Start 2017 by embracing your inner rebel

Are you ready to go rogue? If you’re like millions of other people around the globe who have already seen the latest Star Wars film, Rogue One, the answer is likely a resounding yes. Full of the usual thrills and epic battles characteristic of the franchise, Rogue One focuses on a small band of rebels who bravely risk everything to steal the plans to the evil Empire’s ultimate weapon: the Death Star.

Of course, covert missions, lightsabers, and the all-powerful Force are a far cry from the typical marketer’s day-to-day life. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t learn a thing or two from this ragtag band of heroes in a galaxy far, far away.

Here are three tips (and movie clips) to help you embrace your inner rebel and take control of your brand’s destiny in 2017.

Trust Goes Both Ways

Whether droid, Wookiee, or human, the members of the Rebel Alliance have to trust each other in order to work together. In social marketing, this is true both in the workplace and in the digital bazaar. Many brands are still hesitant to embrace employee advocacy programs for fear their employees might screw things up. Sure, there might be risks, but the benefits far outweigh the potential drawbacks.

The unique perspectives and experiences of your employees offer an authenticity that your brand can’t accomplish on its own. Employee channels have 10 times the connections that branded channels do, and employee-shared content is eight times more effective.

So remember: Trust goes both ways. Trust your employees to do the right thing, and in return they will engage communities to build trust on your brand’s behalf.

Be a Leader

Leaders come from everywhere, not just from the top. For those in senior leadership positions, the challenge is recognizing the social leaders within your ranks and giving them the opportunity to test out their ideas and take your brand in new directions.

And as the burgeoning leader Jyn Erso says in Rogue One, “The time to act is now.” Social advocacy programs are booming, with over 90 percent of brands either already pursuing or planning to pursue some form of employee advocacy. Identify your leaders, seek their input in effective social advocacy strategies, and recruit them to work in your social pilot program.

Champion the Social Workplace

Employees who participate in advocacy programs report feeling more connected with and enthusiastic about their employers. Everyone likes to feel like they’re contributing to a greater good, that they’re joining with a group of like-minded co-workers to create something helpful and enduring. The is what the Rebel Alliance is built on, and it’s what the social workplace is built on too.

Currently, this is something marketers still need to work on. While the value of employee advocacy programs grows more apparent, integration of those programs into overall marketing efforts is still lacking. Platforms like LinkedIn Elevate can help with this cause, engaging employees both with their co-workers and through channels that provide them helpful curated content. Supporting teams of employee advocates helps give them a common identity and sense of purpose—ultimately leading to a more focused, authentic social marketing platform.

What else can marketers learn from the brave heroes of Rogue One? Share your thoughts in the comments, and enjoy a great movie!

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