TEDx TEDxNavasink Logo 400_400 Mark Burgess


A few weeks ago, I was proud to unveil my TEDx Navesink talk, “The Rise of the Social Employee.” It has been quite a lot of fun to watch the response to this speech, and encouraged to see that it is catalyzing conversations around social business communities.

One of the essential themes in my talk was the concept of trust—specifically why employee use of social media can establish connections with communities in ways that traditional advertising has never been able to. Indeed, as I say in my talk, nearly 90 percent of people don’t trust corporate pitches, but anywhere from 78 to 92 percent of people trust “earned media,” or peer recommendations and word-of-mouth through social channels.

There is a real opportunity here for organizations to reinvent the way they engage by putting their employees front and center in the branding conversation. But trust is built on authenticity—and this is something that cannot be faked. Learn how you can encourage your social employees to become trust builders after the video.

Don’t Go For the Hard Sell

Salesforce wrote an article last year listing 45 ways to build brand trust through social media. It’s a good list, highlighting many of the same elements that we advocate for at Blue Focus Marketing—such as building content, telling your story, showing gratitude, celebrating your community ahead of yourself, and asking questions.

A few other key aspects made the list as well: (1) never go for the hard sell, and (2) understand the difference between helping and selling. The sales pitch is even less effective on social media than it is through traditional channels (and it’s not very successful there, either). Hard selling efforts will not be rewarded, and in fact going for the pitch will betray whatever trust you had built.

Sell Yourself as an Authority

This raises the inevitable question: If you can’t hard-sell your prospects, how do you generate sales?

The answer is to sell yourself; building trust means putting your passion for what you do and what you advocate for on display. It means regularly providing information relevant to your prospects’ needs, not because it eventually might lead to a sale, but because an informed customer base benefits everyone and encourages companies to keep their focus where it should be: marketing their brand on the strength of excellent products.

Ultimately, you advocate for your product and generate sales by demonstrating your relationship to it not only as an employee, but as someone who is actively engaged in that product and what it might mean in the big picture. By doing so, you position your company’s offerings not simply as a product or service, but as part of a process, even as part of a lifestyle. This gives it context, ultimately making it more human.


Below are recent endorsements for The Social Employee (McGraw-Hill, August 2013) by Tom Peters and David Aaker on their social networks, but if you want to see more of their endorsements click here.

Tom Peters CROP_W Favorite Biz Book Nov


Tom Peters (Twitter) attribution PPT

Tom Peters signature copy
In The Social Employee, we go behind the scenes with several leading brands—such as IBM, AT&T, Dell, Adobe, Southwest Airlines, Cisco, Acxiom, and Domo—pulling the lid off the inspiring social business success stories that have propelled these companies into the 21st century. These cutting-edge brands have all come to the same realization: the path to social business lies through empowering the social employee.

See what others are saying about The Social Employee and order your copy today!


Please check out @SocialEmployee media buzz! Click Here

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“Great brands have always started on the inside, but why are companies taking so long to leverage the great opportunities offered by internal social media? . . . The Social Employee lifts the lid on this potential and provides guidance for businesses everywhere.” JEZ FRAMPTON, Global Chairman and CEO, Interbrand


Amazon_agold-bookThe Social Employee offers an unparalleled behind-the-scenes look at the social business success stories of some of the biggest brand names in the business world, including IBM, AT&T, Dell, Adobe, Southwest Airlines, Cisco, Acxiom, and Domo. These cutting-edge brands have all come to the same realization: the path to social business lies through empowering the social employee.

The brands that leverage their employee base in order to engage customers and prospects through social media are the ones destined to win the marketing wars. This book not only details the astronomical rise of the social employee, but also outlines the innovative methods that leading companies have employed to foster cultures of enthusiastic and engaged workers.

FORMcGrawHill_RedEWORD by David C. Edelman, Global Co-Leader, Digital Marketing & Sales Practice, McKinsey & Company

AFTERWORD by Kevin Randall, Vice President of Brand Strategy & Research at
Movéo Integrated Branding, and journalist for The Economist and Fast Company

Download ~> Free Chapter 3 – “Brands Under Pressure”



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