2015 has been quite a journey. I've built a house, gave birth to my third daughter (3 girls in just over three years) and now I've stepped out of 'corporate' to take control of my own destiny.
I'm not sure if I'm brave, crazy or both but it's quite exciting and terrifying all at the same time.
After 7 years of service I decided to take voluntary redundancy from SAP. It wasn't an easy decision. I have a family and a new home - Am I supposed to grow up and be a responsible adult now I have kids? Surely, more than ever I need security, routine and something vaguely consistent in my life?
I've always been attracted to adventure and this offered the perfect opportunity for me to pursue a lifelong dream – to work for myself. Be an entrepreneur…perhaps a Mumpreneur!
Discovering The Social Business Opportunity
Several years ago I presented at Think International conference in Denmark and talked about how businesses need to adapt to the impact of social media and address the opportunity it presents for brands to engage employees to tell the brand story over social channels.
I think I was a little too early.
Brands at the time were busy adopting the Altimeter Hub and Spoke model with brand channels popping up all over Twitter, Facebook and any other social media that promised to be the next "YouTube".
I remember thinking “Why would anyone, other than employees, be interested to follow a brand on Facebook within the B2B industry?”
My Eureka Moment!
Technically, I trained as a marketer so when my two passions collided I was excited to explore the world of personal branding, supporting others by presenting their personal brand online in the best way possible.
Then I realised the true commercial impact of a socially connected business.
If brands concentrated less on warning employees about the dangers of social media but actually gave them the freedom and even training to use social networking responsibly, suddenly the whole business is out there advocating the brand…not just the sales and marketing department!
Why Tribal Impact?
Roll on several years and advocacy is becoming a huge topic for social marketers for several reasons:
- Brand channels are finding it increasingly difficult to get their message to the target audience via organic social media reach
- Trust in brand messaging is declining in favour of peer-to-peer recommendations
- Much of marketing today is about content and conversations. The marketing function often does not have the scale or breadth of expertise to produce relevant and timely content nor be part of every social conversation.
It’s time to engage the wider tribe!
Engaging a tribe - whether employees, partners or customers - to advocate a brand via social networking will massively impact the success of any social marketing strategy.
After several months piloting my theory, I discovered that…
- On average, employee networks were typically 7x larger than the brand channel network
- Content shared by employees received 50% more clicks than content shared via a branded channels
- Socially trained employees were 3x more likely to share content and got 50% more engagement than employees who had not been socially trained
But it’s not all about marketing. Employee advocacy showcases the great talent working for the organisation. It attracts talent to the organisation. It supports the customer experience and can improve customer service.
I truly believe this digital approach is perfect for organisations seeking out a competitive advantage.
A cultural shift to becoming a social business.
Thank you SAP!
Whilst I’m excited to start my new adventure I am also very sad to say goodbye to SAP.
During my time at SAP I made some fantastic friendships and met some of the best professionals in the business. I gave birth to three amazing little girls, I met Sir Richard Branson, got to live and work in Norway for 5 years, travel across Europe and even met our awesome CEO Bill McDermott.
But most of all, I was given the opportunity to pursue my passion around social marketing and seek out a new direction for my life.
I have a lot to thank SAP for. My life adventures with the company has meant that I’m still a passionate #brandfan even though I’m no longer employed by them.
I guess a true example of how brand advocacy can still impact a business even after an employee leaves!
Join me on my new adventure?
I know full well that community support can help tremendously when learning (that’s how we developed our social media training program in SAP!) so I invite you to join me on my adventure as I build my business.