Lights Out on Your Events, Now What? Part Two: Integrate, Align, Reinforce, and Repeat
Last week, we took a look at how businesses can respond to the coronavirus pandemic, prioritize objectives and focus on audiences to fill the void of in-person events shutting down or going virtual. You can read my breakdown and suggestions in this Marketing Land piece.
For part two in the series, we’re going to tap into the wisdom of crowds (remember those? #StayHome) and the beauty of truly integrated campaigns, amplified through the audience.
Invoke the wisdom of crowds
So you’ve identified your audience, crafted some killer content and need to find reach. In many cases, amplification begins at home. Employee advocacy harnesses the combined social reach of your team.
It’s a technique that requires some groundwork, but that pays dividends year-round. At the moment, with swathes of office workers logging on remotely, there’s no better time to tap into skyrocketing social media usage and begin turning your workforce into an amplification powerhouse.
Start with the simplest tool you almost certainly already have: LinkedIn. The social network recently rolled out Employee Notifications, letting you push an update to every employee directly from your company page.
It makes distributing content incredibly easy, and requires very little training or even prep, since it leverages the page, employee audience and social posts you already have.
When you’re ready to step up to the next level, take a look at LinkedIn Elevate – the big brother to Employee Notifications, which includes a full suite of amplification tools, built on the same social network.
Third-party platforms can extend the same techniques to Facebook and Twitter. While adding new networks increases the complexity of your employee advocacy efforts, it also greatly enhances your reach.
When you’re ready to level-up, remember that managing such a program can be a full-time job. Employee communication needs to be clear, actionable and unambiguously designed for sharing. Employees can be nervous about inadvertently publicizing something that was meant to be confidential, so lay the groundwork and consider bringing in experts before embarking on an advocacy adventure alone.
Get some influence
Of course, one of the fastest ways to turbo-charge your campaigns is to integrate some influencers. Doing this correctly will take some time, not to mention some tools to identify, vet, onboard, and engage the right people to help spread your message.
However, those investing the time and budget into getting it right now will see dividends in the months and years to come. A strong influencer program can be activated year-round, and dialed up to provide extra reach in coordination with your other paid, earned and owned activities. You’ll need to weigh analytics carefully when managing your influencer cohorts. We recommend looking for the Three-Rs: Relevance, Reach and Resonance.
Relevance should be obvious, but go deeper than bios and hashtags. Look for influencers who are regularly referenced by the wider community. Look for more than high-level key phrases, and build a panel of influencers who go from the highest level of general interest to true specialism and deep knowledge. Don’t be afraid to have some of your influencers truly geek out on your subject matter, as long as their audience is along for the ride.
Reach is another metric that might seem simple, but is easily misunderstood. You’ll need to ensure influencers’ reach is evolving, growing and showing evidence of natural churn. You do not want to market to the same audience over and over. If you did, a one-off engagement would suffice.
Lastly, resonance. Map out the social networks of your influencers and look for tell-tale signs that they’re actually having an impact. Beware of those simply broadcasting to echo chambers. Instead, look for a healthy connection, conversation and engagement with the community.
Integrate, align, reinforce, and repeat
There’s probably nothing here you don’t already do, to one degree or another, but just as we’ve all become fantastically good at hand-washing in recent weeks, practice makes perfect.
Without in-person events, now is your opportunity to practice more integrated marketing. Go beyond what you would usually do and up-level each aspect of your campaign activity. This is the time to draw everything together, and double down on what’s working, rather than reinvent a perfectly good wheel. Integrate, align, reinforce, and repeat.
As we outlined in the first blog post in this series, your efforts should be integrated, objectives tightly aligned and each should reinforce some aspect of the other.
When everything works together, everything works better. That means feeding thought leadership into employee advocacy programs, fueling paid with earned media mentions and funneling everything toward lead-generation in partnership with sales. As we all work increasingly remotely it’s ironic that we’re being given fresh reasons to work closer together.