Employee Advocacy: The Marketing Tool You’re Not Using, But Should Be

This post appeared originally on Infinity Insights on June 23, 2016.

Shortly before her departure from a previous employer, a friend of mine shared a news story about the organization accompanied by a negative—and incorrect—comment. Not important to the story, but her departure wasn’t as a result of the comment.

I badly wanted to correct her.

Not to argue. Not because I agreed. Nor because I disagreed. But, because, if she wanted to attack the company—rightly or wrongly—she should use correct facts.

What stopped me?

Despite being a member of the communications team, I wasn’t allowed to. There are about a hundred reasons why only official spokespersons could speak on behalf of this particular company—most importantly because it operated in a highly regulated industry—and I completely understood every one of them.

I was frustrated because this former employee should have followed the same rules about not speaking publicly as I did. We’d had the same training. We were bound by the same employee handbook. But she didn’t care.

What’s the moral of this absurdly long-winded story?

Whether or not you have an official policy banning employees from talking about your company, 50 percent of them are posting messages, pictures and videos that mention your practice anyway.

So, what do you do?

Turn your employees into advocates.

Research shows that patients trust the opinions of people who they know—colleagues, friends, family members, even a casual acquaintance—when looking for a dental practice.

Your employees are connected to ten times more people than your practice. Leverage these connections by encouraging your employees to interact with your content. When employees tell your story; or react to, comment on or share your posts, your content appears in the news feeds of their friends and family.

An employee advocate—or ambassador—encourages interaction with your content, strengthens your relationship with current and potential patients, and provides a direct channel of communication with the practice.

Building a successful employee advocacy program for your practice.

Employee_Advocacy_Infographic

Create a social media policy

Your social media policy plays a vital role in the success of your program.

Empower employees to be creative and to share your content by providing guidelines for appropriate behavior online. Try adding these tips to your policy:

1. Engage, engage, engage

We’ve created content that’s entertaining, inspiring, educational and—most importantly—sharable. Pass it along. You know the content is approved because we posted it.

2. Keep it real

Always be authentic, users can tell when you’re spinning a tale for entertainment value.

3. Do your job

We’re stoked that you’ve joined our social media efforts, but not at the cost of patient care. Your patient’s needs always come first.

4. Think before you post

Often gaffes on social media could have been avoided if the poster had slowed down. Think, is this content that lives up to the standards of our brand? Would I want my Mom to see my name associated with this? Are the technical elements of the post correct (e.g., Am I posting from the correct account? Is the spelling and grammar correct?)

5. Protect our patients

HIPAA violations are no joke. But more importantly, it’s the right thing to do. Don’t disclose patient information in a post. Check the background of photos for patients or photos of patients.

6. Love our brand

Lululemon employees may be the best example of this. They love nothing more than talking about the yoga clothing retailer, even using the hashtag #lululemonambassador.

lulu-employee-advocates.png

PS, we love you too.

7. Respect sensitive information

We trust you. That’s why we shared with you that we’re thinking of partnering with a dentist who may retire soon. And, our quarterly earnings. And that we’re gearing up for a hiring frenzy.

We expect you to keep that to yourself. Tradecraft Baby.

8. Keep a lid on it

If you have a sibling, this concept is familiar to you. It’s okay to argue with each other, but if anyone else says something mean about them, it’s a problem. Same here. If you have a disagreement with management or a colleague, it stays in-house. We don’t throw our own under-the-bus in public.

A good social media policy delegates responsibilities and designate what roles each administrator plays, while defining consequences for violating the policy (e.g., written up or automatic termination).

Using the information in this infographic, we have no doubt you’ll launch an employee advocacy program that amplifies your practice’s voice.

7 Easy Tips for Killer Social Video

This post originally appeared on Infinity Insights, the official blog of Infinity Dental Web.

Eighty-nine million people in the United States watched 1.2 billion online videos today.

Fifty-two percent of consumers say that watching product videos make them more confident in online purchase decisions. And, 96 percent of consumers find videos helpful when making purchase decisions online.

Your social video content needs to be on point

Whether you’re recording a video for YouTube or going live on any of the latest social media video platforms (Facebook, Blab, Periscope, to name a few), social video is currently the most effective marketing tool at your disposal.

1. Prepare, prepare, prepare

Know what you’re going to say. Or, at least have an idea. If rehearsing or writing a second by second script feels inauthentic, at least sketch out your main points. Preparation creates confidence and eliminates “um’s”—meaning you’ll come across as a thought leader.

2. Keep it right, keep it tight

When TED curator Chris Anderson invites the world’s most intelligent leaders to speak, he gives them 18 minutes. Our brains are wired to pay attention for 10 to 18 minutes, no longer. 18 minutes is the length of John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech. If 18 minutes is good enough for JFK, it’s good enough for you.

But, that’s long-form video.

The ideal length of a YouTube video is less than three minutes. Instagram limits video to a maximum of 60 seconds, but ideally video on the platform should be 3 to 15 seconds. For maximum engagement, Facebook videos should be 30 to 45 seconds. Snapchat records for 10.

3. Rule of thirds

Keep in mind the rule of thirds. Using your imagination, divide the video screen in thirds, you should occupy one-third of the screen. If you don’t, move the camera closer (move, don’t zoom). If you’re taking up more than one-third of the screen, move the camera back.

The rule of thirds is one of the most used compositions in film and photography. Use two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines to break up the frame into nine parts.
The rule of thirds is one of the most used compositions in film and photography. Use two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines to break up the frame into nine parts.

4. Be aware

When you sit in front of your bookcase, does it look like there’s a plant growing out your head or a trophy that looks like a neck growth? Be aware of what’s behind you and how it looks on camera. Consider positioning yourself in front of a blank wall or sheet.

5. Slow and steady wins the race

Whether you use a tripod or prop up your smartphone with a few books and binder clips, do something to keep your video steady. The “Blair Witch Project” wasn’t good in 1999, so let’s not recreate it. It doesn’t matter how informative, creative, or inspiring your content is, viewers won’t stick around if they get seasick from watching you.

6. Drop the mic

Using your smartphone to record? Invest in a smartphone mic. I purchased mine on Amazon for less than $30. It’s unidirectional and plugs directly into the headphone jack.

7. Light the way

If your office tends to be a bit dark—and even if you think it’s not—add additional lights. Desk lamps on either side of the camera, pointed in your direction are an inexpensive and effective way to brighten  your video.

 

Video–including social video–now appears in 70 percent of the top 100 Google search results.
Video–including social video–now appears in 70 percent of the top 100 Google search results.

Adapt your video content to best fit the platform. Sharing the same content across every platform is inappropriate. Where a live Q&A might work on Blab or Facebook Live, a demonstration or tutorial might be more appropriate for YouTube.

No matter the platform or the content, it must be interesting, emotional, positive, and brand-centric.