Marcus Nelson is the founder of Addvocate, a service that enables and measures employee social sharing. Previously, he was director of social media at

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I invited Marcus to Marketing Smarts to talk about why employees are a brand's most effective advocates and how businesses can give employees the tools they need to share great content via social media.

Here are just a few highlights from our conversation:

Mobile technology is bringing us hyper-targeted advertising (13:40): "Do you remember, in that movie 'Minority Report,' people would walk into a store and it would scan your eyes and immediately show you an ad about you? We're not that far away from that. Instead of retinal scans, it's going to be Beacon, and its going to be attached to your phone, and your phone's in your pocket all the time. So, you're going to walk by stuff and you're going to be to be hit with a push notification, or an announcement, or something. That day's not too far away. I think with social media what we have the opportunity to do right now is [to] connect that kind of holy-grail social back to the customer."

Brands need to realize that social media builds valuable relationships (19:08): "I was at a conference and I got into a Q&A session, and...I started talking about why I started getting into social media, and what I was getting out of it. I had a design consultancy, and way back in the day, when I would go to look for gigs, I would go to Craigslist, and I'd reach out to people. I met other people on Craigslist, on different job boards, and eventually Twitter came out and I would find people through Twitter. I was sourcing all of my learning, and my knowledge, and my future customers through these different platforms. I realized that the gift that social gives us is the ability to connect to people, and to create these relationships that, even to today, I still meet people that I've been friends with on Twitter or... Flickr for years and I'm meeting them for the first time face to face because I came to their town, or we have this event ,or what have you... The core premise for why I wanted to do Addovcate in the first place was to validate my coworkers and attribute actions to them, because when I first got into social media and I was working for companies, I would tweet things on behalf of the brand...and nobody ever knew I did anything."

People love your brand because of your employees (21:30): "I know that there are people out there that are like...'I'm doing this and nobody recognizes me.' And it's not about social media, it's about anything. It's about talking to a customer, it's about sending an email, or replying to a customer. All these transactions that are happening, these people are the face of your brand. They are what make people love you as a brand, but it's not because of a logo. It's because there was a face or a voice at the end of a phone line, or a face on an avatar, or you walked into a store and there was somebody to help you. That connection—that human connection—is what makes your brand great."

For more information, visit or follow Marcus on Twitter: @MarcusNelson.

Marcus and I talked about much more, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!

This episode brought to you by the MarketingProfs Professional Development Program.

Music credit: Noam Weinstein.

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