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The Rise of Internal Evangelists

Transparency works really well for big companies too, not just for solo practitioners and small businesses. Corporations can use this concept to create what we call “internal evangelists.”

In our last blog, we talked about
putting some personality in your marketing, but we wanted to expound a bit due
to some questions we got. This
whole concept fits in very well with the new transparency movement, which you’ve
undoubtedly heard a lot about recently, because letting people know who you
really are is an important part of transparency. But you might be saying, “Well I’m not a butcher, a
baker, a candlestick maker, or (insert what you do here) so that won’t work for
me.” Or, “but I run a large
company, and it’s not just about me.” What we want to share with you today is the
fact that this same exact concept also works really well for big companies too,
not just for solo practitioners and small businesses. Corporations can use this concept to create what we call “internal
evangelists.”

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Look at it this way, if you were to
take your entire staff of let’s say a hundred people, and you were to train
them well, (this is the key, training them well up front) and then set them
loose on the Internet and social media.
What do you think that would do for your business? We know it might sound scary but, if
you set them loose with the knowledge they have, here’s what would happen–you
would create your own Wikipedia of sorts for your business and your industry with
a bunch of personalities who would go out and reel in the business of people
who connect with that they have to say.
Your sales team isn’t going to be able to connect with everybody. They will likely only be able to making
meaningful and lasting connections with a small portion of the market that you
could be serving. For example, if
you are in the tech industry, your sales team might not connect at all with decision
makers at other companies who have backgrounds as coders or graphic designers. But, what if you could match up a coder, with a coder? Get
the point?

If you would set the knowledge free
that’s in the minds of the employees that are working with you, you would be
creating internal evangelists, people who work internally for you and spread
the word about what your company does to the outside world, by doing this more
prospects will come across your employees’ information and will create bonds
with new potential clients that you might never reach on your own. We all know that consistent, relevant
content drives traffic online and the beauty of this type of system is that the
knowledge your company will be spitting out on a regular basis will be voluminous
if you have 20, 30, 50, or even a hundred employees out there using social
media and the Internet to push and let people know about you. This works even better if you can teach
them to display their expertise, and show their personality, like we discussed
in two of our previous blogs. This
concept can absolutely make your business explode.

Another key point that we want you to
understand is this concept works in any way, shape or form. Let’s look at a quick example, back on
the small business side, of someone you may not normally consider as a small
business owner–a dentist. So, if
you went to a typical dentist’s Web site, what would you see? You’d likely see a bunch of stock
photos of random smiling people.
You’ve seen these types of photos on all the stock photo Web sites, but
here’s the thing, they are useless when trying to build a relationship with
your prospects. All you are
showing them is some random people!
99% of the time these aren’t even people who the dentist has ever worked
on! What a mistake! These
Web sites, with random photos on them would not let you in at all to who the
dentist is and why you might want to choose them as your dentist. Compare that to a dentist who has used
some of the tactics we’ve talked about in our previous posts, who is displaying
their personality and expertise.

Now, let’s say you you’re new in the
community and you didn’t really know anyone but you needed to go to the
dentist. So what you would most
likely do is hit the search engines and look for a dentist in the area? That’s also where your potential
clients are starting, but we digress.
In our example, let’s say the search engine delivers two Web sites that
seem relevant to you and are in a close enough proximity that is convenient
enough for you.

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The first one, we’ll call him Joe
Dentist. He’s got these random smiling people on the front page and his office
hours, maybe a phone number, perhaps a map to his location–but that’s
probably it. The second dentist,
who we’ll call Jane Dentist, who has perhaps been reading our blog, has a big button
encouraging you to download a portion of her bestselling book that happens to
be about the exact issue you’re experiencing. She’s got video of her being interviewed recently on the
local news, or even just a video of a friend or patient interviewing her. She’s blogs regularly about things her
patients would be interested in, she’s got articles that cover common myths
about what is and isn’t good for your teeth, all searchable so you can find
what you want when you need it.
She’s got press releases too!
The first one is on how she was just named top small business in her
community and the second one talks about how she just filled her 10,000 cavity.
Now, let’s stop and ponder: which dentist are you going to want to go to? The boring guy or the lady who you now
not only feel is amazingly qualified, but after watching some of her articles
and videos you actually feel like you know her?! The first guy you probably couldn’t pick out of a lineup!

If you want to take it even further, to
a level of sharing your hobbies and affinities with your potential clients, you
can become even more magnetic. Let’s talk about the dentist who likes Harley’s
and he post pictures of himself taking Harley tours up and down the East Coast
and he has a link to his local Harley Club. It may not be for everybody, but the people who are into
Harley’s–where do you think they’re going to go?

To ping on the concept of allowing your
employees to get involved on more time, you should note that Twitter recently
started allowing accounts to have “Contributors” because there was a big debate
on whether or not it was misleading to have multiple employees tweeting from a
corporate account. So, Twitter came up with the concept of having group
accounts and they now allow contributors to tweet from group accounts, so they
can amass more follower, but each contributor is able to be identified.

Twitter accounts used to be associated
with just one person and it was tricky for big corporations who wanted to amass
lots of followers, but had multiple talented people who wanted to tweet, but now
you can have multiple contributors inside your company, again let me point out
that they need to be good hires who are well trained, who can go out and become
evangelists for what you do to the outside world. A great example of this concept is Tony Hsieh, the CEO of
Zappos. Zappos allows all of their
employees (more than 1800 last I heard) to get on Twitter in the name of
Zappos, with one goal–to help customers get the best customer experience
possible.

When I stopped and asked Tony if he was afraid about what they might say, or
what the rules were for social media he essentially said (and I’m paraphrasing
here), “We don’t have any rules for social media. We just hire right and we fire fast if
we need to.” You’ve got to
give your employees some room to be themselves, and you’ve got to let them
display their expertise and let them get out into the world in ways that they
normally wouldn’t in a typical corporate structure. If you do that, your business will grow in new ways and your
business brand will come alive based on the way your employees are out interacting
in ways that you could never do on your own.

In case you missed our point, these
strategies work for everybody, everywhere and you can use them in any
business. But you’ve got to
display your expertise and you’ve got to show your personality and you should
really consider letting some of your employees get involved too. Who knows
where it might lead!

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JW Dicks (@jwdicks) & Nick Nanton (@nicknanton) are best-selling authors that consult for small- and medium-sized businesses on how to build their business through Personality Driven Marketing, Personal Brand Positioning, Guaranteed Media, and Mining Hidden Business Assets. They offer free articles, white papers, and case studies at their Web site. Jack and Nick have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Newsweek, FastCompany.com, and many more media outlets.

About the author

An Emmy Award Winning Director and Producer, Nick Nanton, Esq., is known as the Top Agent to Celebrity Experts around the world for his role in developing and marketing business and professional experts, through personal branding, media, marketing and PR. Nick is recognized as the nation’s leading expert on personal branding as Fast Company Magazine’s Expert Blogger on the subject and lectures regularly on the topic at at major universities around the world.

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