If a few years back managing your brand’s online presence meant setting up a relatively decent website and maybe generate some traffic through paid actions and social media, today, mere brand management is a full-time job. People’s online behaviour has changed incredibly. They no longer search for and engage with just your brand but are performing the same actions when it comes to key people within your business.

We know that people connect with people, much more meaningfully than to abstract entities, which is why so much effort goes into humanizing brands through values, purpose, personality and image. Not only that, but audiences often evaluate companies based on the people who work for it, thus expanding your marketing team well beyond your marketing department. How far? Let’s find out.


CEO

Not that far fetched an idea for a small start-up but it might seem completely whacked for large organisations, where you can’t even get a hold of a senior person, let alone get them to buy into such a time-consuming initiative. Unfortunately, users don’t really care how busy you might be and, at the very least, expect leadership teams to have polished, professional profiles.

Having active social media accounts, doesn’t mean your CEO now has to learn to write compelling social media messages, A/B test account growth strategies or start designing visuals. Your marketing department can do all that. It does, however, mean that they will have to be involved in developing the strategies, agreeing on the messages and what your goals are for his/ her accounts.

79 percent of Inc 500 CEOs had an active presence on at least one social media network in 2013, while this year, 84% of CEOs and VPs say they use social media to help make purchasing decisions. If the idea of being a brand ambassador isn’t appealing to your CEO, have him/ her consider this – it’s likely a big chunk of your competition is already engaging your prospects online, whether you think that social media can generate leads or not.

In-house experts

One thing companies online are fighting over as fiercely as they’re competing over customers is market share. In order to dig your heels deep enough to not only stay visible to your audience but showcase the value of a partnership with your brand, you’ll have to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

Your in-house experts can boost the overall profile of your company just by having a decent social media account and, by sharing technical and industry insights, they become active contributors in ensuring purchase decisions swing your way.

Everyone engaging clients

Whether we’re talking about sales teams or project managers, people who interact with existing or potential clients need to have a professional, believable and compelling online presence. Active social media profiles allow you to build a strong relationship with existing clients, keeping you and your company in their field of view beyond official company communication channels.

What’s more, since your potential customers are already online, social media participation is a great way to generate leads and understand your potential audience. Just like your customers, your competitors are roaming the same online social scene as you are, allowing you to easily throw in some competitor stalking into the mix.

Beyond lead generation, customer engagement and competitor research, lies a much bigger reason why your social media contribution is important. Liking, sharing, commenting, mentioning and engaging with your own brand in any way will boost its visibility and online reputation, effectively making you a part of your company’s extended marketing team.


The Bottom line

Aside from a creative team that includes copywriters, social media specialists and designers, your marketing efforts should leverage the expertise, visibility and reach of all the members of your staff. At the very least, a sound digital marketing strategy should account for the participation of senior members of the team, people who can, in part, replace paid actions with the reach of their own networks, experts whose posts will reinforce your capabilities and act as a catalyst for brand awareness, loyalty and engagement.

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