Most businesses today have company Facebook and Twitter profiles, and many have even created accounts on LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram as part of their social media marketing strategies. But the employees of those businesses have their own personal social profiles, too. If your staff isn't using their profiles — particularly LinkedIn and Twitter — as branding tools for your company, you may be missing out on a big marketing opportunity.
"People don't buy from brands; they buy from people they know and trust," said Michael Idinopulos, chief marketing officer of social optimization software PeopleLinx. "When a customer or prospect Googles the people they meet from a company, [personal] social profiles will come up first. Those profiles had better be compelling."
Since small businesses often don't have the budgets for traditional marketing and advertising campaigns, social media marketing through employee profiles should be a top priority, Idinopulos said. [14 Social Media Marketing Solutions for Small Businesses]
"LinkedIn and Twitter capture a lot of traffic, and they send some of that traffic to your employees' profiles," he told Business News Daily. "You can use that to your advantage by encouraging employees to post content that will represent your company well and drive traffic to your site. Leveraging your employees' social networks is a lot more cost-effective than paying directly for clicks."
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Idinopulos offered these three tips to help you and your employees become social media marketing pros, regardless of their roles at the company:
Create high-quality profiles. A high-quality profile shows both the employee and your brand in the best possible light. It's more than having a professional photo and filling in all of the profile fields. Employee profiles should use consistent language to name and describe your company. They should hit key marketing messages, and include links to your business's website and job postings.
Build a relevant network. When it comes to networks, relevance matters more than size does. Employees should connect with customers, partners and prospects whom they really know. These should be people who would take a phone call and reply to an email, because they're the ones who will pay attention to what employees post online.
- Engage connections with valuable content. Employees should engage their networks with content. This is critical, and it's the most overlooked part. Share interesting and timely news stories, blog posts, videos, journal reports, white papers, etc. At least half of this shared content should come from credible third parties so your employees aren't always talking about themselves, Idinopulos said.
Originally published on Business News Daily.