner, the number of companies blocking social media access for employees is dropping at 10% per year. 50% blocked access in 2010 – less than 30% blocked in 2014. (Source: Gartner)

 

Sales :

 

Marketing Perspective

  • The average cold calling appointment rate is 2.5% (Source: CEB)
  • B2B buyers complete 57% of the buying decision before they are willing to talk to a sales rep.(Source: CEB)
  • 92% of buyers say they delete emails or voicemail messages when comes from someone that they do not know. (Source: A Sales Guy Consulting)
  • Content shared by employees receives 8X more engagement than content shared by brand channels (Source: Social Media Today)

 

HR Perspective (Source: Jobvite):

  • Employee referrals have the highest applicant to hire conversion rate – only 7% of applicants are via employees but this accounts for 40% of all new hire hires (Source: Jobvite)
  • 67% of employers and recruiters said that the recruiting process was shorter and 51% said it was less expensive to recruit via referrals (Source: Jobvite)
  • 47% Referral hires have greater job satisfaction and stay longer at companies (Source: Jobvite)
  • Employees of socially engaged companies are… (Source: Altimeter & LinkedIn Relationship Economics 2014)
    • 57% more likely to align social media engagement to more sales leads
    • 20% more likely to stay at their company
    • 27% more likely to feel optimistic about their company’s future
    • 40% more likely to believe their company is more competitive

 

How to jump start – Social Teaming

When we are training our clients, we use our methodology of social teaming. See: Social Teaming Definition. You are simply selecting a team of people inside the organization, then forming them into clusters and then becoming a hub. This can be started by following the simple guidelines below:

Every project starts as a pilot. It never happens when a company says, “yes, lets change our culture and breed employee advocates on behalf of our brand”.  Although companies like Starbucks, IBM, Dell, Sprint, SAP and others have surged into Employee Advocacy with both feet, they all start as pilots. The great news is that you don’t have to be a fortune 500 company to make this happen. It’s imply a top down initiative and people are trained and supported on being advocates. So what are the steps we recommend and take with our clients?

  1. Determine which area to start, marketing, sales, HR, customer service, etc.
  2. Identify your champions, people who believe in the brand
  3. Define what it means it be an advocate of the brand
  4. Pick a platform that can make content access easy and manageable
  5. Create a training and coaching schedule. **
  6. Measure results and adjust program
  7. Select next group or area, repeat.

** Coaching is always on the bubble here and needs to be left in as a priority. Everyone learns at a different rate. They need support and a place to go for assistance.

Many times organizations make this the elephant project and then wait, delay and miss windows of opportunity, overspend on marketing, retention, recruiting, etc. While all along they just need to simply start to shift the culture to root and talk for the brand.

It is really easier than it feels. We love talking to companies and groups about this topic, so please call me if you want to have a discussion. The companies that get this will be growing and surging faster than their competition.


Social Selling Strategies by Sandler Training Ireland

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