Make Your Employees Your Greatest Social Asset

Jim Fields, VP of Customer Experience Marketing at SAP, joins the Social Pros Podcast this week, along with Nick Robinson, Digital Strategist at SAP, to discuss the ins and outs of social selling and the challenges and incredible benefits of employee advocacy.

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Full Episode Details

ERP Around the Globe

Today’s Social Pros episode brings us two guests and brand new co-host, Adam Brown. Our guests, Jim Fields and Nick Robinson, work for a little company called SAP, which has grown to 75,000 employees worldwide. Jim is the VP of Customer Experience Marketing, and Nick is the Digital Strategist.

For those who haven’t heard or missed Nick’s first appearance on Social Pros, SAP is a global information technology provider that works with companies of all sizes around the world. They were initially known as one of the original ERP (enterprise resource planning) vendors, and today they offer a suite of products from analytics to social, mobile, digital, and cloud solutions. Jim estimates about 80% of the networked economy’s global transactions are touched by SAP, giving them an incredible perspective on what’s happening in leading companies around the world.

Social Selling vs. Employee Advocacy

Social selling and employe advocacy are two sides of the same coin, according to Jim. Both are about the ability to use social networks and connections to influence people. The differentiation lies in who is doing the reaching out on social media.

Social Selling

Sales teams have very specific approaches to developing relationships on social, and social media is becoming more of a tool in a salesperson’s bag. Even more traditional salespeople who still value the face-to-face interaction are starting to reach out to customers on social media because that’s where communication is happening. In the old days, you would research a customer by looking at the company’s annual report. Nowadays, research is done on LinkedIn and through social listening.

Employee Advocacy

Employee advocacy occurs when employees are willing to post on social media to represent their company’s brand. As we know, people are much more willing to listen to individuals rather than brands. Releasing your brand to your employees can be terrifying, but it’s vital to creating authentic relationships with customers.

“I remember talking to some of the brand marketers at Coke a few years ago. They talked about letting go of their brands and how hard it was for them to do that. Once they were able to let go of the brand, they came to be more in partnership with the people who interacted with their brand than a vendor-consumer type relationship.” —Jim Fields

How to Make Employee Advocates

As in many companies, there are plenty of employees at SAP who are interested in sharing their brand’s content on social media. Moving from, “Sure, I could do that,” to consistent posting and contribution is the most difficult step.

“Look at how to enable each of our employees to become an ambassador for the company and an ambassador for the brand in a way that is true to their role in the organization and their ability to be a voice for us within their various networks and with their social constituents.” —Jim Fields

SAP provides pre-vetted content on their employee advocacy platform to pave the way for their teams. Employees can re-post without much additional work or thought on their part. They can also personalize posts around the content if they are willing to go the next step. And finally, SAP provides several avenues for original content from their employees. “Removing barriers to what to do with content is actually encouraging more people to create original content that’s of personal interest to them.”

See you next week!

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