Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Getting to Know You: How Content Fosters Stronger Relationships Inside and Outside a Company

 As the adage goes, people do business with people they know, like and trust. Business professionals network, they join trade associations, and get referrals from clients and colleagues. But how can companies build that “know, like and trust” factor between corporate and workforce, employee-to-employee, and between employees and customers? 

By sharing content.

1 - Get them to know. Content that is relevant and gets employees talking to each other and to customers helps build relationships around common goals. Providing a platform for them to become familiar with each other by sharing common ideas (or sharing disparate views of a shared conversation) is the great equalizer that draws people together.

Expert byline articles are great tools for this. Sales people can send an email to the consumer with helpful tips and a link to an article about a shared topic of interest (fashion tips for fall, color trends for spring, what not to wear), or a manager can share an article related to a specific department or product and get employees talking about it--together.

2 - Get them to like. Sharing informative, educational, and practical content with customers and between employees creates brand buzz and develops a corps of brand ambassadors from inside and outside the company.

That’s because content allows for a productive exchange of feedback. Whether it’s a survey or an article that encourages comments, brands can use the feedback that is elicited to develop customer loyalty programs, employee recognition programs and other activities that engage everyone on both sides of the content (and corporate) fence.

A few years ago, an article in Social Media Today stated that, “Engage your internal audience just as you do your external one, and you’ll find your workers are much better equipped to talk the company talk.” I submit that this remains true today. Sure, technology changes all the time but some basic tenets will always apply.

3 - Get them to trust. In the customer service realm, content provides an avenue for employees to converse with customers that trust because the information being shared is content that customers are interested in. In the human resources area, content can be used to showcase a great job performed by an employee or team through a case study or results of a survey.

  • Content fosters collaboration -- Content is ready-made to get the conversation started. It brings employees and their customers together over common ground; collaboration tools, if employed by your company, keep the conversation going.
  • Content fosters social learning -- Users are reading the articles or training materials—and in so doing, they are learning and sharing information.
  • Content aligns users around brand goals -- Share blog posts and newsletter content that promotes a brand with employees and/or customers; encourage them to comment and exchange opinions (moderated, of course) about the shared content.
  • Content creates data -- By curating shared content generated by employees—blogs, social posts, newsletters—a company can develop a content database that can help brands provide better service or expand their product lines.

Sharing meaningful content internally (with your workforce or between employees) as well as externally (employees “talking” to customers) creates a more social business by providing the bridge that pulls together the workforce, connects consumers with employees, and gets users to know, like and trust each other as well as the brand.