Page 10 - Engage -- Fall 2018 -- no.14
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Fall 2018
   Who I Listen To
When it comes to staying on top of what’s trending in the world of marketing, Carmen Shirkey Collins has several favorites. Here are a few she makes sure to pay attention to.
                             Scott Stratten is one of my favorite speakers. He presents things in “real language,” and his books, like QR Codes Kill Kittens, make the content relatable.
The Social Pros Podcast from Jay Baer at Convince & Convert is one I’m a big fan of. I just appeared on the podcast for the second time, and only a handful of people have repeated as guests. Know- ing the quality of guests he has on the show, that’s like winning a Grammy or something to me. Plus, Jay’s books are fabulous as well.
Diversity in marketing voices is important. I am really trying to get people to open their minds about who they consider “big names” as speakers. You don’t have to have five books to have something to say. I just wrote an article about something new I’m doing around a #SpeakHERS movement. In general, women don’t love self-promotion, so
I like to hear what they have to say. People such as Likeable CEO Carrie Kerpen, MGM’s Beverly Jackson, the Weather Channel’s Jennifer Watson, and Microsoft’s Karianne Stinson are valuable sources of information.
          every blog post is bylined by employees. The Talent Brand team has a knack for finding different ways for employees to tell their stories—not just publishing them on a blog but also helping them create Instagram Stories, allowing them to “take over” the Facebook account to do a Facebook Live, and more.
Using employees who are not trained marketers to promote the brand takes a certain level of trust. While Collins admits it may
sound terrifying to hand the reins of your social media platforms over to engineers and other professionals who are not generally marketers, at Cisco, that is exactly the point.
“We don’t want them to read from a script and be marketing people,” she explains. “We want them to walk us around the office during the day and tell us why they love where they work.”
“When employees do things like take over our Facebook Live, they always ask us if they
did a good job,” Collins says. “Then we share metrics with them, so they become invested in representing the company in this way because we put this trust in them.”
To help ensure success, Cisco put some
“We go where the talent goes; we pay attention to our demographics and audience profiles,” Collins says. “For now, this group of people is moving to Instagram Stories, so we’ll focus content there for them.”
structure in place. The company has a social media policy that all employee ambassadors sign once a year. The Talent Brand team also has the “Would You Show It to Your Mama?” rule to help employees understand how to be good brand stewards. The idea is to plan for the 99 percent of the time when things go right and be prepared for the 1 percent of the time when things do not. “We have been lucky to not have to implement that crisis plan,” Collins reports.
One of the perks of using social media to speak with potential new hires is the ability to place employees’ stories on the social platforms that your targeted talent pool is using. For
Cisco, there was a time recently when reaching a younger audience meant talking to them on Snapchat. The Talent Brand team launched a Snapchat channel to reach university and early- in-career talent. The channel was built around an employee takeover every day for a raw, real look at life at Cisco, and the company’s ambassadors earned several awards for the program. Now Cisco is closing down its Snapchat efforts. Why stop an award-winning program?
“We go where the talent goes; we pay attention to our demographics and audience profiles,” Collins says. “For now, this group of people is moving to Instagram Stories, so we’ll focus content there for them.”
The same rule applies to Cisco’s global talent search efforts. For example, Facebook might be where the company tells its stories in some regions, while LinkedIn might be the best option elsewhere.
“We’re even looking at how to make WhatsApp a viable talent brand channel,” Collins explains. “It’s all about setting clear goals, knowing our audience, and presenting content the way they want to consume it.”
How to Do It
Developing the correct tone of voice has
done wonders for boosting the social media engagement for Cisco. Front and center on Collins’s LinkedIn profile is a line about how she writes content for social media channels using
a “coworker” point of view. She says that the brands with the best social media—MGM, Oreo, and Dunkin’ Donuts, ranking at or near the top of her list—have one thing in common: they talk with you, not at you.
“People want to connect. They want an emotional tie,” she says. “I like to say it’s more heart than art.”
When Cisco began talking like employees in order to attract employees, they were better able to meet their mission of personal connections with talent. Collins is a firm believer that brands

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