How to Change the Entire Social Media Culture of a Company in Less than 48 Hours

by Marcus Sheridan

social media team workI’ve written quite a few posts espousing the value of social media and inbound marketing over the past 18 months, but I honestly feel this one today may be one of my most important, and you’ll understand why if you read until the end.

Going About It All Wrong

When it comes to the social media cultures of most companies, almost every business I’ve ever seen is doing it completely and totally wrong. And because businesses are going about this thing called social media/content creation the wrong way, they fail. Yep, with a big, fat “F”.

Here are a few reasons why:

1. There isn’t complete buy-in from ALL employees (top to bottom).

2. Employees don’t share similar understandings nor visions of what great content can do for the company and individuals as a whole.

3. Employees don’t understand how to use their own skills to produce valuable content.

4. Everyone expects ‘the marketing director’ to be the blog, the voice, the everything.

Change is Needed

I could seriously list possibly 100 more reasons why most companies fail when it comes to social media, but I’ll just stop there. You get the point. Everyone has seen this. Stuff has got to change.

But I’m happy to say ‘change’ is what this article is all about. Personally, I’m tired of hearing ‘gurus’ tell me how content creation and social media are for ‘experts’ with ‘certain skills’ and they must have ‘xyz talents’ and blah, blah, blah.

It’s total bull. All of it.

Here’s what qualifies an employee to help a company’s social media efforts:

If any employee of a company has ever answered a customer question, then they’re qualified.

Don’t believe me? Just keep reading…

How to Change an Entire Culture in 48 Hours or Less

Two weeks ago I flew to Michigan to help a company of 60 employees catch the vision of content/inbound marketing. I knew it was going to be a daunting task, mainly because we had a lot to cover in a short amount of time, yet we needed results immediately. Like many business in this economy, Company X (we’ll call them that for privacy reasons) has had a rough go at it lately. They sell a product, quite high-end I might add, all over the world. But the sales just haven’t been sufficient. They need results, BIG results. And they need them soon.

So their head of marketing and I got together and planned a two day event that would literally (we hoped) ignite a fire and vision within the entire organization and enable them to quickly dominate their industry through the power of inbound marketing. Here’s how the schedule went, and whatever you do, make sure you read the final results of our efforts, shown at the bottom:

Day 1:

8am: The CEO welcomed his entire staff and implored them to give their best over the next 48 hours. He explained how he had ‘bought it’ to content marketing and in order for this to work, everyone else would need to step up as well.

8:20am-11:30am:  For the next 130 minutes, I gave the group a complete introduction to inbound and content marketing, in a way that anyone and everyone could fully ‘get it’. I also showed its impact on my swimming pool company’s bottom line, how it had saved our business, and exactly the how each and every one of them could utilize their own skills and talents, within their area of expertise, to produce content as well.

12:30-230: Time for phase two. This section was all about giving the group, especially the sales department; the vision of how content is literally the greatest sales tool on earth. As in the previous segment, there was much Q and A, and the conversation was in constant flow.

3:30-5pm: Final education session of the day. I discussed ‘personalization’ with the employees, and talked about the need for each to share more of themselves on the company website so as to form stronger relationships with their clients and customers (personal branding). We also dove into video and the power of You Tube in this class. I showed some of my most successful videos of all time and once again, the Q and A was excellent.

Day 2: (Note: I just stayed for the first day and the marketing director lead the effort on day 2)

AM: A full review of the previous day with more questions and answers. Afterwards, the employees were divided up into teams to see who could come up with the most blog article ideas, using the same technique we had discussed for ‘content ideas’ the day before.

Afternoon: Video time. Employee teams now produced their own videos (again, using teachings from previous day). Some were more humor based, others more serious, but everyone joined in, and it was huge hit.

PM: Employees reviewed the day’s activities and watched everyone’s videos. Laughs were shared, stronger bonds were formed, and the social media retreat had come to an end.

The Results

The following week, I received this letter from the head of marketing. Please understand that I’m not sharing this note to brag about myself and say, ‘Look at me, I’m awesome.’ Rather, I want companies to realize just how much their social media culture can change in less than 48 hours. Here’s the letter, word for word:

Hi Marcus,

Well, mission accomplished my new dear friend! I am so proud of you and all that you did to rock the entire organization into a new reality. They definitely “got it” after hearing you speak. It was better than I dared imagine. Thank you so much for helping them all understand inbound/content marketing in a new and awesome way. And the coolest part is, not only do they get it… they are EXCITED!

I have been getting text messages, email notes and IMs ever since the retreat from the most unlikely people thanking me. Even the biggest skeptics have made a point to reach out and tell me how much they enjoyed you as a speaker and that they have all these ideas now. It is going to be so very powerful having this many people unified with the same vision and equipped to make it happen.

The full report on Day 2…

Before we could even start on the workshops I was really surprised at all of questions from the audience. I took it as a good sign that people had been ruminating on your content all night and were chomping at the bit for application. So that was cool.

Then the blog title brainstorm contest was the perfect activity to follow-up. All combined, the teams came up with more than 700 blog titles!! (not sure how many duplicates are in there but who cares… over 7-stinking-hundred!!) Ha!

As for the rest of the day, people were wayyyy more into the personal branding exercise than I expected and the videos that people made were hi-larious! Some of them are actually worth keeping and sharing on our website. Matter of fact, Jason C’s was how to fix <insert equipment piece here> simply by changing out the batteries and he had his 6 yr old daughter demonstrate (much like your video of your son demonstrating how to clean a pool). Now he’s going to work on a related blog post so that we can embed the video.

I’m going to follow-up with Josh N again about the pictures tomorrow. I hope to get you something right away!

-K

p.s. I forgot to tell you that the real lasting proof of a successful retreat was the fact that I had 8 blog posts in my inbox by lunch today and many more on the way.

Your Challenge

So there you have it folks. Yes, it can be done. And you can be rest-assured that I will be showing a follow-up to this post in 6 months. But the key here was the fact that the company, instead of segmenting blogging and social media into a small section of employees, decided to start everyone off on the same page, sharing the same vision (see Steve Jobs), and making sure they all understood their importance to such a campaign.

As a poker player would say, they’re All In.

Your Turn:

Great conversation opportunity here folks. First, do you think companies should take the time to have complete buy-in from their employees when it comes to social media? Also, should every employee be involved or should it be more ‘specialized’ and ‘segmented’? And finally, what mistakes have you made/seen in terms of companies embracing the power of social media and content marketing? Fire away my friends. Whether you agree or disagree, your voice needs to be heard.

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{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah Arrow September 26, 2011 at

How fab! Well done you and the marketing director, I hope he can keep the pedal to the metal :)

And 8 blog posts in overnight is what the editor of a multi author blog dreams of…

What a really inspiring post to see that a business can embrace content marketing so quickly.

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Marcus Sheridan September 27, 2011 at

Yep, 8 blog posts overnight…awesome, ehh Sarah? :-)

Always great to see you my friend!

Marcus

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Joe @ Not Your Average Joe September 26, 2011 at

Marcus, this is a great job by you in persuading members of this company of the importance of content in sales and what social media can bring to the table. I think the toughest thing for employees to do is embrace change, but in this economy, it’s totally necessary. The company that I work for has gone through massive changes this year not only in organizational management, but in philosophy and focus as well. Change is the new animal in the cage, and you have to learn to love it or get left behind. This MI company that you helped seems to get it. To have EVERYONE come on board is amazing!

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Marcus Sheridan September 27, 2011 at

You really made some powerful points here Joe. Yep, we better change or be left behind. And sadly, many businesses right now are being very, very left behind.

To a continual embracing of healthy change my friend,

Marcus

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Robert Dempsey September 26, 2011 at

Very cool results Marcus. Amazing what can happen when you have vocal buy-in from top leadership and get everyone involved. I’ve witnessed the same transformation in software development companies that implemented Agile development. That required, as inbound marketing does, management to become more hands off and let the people do the work they can do.

When you empower the people amazing results can occur, especially in times of trouble. Of course you have to be willing to accept that not everyone might make the transition, and let those folks go.

I’m not working with companies as large as you are so frankly I can’t have too much of an opinion here. It would be easy for me to say “sure let everyone join in” but without knowing the circumstances it’s hard to have an opinion. So I’ll leave that to others.

But what I can say is that when you have top-down leadership telling everyone that this is the direction we’re heading and I need *your* help good things happen big time. People are just waiting to be asked.

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Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at

Robert, what sound words here man. Love how you espouse the concept of ‘trickle down social media economics’ (I just made that one up ;-) ), and as you said, sometimes management just needs to step aside and let employees do their thing.

Appreciate your thoughts bud and hope you and the fam are doing well.

Marcus

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Jack @ TheJackB September 26, 2011 at

should every employee be involved or should it be more ‘specialized’ and ‘segmented

That is a good question that probably isn’t limited to one answer so I’d have to say it all depends on a number of factors. For example when I worked in manufacturing we had a number of workers in the plant who didn’t speak English very well.

That doesn’t mean that they weren’t intelligent or had nothing to offer but I don’t know how much time would be required to get them involved and up to speed.

But I don’t think that you have to have 100% buy in to make this work. If you have management and a majority of “employees” that is probably enough to get things moving in the right direction.

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Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at

Hey Jack, completely agree with what you’re saying. 100% participation, in terms of actually producing content, can be tough in certain occasions, but 100% buy-in, yeah, that can work. Without question.

Thanks so much for stopping by bud,

Marcus

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Al Smith September 26, 2011 at

Another winner Marcus. Great stuff, my friend. Maybe you should go speak to West Virginia, before their next big game. Ha . Anyway, this makes so much sense. I have mentioned this in a previous post, also. It makes all the difference in the world when it is coming from the top. the CEO. It HAS to start there. With the support, encouragement and inspiration from the top (being All in) the employess feel a sense of belonging and they become more interested, involved and invested. When everyone is buying in, it creates a momentum, a belief that is ghard to stop. I know you helped create that excitement, Marcus. Way to go !

You are doing an incredible job of sharing this message with others. So proud and encouraged by you and what you are doing. Really making a difference. Keep up the great work, my friend. Hope to talk soon.

Don’t forget the Dare to CARE challenge. I know you’re in.

Al

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Marcus Sheridan September 27, 2011 at

Al my friend, thanks for CARing so much yourself buddy. It means a ton. And yeah, maybe I’ll do WVUs pregame next time. ;-) But hey, I had a blast and it was something I’ll never forget.

Have a tremendous week brother,

Marcus

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Ameena Falchetto September 26, 2011 at

Wow – that’s fascinating! Well done!

I’ve worked in companies before where I was told to do my job and keep out of the bigger picture – it was seriously demotivating especially when every person in a company should be providing something valuable to the vision.

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Marcus Sheridan September 27, 2011 at

That’s exactly it Ameena. When every employee feels like they have a stake in the success of the company, their feeling of worth goes up and so does their productivity…and the sense of ‘team’ elevates as well. Who wouldn’t want that???

Have a great week lady. :-)

Marcus

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Jens P. Berget September 26, 2011 at

This is awesome Marcus. You should come to Norway, we need you here :)

I can truly relate to this head of marketing, and what you did is amazing. I wouldn’t dream of changing the culture at the college within 48 hours, but I would give it a shot. The problem with a larger company is to include all employees. We’re about 500 employees, and I bet I would have a hard time to involve most of the teachers (they always say that they have better things to do).

Now, I’ve done things in a different way. I’ve included our customers instead of the people working here. So, it’s our customers who are creating the content for us. So far, this is going great (customers equals students).

Jens

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Marcus Sheridan September 27, 2011 at

You’re dang smart Jens. I know I’ve said this before, but you’re a serious thought leader for marketing in your country.

The fact that you’ve thought to leverage your customers for content is genius. Seriously awesome man.

Keep achieving big my friend,

Marcus

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Michael Schechter September 26, 2011 at

I’ve been dealing with this very problem (damn you and your uncanny way to see into my world). Just starting to try to get more voices and more help, but it is no easy feat. I’ve been thinking about it strategically, find the right person, ask them to help tackle a specific topic. Perhaps it would be better to just cast a wider net.

Thanks as always for the food for thought.

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Marcus Sheridan September 27, 2011 at

No easy feat is right my friend. Maybe you need a lion to come in and help, after all, they do take shiny objects in trade. ;-)

Seriously though bud, we should talk about your company strategy sometime man.

Have a good week Michael,

Marcus

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Michael Schechter September 27, 2011 at

We just may get there and we are long overdue for a chat!

I may know the location of a shiny object or two as well :)

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Chad Thiele September 26, 2011 at

This is a great post.

It will be interesting to see what the company does with the information and guidance that you gave them. I look forward to seeing the follow-up post.

Chad

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Marcus Sheridan September 27, 2011 at

Trust me Chad, I’m very, very eager to see how this all goes down myself. My dad always said, “A new broom sweeps clean.”

Right now, they’re in ‘new broom’ phase. Soon, the broom will not be new, but I sure hope they’ll be sweeping. ;-)

Thanks for your comment bud,

Marcus

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Howie at Sky Pulse Media September 26, 2011 at

You took TNT and you lit it under a boulder. In front of the boulder is a hill. The initial blast gave the boulder momentum up the hill. You are the TNT. It is gone. There is a team of people who if they race under the boulder while it still has momentum they can push it to the top of the hill pretty easily. And then it will peak and rush downhill trouncing everything in it’s path.

The Manager was smart. He paid for the TNT. Now the question is can he get that team under the boulder and pushing while inertia is there or will gravity take over and roll back down.

This will be a big test for management. Buy in lasts a limited time if results are not seen. If the organization doesn’t have community buy in that they are in this together (vs half job searching) it is easier. Does Management adjust the comp plan to incorporate the tools you gave them? Is the goal and the work and the path all clearly connected?

I have seen this in many formats Marcus. Whether ISO9000 certification, social media champion, cost reduction coordinator, where one person is designated the glue but not often the empowerment or the community comp plan aligned with their mission.

I really would love you to revisit them in 6 months and see how this went. It is more a case study in Management Techniques than anything else. And will either give great tools for success or great examples of what not to do.

Thank you for sharing!

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Marcus Sheridan September 27, 2011 at

Howie! No jokes my friend??? ;-)

You’re right. In many ways, it’s going to come down to management. Yes, the momentum has started, but as to whether or not it continues, time will tell. Does it concern me the fire may go out? Yes, of course it does. At the same rate though, I have a feeling this one will stick. It was a unique group of employees and management.

And yes, you’ll certainly get that follow up in 6 months. It will make for many, many lessons.

Thanks for showing your other side my friend. ;-)

Marcus

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Kaarina Dillabough September 27, 2011 at

Howie, this is such a great comment: I call it the “supply teacher syndrome”. You know…when the awesome supply teacher comes into class, does things a “different way”, gets everyone jazzed and razzed, and then the regular teacher returns to this pumped-up class, only to revert to same-old-same-old…balloon deflated, back to square one.

I agree: Marcus, it would be great to revisit in 6 months to see if the momentum’s been maintained, or if gravity takes over. Cheers! Kaarina

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Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at

The idea that a company reverts back to former self is always a possibility Kaarina, but there are a few things that have been put in place to make this happen. There is a content schedule, and ‘idea’ board, an inbound marketing newsletter that goes out to all employees, etc. So the awareness of the results of this work will always be at the forefront, and hopefully that will eventually turn into culture.

Thanks so much for dropping by Kaarina!!

Marcus

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Kaarina Dillabough September 29, 2011 at

Didn’t mean to imply that items weren’t put in place to avert the reversion, but “speed of the leader is speed of the game”, and since you’re not there to lead on a day-to-day basis, it will really depend on the company’s leadership to ensure that the systems/items you’ve put into place remain not just forefront, but acted upon.

I will be very interested to hear about the 6 month follow-up. If the seeds you’ve planted are well maintained and nurtured, then “hopefully that will eventually turn into culture.” Only time will tell. Cheers! Kaarina

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Adam Toporek September 26, 2011 at

Marcus, what a truly awesome note to receive after a presentation. I know you must be stoked. I watched your video from the Hubspot conference, btw, it was great. I’m sure you lit up the client’s room just like that.

“If any employee of a company has ever answered a customer question, then they’re qualified.” I really like that standard. While I think it certainly has to be adapted based on the company/industry, that touchpoint with the customer really is what connects the company to the right content for inbound.

Your other point is, of course, even more crucial: total buy-in. If the team does not believe in the results the content can produce for the company, they will certainly not produce quality content.

Great stuff! And great to see your message being received so well.

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Marcus Sheridan September 27, 2011 at

Hey Bud, thanks so much for your kind words here. You know, I get a lot of flack because I make content production out to be ‘easier than it really is’. But here is the thing– If we’re willing to pay employees to talk on phones and face to face with customers, how come we won’t grant those same persons the ability to write about what they do and know? It never has nor ever will make sense to me.

But at least there are folks like you out there Adam that truly ‘get’ this.

Hope your week is a great one my friend.

Marcus

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Ryan Biddulph September 26, 2011 at

Hi Marcus,

The beauty of your tips: so simple, yet infinitely powerful.

All need to be in. All need to know they have the tools be be a social media expert. Interacting with customers makes you a listener. Bingo! You can be a social media pro in a few simple steps, because once you listen, you have taken the most crucial step in adopting the mind of a SM maven. Now, everybody buying in helps SM to permeate the culture.

Thanks!

Ryan

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Marcus Sheridan September 27, 2011 at

Hey Ryan, great to hear from you man. I like how you talk about listening. Yes, in so many ways, that’s what it’s all about—Learning listen to, and think like, a customer. Once someone does that, they’re off to the races.

Have a great one my friend and thanks so much for taking a moment to stop by here,

Marcus

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Jacquelne monroe September 26, 2011 at

Marcus,
You are right, this is a great article. Having been a consultant and management consultant for over 20 years, I have to say you have a very good feel for the art of consulting. It takes a certain level of experience as well as type of person to Handle clients, implementation and change in their companies successfully. Great Job. Look forward to talking with you soon.

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Marcus Sheridan September 27, 2011 at

That’s very, very kind of you Jacquelne. :-) 20 years ehh? That’s a long time. I’m sure you could probably show me a thing or two with that much experience. ;-)

Thanks so much,

Marcus

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leon Noone September 27, 2011 at

G’Day Marcus,
About 25 years ago Dr Thomas Gilbert said that the biggest single reason that employees didn’t perform better was that they didn’t know what was expected of them. The Noone corollorary states that “but their managers think they do.”

Your work with Company X proves yet again that Tom was right. When are managers going to get the message? When they do, as you’ve shown again, the results are extraordinary.

Regards
Leon

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Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at

Exactly Leon. I think that’s really the biggest issue that folks don’t get. It’s not that 90% of employees out there are social media idiots, it’s just that they don’t understand their potential role in all of this. Once they get that, they’re off to the races, just as this company now is.

Thanks for the support mate!!

Marcus

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Robert September 27, 2011 at

Hey Marcus,

You’re BANG on the money here bud. It reminded me of the introduction in the NOW Revolution, where Jay and Amber are basically saying that Social Media needs to be part of the business culture, it’s not just an “add on” or sideline. It needs to form part of the business’s daily operations. This means that everyone HAS to get involved. Oh btw, did you see Gary Vee’s talk at the Inc 500|5000 Conference? It was amazing! I highly recommend watching it if you get a chance.

Glad EVERYONE in the company really took to the concepts, would loved to have been there myself. I’ve dipped my toe into Social Media consultancy, definitely something that I want to do in the future. You’re clearly someone who gets it, Social Media is about pull not push marketing.

Speak soon buddy. Great results as usual, but I’ve come to expect nothing less from you! ;)

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Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at

You’re one kind fella Robert, thanks man for what you’ve said here. :-)

But yes, ‘culture’ is the key to everything here. It’s an intricate part of the company, not, as you so well stated, an ‘add on’.

Thanks for your support Robert, have a tremendous rest of your week man.

Marcus

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Brandon September 27, 2011 at

Oh, absolutely you have to have buy in. More than that, though, you could have all the backing and support you need, but unless you empower your people, it will all be for naught. That is what you helped produce more than anything is empowerment. (Keep in mind, I haven’t heard you speak, so forgive me, maybe your eloquence played a big part too, lol!)

The key to being a great leader is being a great follower. Had the decision authority not listened, followed your advice, and taken some of your ideas and suggestions, he would never be able to get his people to follow him in the way ahead.

Great success story, Marcus!

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Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at

Yep, you got it Brandon. Without buy-in from the top dog, all this stuff is irrelevant. In fact, that was one of my requirements coming in to the event. I don’t compete with CEOs and bosses. And I can’t convince them either. For me, it’s about giving further vision to those folks who ‘get it’.

Thanks for dropping by brother, and stay safe.

Marcus

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Diana September 27, 2011 at

(tapping mike). . .testing 123…Marcus, you there?. . . hellew? . . .I feel like I’m commenting from the great beyond! Ciao!!! I am starting to step out of the B&B vortex that swallows me whole every year and spits me out in October. I have a ways to go, but I’m still stewing on comments you left directed to me here and on my blog and in emails 4 months back. I knew I’d have to wait to implement, because of the nature of my business. But I’m coming back to life now, that other life, the one after baking bread and laying out strips of prosciutto on top of melon.

And darn it, you have not missed a beat, have you? I really, really hope that this company fully grasps what you did for them. Because changing a paradigm (like the fact that the Marketing Director sets the tone and is responsible for the blog) takes time and pain. It means habit change. They would do well to keep you on retainer, to keep them pliable and soft and not go backwards. Since you are kind of a force of nature (a nice one), your type of positive electricity might be essential for long term change in that kind of organization.

I see how I can take away from this — I’m reminded of all the things that I do that interest people, and how I’m sitting on a wealth of potential to turn into, well, more. I know that. Thank you for reminding me, my friend. It’s nice to be back in the land of the inspired (while wiping the jam stain off of my apron)….

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Marcus Sheridan September 27, 2011 at

Diana, Diana, Diana…so very nice to see your wonderful smile come across the screen. I’ve actually thought about you a few times lately but I know you’ve been very busy being the best BB in all of Europe. :-)

Thanks so much for taking a moment to say ‘hi’ and I’m so glad you’re doing well.

Marcus

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Tom Ewer September 27, 2011 at

I think it’s tough Marcus. Getting everyone to buy into the vision can be tough (there will always be skeptics that can only be moved by the blinding enthusiasm and presence of Marcus Sheridan ;) ). If you can though, wow, it sounds like it can be a hell of a powerful force.

There is potentially a practical issue in bringing everyone into the social media party. What if their stuff just isn’t good enough to publish? But their colleague’s is? Could that sow dissent amongst the employees, if they are buying into the process, but are getting rebuffed? What do you think?

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Marcus Sheridan September 27, 2011 at

All legitimate questions Tom. And the biggest answer I can give to you is that there is always a CCO (chief content officer) that is the ultimate filter. And part of the CCO’s job is to help with just that– assisting those that may struggle in certain areas to leverage their strength in others. For example, there’s no reason a person that struggles with writing can’t be great at video..or visa versa. I believe everyone has untapped talent, and although it might take time, if the vision is ‘all in’ , then miracles can happen.

Thanks so much for dropping by brother and asking this excellent question.

Marcus

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John Sherry September 27, 2011 at

Way to go you old Lion you! Good job. I think some comapnies can have full and total buy in but it might be kinda hard for those with a few thousand employees unless they brought back the good old ‘Suggestion Box’ except this time the suggestion has to be a blog post or social media campaign which those with the best ideas get to oversee. It has to be shop floor up from the guys and galls at grass roots level. Engaging them is like an intravenous drip for an ailing patient. They will rally the troops and boost morale and get their fellow friends etc to join in when it’s social media led. Marketing from the floor is the key to any sensible company. Like your work Marcus…and your style!!

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Marcus Sheridan September 27, 2011 at

You just gave me an idea for a new phrase John– “Ground Floor Marketing”. Hmmm, now I’m liking that man!!!

John Sherry, always inspiring, that’s what you do my friend. :-)

Marcus

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Erin Feldman September 28, 2011 at

I am in complete agreement with you about social media having to permeate the entire company. It’s similar to information security practices. Those have to be implemented from the top down, or they don’t do any good. Everyone has to be doing their part in order to achieve success, no matter how minuscule or grandiose that part is.

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Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at

Love that word Erin– ‘Permeate’. Yeah, that’s awesome, and certainly the goal. Does it require a bit of effort? Yeah, sure it does, but boy is it worth it when the magic commences. ;-)

Great seeing you Erin, as always!

Marcus

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Stuart September 28, 2011 at

I’m always impressed by your capacity to fly all over the country Marcus, especially on little sleep and time, and still get some remarkable events happening within the company. You da man!

Regarding involving everyone, I definitely agree. This was actually something that I wanted to see at my last company, getting everybody together and asking for ideas. Sure, they had ‘manager’s meetings’, but from what I could tell, it consisted entirely of the superiors going “blah blah” about the glorious changes of the company, then asking for any questions at the end. Problem is, by the end of the day, everyone was too tired to think of questions, and the meeting ended with only the superiors meaningfully contributing to the process. Which may have been their intention all along.

God, I’m glad to have left that place ;-)

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Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at

I tell ya Stu, when you do what I do, and see people’s lives literally changed because of the stuff I teach, that travel and sleep thing ain’t too bad. In fact, it’s awesome man, and the way I see it, I’m just getting this party started. ;-)

Great example too of your previous company. Sadly, that’s more the norm than the exception. Oh well, I guess people like you and I will just have to change that. ;-)

Best,

Marcus

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Jk Allen September 28, 2011 at

Hey Marcus,

I absolutely love this post. And more than anytime in the past, I’m sure you now know how much !!! These stories are flat out inspiring to me. Not only for the company’s sake, but for yours–being able to play such a vital role and potential to affect so many people’s lives in terms of making their career a better one by helping position the company they work for into a better situation.

I currently work for a company that moves large organizations from Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Notes and Groupwise communication platforms to the Google Cloud (Google Apps). Prior to a full deployment (of change) we test a sub set of the employee population in a pilot phase. This is not only a ploy to test Google Apps for Business, but also to get employee buy in. It’s important. It’s a big investment (time mostly), but it means everything.

So, I see it like this: a small organization is better aligned to gain complete employee buy in. A larger company is not – but can get the buy-in from a sub group. Either way, buy-in is important because if it’s not embraced, it may not reach the level of effectiveness as desired.

Good stuff Marcus. As always, this stuff is inspiring to read.

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Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at

Hey buddy, you just have a way of making me smile withe every awesome comment you leave here my man.

Love your example of buy-in, especially in terms of big business and sub groups. I know this is right up your alley and I’m sure you could teach me a thing or two regarding the concept itself.

Thanks for all brother,

Marcus

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Walter Pollard September 28, 2011 at

Fantastic Marcus! What an inspiring story. Both for you and the company.

Buy in is a necessity to permeate change from the top – down. I’m in total agreement with you that everyone within the organization must be involved to facilitate a successful inbound marketing strategy. The key ingredient is long term change; employees consistently must feel empowered and highly motivated to drive success. Also, company wide incentives are extremely important for sustainability.

Another great post my friend. Going up on the HUG DC site.

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Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at

Hey buddy, that’s very kind of you.

There really is magic behind the phrase ‘empowerment’. When an employee sees that something they do, like an article or video, could literally bless the company and its employees for years to come…well that’s powerful.

Keep up the great work on your end bud. Talk soon.

Marcus

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Ana @ Free SEO Report September 29, 2011 at

Companies should definitely get the buy-in of their employees. Although some people may not be too good at social media itself, they may have good ideas that should be considered. These ideas should then be implemented by the social media expert.

This is a great post, by the way!

Keep well, Marcus.

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Marcus Sheridan October 3, 2011 at

Thanks Ana!!

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Bryan Thompson September 30, 2011 at

What an awesome story! And what a cool letter to get back, to know you had something to do with changing the way a company does business. I understand the ways in which we get it wrong so much of the time. The truth is that a great deal of the time, I have done business (graphic design, copywriting, even speaking and performing) and used social media as a way to just market what’s already there. Content marketing and social media often are a means to an end instead of the foundation of the rest of what we do. Like Seth Godin says, it’s learning how to create products and services with marketing in mind from beginning to end. We create our brand with thoughts on how the product itself lends itself to marketing in every way.

Great post!

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Marcus Sheridan October 3, 2011 at

We create our brand with thoughts on how the product itself lends itself to marketing in every way.

Exactly Bryan, that’s just it, a matter of having a clear content vision and bringing it all back to marketing.

Appreciate your support my friend.

Best,

Marcus

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mark Peditto October 28, 2011 at

@artisticpools hey Marcus great job. I sat through one of these conferences with you a year ago and know your capabilities. I find myself to be a very driven person with great marketing abilities. But you my friend have that extra gear that really motivates people with hard facts. The thought of having my workers actually write a blog makes me cringe. I guess it all depends on what field of people you are working with. I would definitely get the blog topic from them and write it myself. That’s me and my situation. Now on a bigger scale with more intelligence, that’s genius. They will have a thousand blog posts by the new years lol. Keep up the great work. Remember your the sales rep for the mapping program and instant contract program. I have one more venture that’s launching Jan 1 2012. This is huge. We will talk.

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Jen Allen January 20, 2012 at

I would LOVE to have this experience. Sadly, I’m still working on the rest of my company. It’s a little odd that I met you because my boss sent me to your seminar….but isn’t really interested in the whole idea. I’ve been writing and blogging and working on SEO and content a LOT, though, and I am seeing results. Hopefully the results will help convince the rest of our small company that we could be a very powerful force together. I’m seeing the page views on our website go up. I’m seeing a rise in our Alexa ranking, though I’m not entirely certain what that is….I’ll take it as a good thing. I’m not getting conversation yet, but I think it’ll come. Since I’m in Iowa, it’s an odd time of year to get a bunch of attention at a Pool & Spa store. I can wait. We are getting more people into the store because of the website, though, and that feels good.

Thanks!

Jen Allen

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