Five ways to drive social program adoption

Five ways to drive social program adoption

One of the biggest challenges marketers face when starting a digital program is convincing advisors and agents to change their ways. After crafting a strategy and going through the vetting, implementation, and onboarding process to make the right social selling tool accessible—marketers may be met with indifference or even resistance.

Field teams aren't resisting just to be difficult. Rather, they’re likely intimidated by having to learn something they’ve never used before amidst already-busy schedules. So how do you get your field teams excited about the opportunity in front of them and set them up for success?

Here are five tried and true ways to overcome adoption challenges:
    Driving field adoption doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t start with field teams. Start by setting expectations with senior leadership regarding change management and when to expect value (ROI) from social selling.

    Be sure to educate leaders and compliance teams about how social media works: Posts generate awareness and loyalty; leads and stronger relationships follow; new closed business and increased client retention rates are the final results. 
    Instead of rolling out your new tool to the entire field,  implement it within a smaller pilot group first.

    This  group should include two types of users:

    Early adopters:
    The heaviest users of existing sales enablement tools can be easily identified by reviewing usage analytics. This is an ideal beta group because they don't require much hand-holding. They pick up new tools quickly, run with them, and are eager to provide feedback.

    Slow adopters: Individuals who don’t readily adopt existing tools also offer a key beta benefit because they can help you identify common enablement challenges. Learning from them will help you develop coaching and training materials before you scale rollout beyond the pilot group. 
    Even with easy-to-use digital marketing tools, prioritizing proper training is critical. Among Hearsay Social users, we’ve found 1:1 instruction to be the most effective. When we give new users the opportunity to participate in a (virtual) walkthrough of the platform—designed to show how easy it is to streamline and simplify social selling—adoption increases significantly. To facilitate this, we offer agents and advisors multiple ways to learn how to use the platform at their own pace, which helps build confidence.

    It's also important to train advisors and agents on more than technology. You can do this by helping the field think about their personal branding, who to connect with, and how to fit social media into their life on a regular basis.
    When you're just getting started, building a strong network can feel daunting. But much like Rome, an engaging social presence isn't built in a day. After seeing thousands of agents and advisors leverage social selling as a business tool, we can tell you with confidence that posting consistently is the most critical success factor. So how do you encourage your field team to get started?

    Ask each agent and advisor to set a goal and start small. For example, commit to posting at least two times per week on LinkedIn. Bonus points if they regularly rotate between posting industry and professional insights and 'lifestyle' content (personal content that helps their connections learn more about who they are as a person and what they care about). Why? Posting a variety of content helps agents and advisors learn their audience and understand what they prefer to see and interact with while simultaneously helping them engage with a broader audience.

    Setting an easily achievable goal is the best way to get the ball rolling and start building a healthy, robust, engaging social brand that fosters relationships and generates leads. Hearsay Social users can leverage a secret weapon called campaigns to ramp up quickly. Admins and marketers create content, set publishing parameters (what networks the post can be published on, whether modification is allowed, etc.), and assign posts to a campaign. Field team members subscribe to one or multiple campaigns, and any content added by their admin automatically publishes on the agent or advisor's connected social profiles. If a subscribed campaign includes two posts per week and an individual publishes two posts on their own, they can post four times a week with half the effort!.

    Aside from ongoing training, incentives can work wonders to drive adoption. Some firms opt to use a tracking system that gamifies social selling by tracking the number of posts shared on a leaderboard and rewarding top contributors.

Ultimately, driving social program adoption requires a great deal of thought and strategy. Marketers need to be patient and creative to successfully navigate implementation and rollout. Make an effort to understand key pain points and use educational campaigns to engage advisors early on to ensure your program reaches its full potential. With these five proven tactics in mind, digital adoption success will be within reach.

Jessica Cates
Jessica is a content creator and strategist dedicated to publishing engaging content across Hearsay's corporate channels. The Gilbert, Arizona-based mom of two loves to tackle a blinking cursor on a blank page – and as a former Nebraskan, is totally down with the southwest's interpretation of winter.

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