We continue our Influencer Insights series with Alban Jarry, renowned expert on digital transformation, social media and communication.
Alban Jarry is Deputy Chairman at Ecole Polytechnique d'Assurances in Paris (Polytechnic School of Insurance) and a member of its Scientific Committee on Digital Technology and Big Data. He is an External Professor at HEC Paris (École des Hautes Études Commerciales) and co-founder of #i4emploi, a group of professionals and jobseekers that connects candidates with employers on Twitter.
Alban believes that it is crucial for companies to be active on social media, in order to increase brand awareness and reach, and to connect with audiences. Through his various activities, Alban shares best practices to generate engagement on social media.
Alban, can you describe key social media best practices for business?
Let us look at an example; Michel et Augustin, which is a food company headquartered in France. To compete with Starbucks, the co-founders of Michel et Augustin, Augustin Paluel-Marmont and Michel de Rovira decided to build a creative Facebook marketing strategy to be noticed by Howard Schultz.
Thanks to an engaged community of over 129 000 fans, they managed to create a unique experience by generating buzz on Facebook, turning Michel et Augustin into a success.
And thanks to disruptive Facebook tactics, the co-founders have managed to increase their brand awareness and reach their goals in record time.
To grow your brand awareness on social media, on Facebook for example, you need to have an engaged community and define clear goals that you set before launching your campaigns. In fact, all investments in your social media strategy should serve to reach these goals you have previously identified and defined.
Social media provides great lead generating opportunities that you wouldn’t identify with other channels. In a nutshell, social media opens up entire worlds!
What advice do you have for creating content that drives engagement on social media?
To generate engagement on social media, you need to create and share relevant content, produced either by your company or by other professionals (content curation). Engagement with content takes place if the content aligns with your defined editorial style, and if your communities find it interesting.
You need to craft the best titles and headlines to catch the reader's eye and encourage internauts to share your content. The recent study "LinkedIn Top Voices 2016" shows that the professionals who generate the highest engagement are either economists, HR specialists, or innovation and digital communication experts.
There are two types of content that can help you drive engagement on social media:
- Industry-related content where you can cover news or information that will help you generate buzz on social media. By sharing this content, you can generate peaks in terms of reach and reactions, but chances of long-term results are slim.
- You can also share content related to your expertise: tips, best practices, guides that you can keep sharing several times on social media. Because this content is not dependent on a specific timeline, you can generate reactions over the long term.
What are your tips for becoming successful on Twitter?
By providing the possibility to send direct messages, Twitter became a chat platform. Companies can manage collaborative projects and even start partnerships in an easy and interactive way.
Twitter brings together professionals and experts to achieve common goals such as finding a job, creating guides with other experts and establishing partnerships. Twitter is a powerful tool to start conversations, either publicly or privately, and those discussions can generate meetings and friendships. Twitter has a power that extends far beyond the virtual world. The experience is fantastic and it can help you grow your business.
Authenticity matters, if you want to generate engaging conversations on Twitter and allow your communities to grow. You also need to experiment – don’t be afraid to try different angles and approaches and to keep looking for new ideas!
Why is it so important to encourage employees to be active on social media?
Companies must adapt their strategies to the digital age. They can turn this new industrial revolution into a great opportunity by integrating digital tactics into their strategies. To make their business a success, they need to not only attract top talent but also retain them. In order to do so, they have to help their employees develop their skills and expertise.
We no longer live in the age of "Fordism"; every single employee should be considered an indispensable resource for building a trustworthy and successful brand.
Employees who are active on social media are usually more creative. It would be a shame to miss such a chance to train employees with social media best practices and to not help them explore and reveal their potential.
In The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry, the discussion involving the kid and the fox taught us so many things:
"I am looking for friends. What does that mean — "tame"?"
"It is an act too often neglected," said the fox. It means to establish ties."
"To establish ties"?
"Just that," said the fox. "To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world..."
Business success involves the employees and the company itself, it is crucial that both parts work together. To quote Antoine de Saint Exupéry, each part needs to tame and be tamed to move forward. Both parts have to help each other – it’s a win-win business relationship.
What are the best practices for helping employees become more active on social media?
Today, professionals are involved in a knowledge-based society that is constantly evolving. It is easy to connect with anyone in any place on the planet, and to communicate and share content with other experts.
Our society is globalized and workplaces haven’t stopped changing and integrating digital technologies during the past 30 years.
Ignoring social networking best practices, for instance on LinkedIn or Twitter, has become too risky for employees. As our society continues to evolve and innovate, it is essential for employees to understand the benefits of being active on social media. They need to use tools dedicated to personal branding and to keep learning while using them.
Companies are responsible for informing and training their employees so they can use social media in relevant and effective ways. Companies and employees have to go further together.
This post was first published on Smarp's French blog.