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How to Transform Your Social-Savvy Employees into Content Champions

content champions, CMIIf you have people at your company who spend a lot of time on social media, you might worry about the impact on your productivity or whether your social media policy needs tightening. But in the right circumstances, these LinkedIn luminaries and Google+ groupies can be real assets to your business. By tapping their personal networks, they can promote your content marketing activities and help you generate wonderful new content ideas.

So if you have potential content champions on your payroll, here’s how you can get some real value out of them.

LinkedIn group networking

As the world’s largest social network for professionals, with 160 million members worldwide, LinkedIn has great potential for content marketers. But most of the cool stuff is limited to individual profiles, which means you’ll need a content champion to really exploit it.

The first assignment for your content champion is to join some relevant groups. There are over 1 million groups already up and running, so there’s a good chance they’ll find something in your particular niche. Joining groups is a good way to expand your network, but your content champion’s priority will be to build a reputation in a small number of active groups by joining conversations and posting comments.

Once they’ve established themselves as useful and informed group members they will be well-placed to link to your high-value content. Spamming members with every blog post is likely to lead to your content champion getting the virtual elbow, but choice articles that are relevant to ongoing conversations or more substantial content — such as white papers and infographics — will add value to the group and get your content in front of more of the right people.

Groups can also be a great place for your content champions to generate some new ideas. They can use group discussions to gather quotes for a feature article or a series of blog posts. They can also reach out to fellow members to find guest blogging opportunities or get a recommendation for where to source great infographics or case studies.

Becoming a great “answerer”

Another great place for your content champion to do some reputation building is in LinkedIn Answers or on a dedicated Q&A site like Quora. Both offer a great platform for tapping into conversations and offering informed and useful responses.

If you’re investing in content marketing, you’ll quickly develop a relevant and valuable archive, from which your content champion can draw ideas. By providing a constructive and timely answer to a question and linking out to a related piece of content you’ve created, your content champion promotes your work, while also enhancing their individual reputation.

LinkedIn Answers and other Q&A sites can also provide great insight into your industry space. They show the kind of information people are looking for right now. If you’re agile enough, you can meet that need by producing a blog post or a PDF download, and then your content champion can get in there and tell people about it.

Twitter and Google+ outreach

There’s no doubting the marketing potential of LinkedIn, particularly with its unrivaled professional focus. But it’s likely to be your Twitter power users who will have a greater reach than their LinkedIn equivalents. According to a recent Power Formula survey, the majority of LinkedIn users have fewer than 300 connections. Active and committed Twitter users in your business could easily build follower numbers in the thousands.

Andrew Lark, the celebrity CMO of Commonwealth Bank (CBA), is a good example. While you might not have someone of Lark’s caliber on your staff, your content champions can still take some tips from how he uses his personal Twitter account.

In the snapshot below you can see him tweeting links to third-party content that he has a personal or professional interest in; re-tweeting posts from people he follows; and also linking to the CBA blog. By doing this, he gets selected blog posts out to his 2,000 followers, expanding the reach of these articles and getting them in front of more relevant pairs of eyes.

Google+ presents similar opportunities. Although recent stats suggest engagement levels on Google’s social networking site remain pretty unimpressive, it has made some headway in certain sectors (SEO, for example); and even if your business isn’t in one of them, there may well be niche social media platforms where your content champions can do similar good work.

Take New York Times columnist Jenna Wortham, for example. More than 12,000 people have added her to their circles, creating a great opportunity to further extend the reach of New York Times content. If you look at Wortham’s Google+ page, you’ll see items of personal interest and shares of her own articles, but also links to apps, stories, interviews, and other content featured on the New York Times site.

HubSpot CMO Mike Volpe is another good example. He gets HubSpot white papers and blog posts in front of close to 7,000 people who have his Google+ account in their circles. The HubSpot brand site is in just under 9,000 circles, which illustrates the potential of his personal reach.

It might not be Google+, but there is likely to be a social media platform relevant to your particular business. While you can do a lot of great stuff through a brand page, it’s worth checking your break room for potential content champions. They might just be able to dramatically increase your footprint.

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