The Key: Social Team Formation, Training, Coaching and Willingness to PLAY!

The Challenge: Help us fill our event in three weeks!

So many of you saw the previous Blog post on the Informs IMPAC 2017 show here in Chicago. Well, the INFORMS people came to us about three weeks before the show and said they needed a short, low-cost campaign to fill their event with paying event attendees at the Notre Dame Chicago Campus. We viewed this as the ultimate Social Influencer challenge: with a small budget and very little time, could we use our core network to make this event pop and possibly put some butts in seats? We took a close look at our network and talked briefly among our team; then we decided to take on the challenge and thought we would give it a shot with our Social Influencer Event System. Spoiler alert: it was a dramatic success! I have outlined the highlights of our steps below.

Strategy: Look at the impact and influence of the network 

We faced the challenge of two networks coming together. FinTech Analytics and Sports Analytics are two different groups, with two entirely different networks. Keep in mind we look at every event like a sporting event, so we assemble networks and sub-networks like “Social Teams”, where there are levels of talent and groupings based on each levels’ commitment to the organization and desire for it to succeed, i.e., corporate championship. So, our typical method is to run what we call our “Inside Out” analysis. It might be easiest to follow along with the diagram below:

Prep work: We make sure first and foremost that we connect all of our teams and brands to the teams associated with the event. We also score all Team Players on the diagram above, both professionals and brands, so we know who the strongest players are – and consequently the ones most likely to participate. As much as you’d like for everyone to participate, we find we mostly get a 50% participation rate; however, some groups surprise us with a higher level of play.

Get the Teams Ready for Play

1.     Core Team (Level One) – these were the Board Members. We were able to get agreement ahead of time for willingness to play. This is critical; without this buy-in, it does not work. So, a big shout out to the Board Members listed below who allowed us to start this machine rolling. A special shout out to Andrea Leiter who was our initial content and spark to get the troops assembled and have them agree to play with us.

They agreed to allow us to train them on how to play on social media and how to interact with our content. Our Social Jack™ Influencer Team Training purposely keeps it simple and easy for busy people to play the game with us and it’s proven to be highly effective. Board Members also agreed to connect us to the next level of the network, the Speaker Team.

2.     Speaker Team (Level Two) – The Speakers were all connected to the Board Members (Team One), so we worked to have them reach out and ask the Speakers to play with our content. We then also provide weekly online coaching sessions for all clients and subscribers so they have a place to go. Don’t forget to also include the Speakers’ brands as part of the game! On our Social Jack™ Platform, we also record all training and coaching sessions for review. We then reach out to all Speakers and invite them to participate. When we have more time, we offer our training and coaching program for Speakers; unfortunately, for this run we could not organize our training for all Speakers.

See Speakers List

3.     Sponsor Team (Level Three) – Sponsors typically are invested; however, many do not know how to play socially. We had the Board Members with the best relationships personally contact the Sponsors and ask them to participate; some even sent email blasts in addition to social posting and engagement. Most are typically invested as they too want the eyeballs on their brand — or they would not be Sponsors. We watched and helped the Sponsors boost their message as part of the process. Reciprocity is part of the success recipe here!

4.     Connected Influencer Team (Level Four) – This is our “secret sauce”: so, we find the Influencer Players in our network, depending on the type of event, audience, etc. Sometimes we have more and sometimes less. In this case we reached out to everyone — from media contacts related to sports and everyone we knew in FINTECH. We wound up with a team of about 35 people of which about 20 played nicely. There was a great variety of participation, ranging from emails to social media placement of banner ads to attendance. Too many to mention here, suffice it to say however that we could not have done it without these players in this process.

Time to Play

Once we have team connections and agreements in place, it’s really time to play! As soon as we had the board trained, we then mapped out our messaging with emails, social media and advertising. We had to move fast since we had a super short promotion window, with very little time for testing. We had to lead out with our best guestimates for the message and tweak on the fly as needed.

We created content calendars and sent those out to all the team players that were trained and those that had agreed to play with us online. As always, some jumped in right away and some needed a little nudge and still others did not show up. No-shows are a hard fact, but in this case, most showed up to play with us online and some even went the extra mile with sending extra emails and even posted their own supply of social media. The most important thing is for all team members to understand what and when you will be posting so they can interact with you, so the best bet is to have your content done in advance, let speakers and sponsors know when they will be featured and where, and then communicate like crazy on approach.

Ongoing Coaching Support

In our weekly Social Jack™ coaching sessions, we provide unlimited support for all clients and students. This means if they want to understand LinkedIn more, we teach that; if they want to play more on Twitter, we teach that. Whatever they need we are there to help them. This way they never feel alone in the game, and for many this is a new game for them. We understand that many of these people are new to this game and we want them to succeed just by being part of the event.

That Extra Reach

To continue this thought, think about if you have a speaker that only has 50 followers on Twitter, then you show them how to get another 20, then how to attach to their brand and other influencers in their world. You are now changing the game one person, one network at a time. We literally received many inquiries and orders just from this method alone.

In this case we had:

8 Board Members

7 Sponsors

13 Speakers

20 Connected Influencers

The total estimated “targeted” social reach ended up being over 75 million connections, and that is a very conservative estimate.

 

The Outcome: 85 attendees for a paid event within 20 days!

 

One More Thing

Always think of the “one more thing”: what is one more tweet, post, share or like that can be done and where. We went into LinkedIn Groups, Alumni Groups and other areas, and in the home stretch that also helped. So, remember when doing this, stick to the plan and — like you do at the gym — always go for one more thing!

There were many more things that we did behind the scenes as part of our process, but I hope this brings you ideas and thoughts of how you can bring more people to your events through Influencer Marketing. We are all Influencers and have a powerful network once it is activated, it’s just that some of us are new and just starting out. Remember that the largest Influencers started with just a few followers at some point and built up to what you now know. The cool thing is that it is never too late to start.

For many of you this seems way out there, it is new, it is growing, it is changing all the time. If you want to know more or want to get a walk-through of our system, I encourage you to visit our website or our Coaching and Training Platform.

Oh — one more thing, remember as you start your journey, you are never alone as long as you follow the Social Teaming methodology described earlier in this blog post. Please let us know how you do as you grow your brand and yourself as an influencer, we would love to feature you or maybe refer to you during one of our upcoming events. After all, our event clients are always looking for the next up-and-coming influencer!

We will see you online…. Influencing!


So, @Social Media Today had a great article titled 12 Reasons why Your Business Should be Utilizing Employee Advocacy, with a great Infographic from @LinkedIn. This was fantastic for me — and timely – because I had some talks lined up on Employee Advocacy and Social Teaming. I’d like to highlight the numbers I think are the most relevant here.

On Average, a company’s employees have 10X as many connections as the company has followers. 10 Times? Yes — and this is proven. In many of our Social Selling and Social Culture programs, we know for a fact that the average employee has 240 connections, and with their two degrees of connections, their social reach hits about 3.8 million connections. Now, to be sure, they won’t reach all those connections, and they’ll need a level of frequency to establish success, however their potential of reach to the company is far greater. The company page needs to rely on followers and there are only two ways to get followers: from existing followers (like employees) engaging, or from advertising. On average, the employee page has only 3% of the potential reach of the employees, and that is best case from our experience.

Every two employee shares from the company page on @LinkedIn result in a company page view, every six shares results in a Company Page follower! Wow, that is staggering, that is all it takes? Well, almost. We need the participation of those employees. How does that happen, how is that orchestrated?

Let me give you a real-life example from one of our clients, American Family Insurance. While at a recent conference, I was able to listen to long-time associate @TomBuchheim, who led the charge at American Family for their Employee Advocacy Program. I have always known they were on it, and proud to say I have been there since the early days of social, and frankly their approach was brilliant. In fact, it was very synergistic to our Social Teaming methodology for sales and culture development.

He mentioned how they formed teams of champions that would act as advocates for the brand and be willing to share content provided by the company to their LinkedIn pages. They started with a small group, then they continued to grow the teams. They created rewards and recognition for their efforts and it bonded the team and humanized the brand. They are even now tracking the success of this program to new business. They had so much success that it became the “in thing”, to a point where people are lining up to be on the next selection. “Pick me!” is how ! Imagine that.

So you see, these are simple metrics which prove the value of employee advocacy. Tom’s story at American Family Insurance is evidence and it continues to grow. We are excited because all of our programs at @Social Jack, Sales, Career, Recruiting and Culture have Social Teaming at the core. In fact here is our definition below, see how it resonates to the story above.

 

Social Team Definition

A group of professionals who have complimentary skills (1) driving to a common objective, goal or destination for which they (2) hold themselves mutually accountable for collective performance. They stay constant on their journey with the (3) purpose of building stronger relationships, trust and always think of other team members with genuine reciprocity. A Social Team (4) utilizes online social networks and the power of their targeted connections, within their sphere of influence, to (5) enhance the team’s relationships, reach, performance and success in reaching their common destination.

If you would like to read more, check out our blog post on Social Teaming:

Social Teaming – It’s All About Who You Know.

Here is a snapshot and link to the revolutionary infographic by LinkedIn

So whether you are in the middle of this and working to figure it out, ask us about Social Teaming to energize this effort. If you’re not sure if management will approve it, show these numbers and this great infographic by LinkedIn to your boss. Think of it as “it is time or get left behind”, because it’s just too easy and it promotes culture development at the same time. What are you waiting for?

We hope to see you and your employees online and working together for a stronger brand!


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.


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Okay, this first move is both easy and hard. At Forward Progress, when we engage in what we call a Rapid Launch Plan, we figure out where to help an organization structure their relationship and community marketing efforts. We often find that there is one critical thing that everyone finally has to deal with and we all need work on this, even us!

This is your first move with the relationship. We are not sure why we see so many people who have great landing pages, registration forms, website capture forms and often see people overlook that next step conversion. Remember, you started a conversation with your audience, don’t misguide them or leave them hanging. Think of your own experience’s online. What turns you on and what turns you off? Then think of what you are offering out on the net.

“What turns you on, what turns you off?”

 

 

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For example, you get a person to fill out your form, make a request or give their email, and what is your first impression? Follow these simple steps to test yourself.

 

  1. Ask people who enter your world how did we do, what do you think?
  1. Test it yourself, do you feel welcomed and tended to, do you feel a relationship forming?
  1. Track your success or failure rate to convert leads into customers

 

Remember once you do these, you can then adjust the experience of that first move accordingly. Your next customer could be closer that you think, like in your CRM or lead database, you just misfired, dropped off or forgot about them. Look and let us know what you find!

See you online – Dean