I remember when Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg) said on The Social Network how facebook needed to stay “cool”. In other words he was saying that the blossoming mother of all global scale social media websites needed to stay clean of ads.
That didn't turn out well if we look at Facebook today.
Facebook and all of the social media has become the no man's land for all sorts of company marketing strategies. Some years ago, it was bloggers, artists and social bees looking for visibility but now it’s the corporations’ turn.
Since taking your business life over to Facebook is currently hip, there’s a few startups out there who've seen quite the profitable market gap to penetrate. One of said companies who’s made good success thanks to the business world's attitude shift has been Helsinki-based Smarp, whose SmarpShare platform has already expanded across the UK, Singapore, UAE, and the Netherlands. It's a platform used by thousands of users who are working in global companies like Metso and UPM among others.
Thanks to a recent strategic partnership with Helsinki-based social media agency Dingle, Smarp’s SmarpShare will spread further as Dingle begins distributing and offering the platform to its clients.
Just like Facebook, it's discomforting to see how marketing strategies have changed beyond recognition. Indeed, the old days of door-to-door salesmen are long over. Back then at least you had a fair fight: you, armed with your own judgement, and the salesman, armed with a charming smile and a buttery voice.
Today, marketing takes place on more subconscious grounds. Experts have learned how the word of friends and relatives weights much more in terms of trustworthiness than that of a stranger's. Makes perfect sense. However, this knowledge emerged a new challenge: how to convince people to market your stuff to their friends and relatives?
The fancy term would be employee advocacy, though the way it works is far less fancy.
Take the SmarpShare platform for example: it aims to engage company employees to create interesting employer-approved content to their external social media networks, and generate conversations around the business itself. In exchange for their contribution, employees get points for being the good little workers they are. These points can then be exchanged for real-life rewards, like coffee coupons! Well, it could be coffee coupons. There are no rule as to what the rewards should be so it could be anything to be honest. Anyway, because the social network of employees preferably buys whatever is recommended by their friends, the employers get a nice sales increase, whereas employees get a cute reward. Brilliant, though slightly scary.
Smarp’s CEO Roope Heinilä believes the partnership is just the beginning. “Our partnership with Dingle will certainly help our clients receive even better results with their employee advocacy programs. Seeing global organizations motivate their employees to participate in communications is highly encouraging as it increases transparency and empowers employees. SmarpShare gives businesses the perfect tool to manage this change and Dingle can provide the necessary professional services to guarantee success.”
The partnership brings mutual benefits to both parties as well as the clients. Dingle CEO Juho Jokinen has experienced first hand the challenges organizations face today. “Advanced companies are constantly looking for ways to empower and motivate their employees to leverage social media...We truly believe employee advocacy can remarkably improve the volume of the sales pipeline and the efficiency of support functions and marketing. We’re now into our third employee advocacy project, and our first customers have seen a remarkable increase in their sales ”
Yep, sales are always good, but what about the employees? Shouldn't their personal social media be about their private life, not about their work? And what about the rest of us who have to see those posts? Frankly I'm not too excited to see my Facebook friends turn into salesmen. Just saying.