The best marketing tools are right in front of you: My favorite lessons from #SocialMitten 2016 – Part 3

By: Kim Farrow

This is the third and final installment in the series about my learnings at Social Mitten, Michigan’s largest social media conference, hosted by Social Media Club Great Lakes Bay. If you’re just tuning in, be sure to check out part one and part two!

In the final installment of the series, the lessons center around an important topic: Tapping into the tools you already have… That is, your employees and your data.


“If your employees aren’t your biggest fans, you have far bigger problems than social media.”

Originally said by Jay Baer, shared by Elly Deutch, Global Social Engagement Manager at McDondalds, Inc.

This can be a tough reality to grasp for marketers – that is, the idea that we are not only working for external audiences, but we should also be champions of employee engagement.

That’s not to say that your marketing department should take on the responsibilities of the HR team. Rather, Elly’s point is that marketers have the opportunity to create greater impact for their brand by tapping people who have a real stake in the company’s success: other employees.

According to Cisco, employees have 10X more followers than their companies’ corporate social media profiles. Imagine if someone told you there was a tool to reach 10 times as many people – and that it was sitting right under your nose all along.

Sure, there are plenty of challenges that can prevent a marketing department from tapping employees for brand advocacy: things like cultural challenges, apathy or lack of understanding from employees. But each of these challenges can, theoretically, be addressed through training or the creation of a corporate social media policy.

The biggest key for marketers to remember is that if you look, you’re certain to find employees who WANT to be advocates for your brand. And if you can’t, as Jay Baer points out, it may be a sign of larger issues within your corporate structure or company culture.


“As consumers, we generate data all day long – the problem is that data is often stored, processed or generated into different systems.”

Jon Beebe, Director of Digital Advertising & Analytics, GM

The struggle is real for marketers using data to drive their advertising, social media, and digital marketing efforts. Like Jon pointed out, the amount of data generated by one person on any given day is enough to overwhelm the most senior marketers. Plus, conflicting or duplicate data can make it difficult to communicate one consistent message with each member of your audience.

So what is the key to using that data effectively?

Start by understanding what data you absolutely need to deliver relevant messages to the right audience (like demographic data, contact information, internet usage, etc.). Then determine what performance data (like email clickthroughs or ad impressions) actually tells you about the way customers interact with your brand.

Once you know what data you need, it will be a lot easier to determine where and how to find it.

If possible, integrate as many of your behind-the-scenes marketing tools as possible. If you use a CRM and marketing automation software, make sure the platforms that can communicate between one another. Look for platforms that offer additional integrations, like with Google Analytics and AdWords.

Finally, remember: It’s alright to start small. If you’ve never collected or used data in your marketing efforts, it’s important to start somewhere, figure out your needs, then scale up.

Did you attend Social Mitten 2016? What were your favorite lessons? Let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter.

Marketing to humans in 2016: My favorite lessons from #SocialMitten 2016 – Part 1
The larger role of marketers: My favorite lessons from #SocialMitten 2016 – Part 2

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