— January 24, 2018
At this point, almost every business understands the value social media brings to their business. Whether it is brand visibility, web traffic, or lead generation, social is typically a main strategy that is included in marketing and sales.
With the growth and importance of social media over the years, another important strategy that complements marketing is employee advocacy. The concept is simply getting employees of any department to advocate and share the brand messages to their social networks.
Getting more than your marketing or sales departments active on social leads to exponential brand growth and a way to tap into new markets or more prospects at a quicker more effective rate.
A Nielsen study showed that 84% of people trust recommendations from friends, family, colleagues over other forms of marketing. Just one stat that shows why getting employees involved in sharing content and your brand online makes sense.
Yet, even if your company makes it easier for employees to get involved and share with employee advocacy software, many still feel intimidated or not comfortable with getting involved.
It can be a natural feeling and totally understandable. In order to prepare employees better for social media marketing, you’ll need to follow a few of the tips below.
Don’t block social media from employees
Although a pretty obvious point, surprisingly there are still a lot of companies that block access to social media sites (besides those working in marketing) for fear of distractions or lack of productivity.
Certainly, social media can be a time suck or time waster. But if your goal or interest in getting your brand messages to further audiences, blocking is absolutely not a good option.
As a manager or executive, it’s easy to get concerned that employees will just ignore their work and get lost in their social media accounts.
However, according to a survey by Microsoft, 46 percent of workers say their productivity has improved because of social media and social tools. Additionally, 37 percent wish their organization’s management would embrace social media tools in the workplace in order to increase productivity.
Research by the University of California, Irvine team mentioned in this Forbes article found occasionally visiting social media sites can work as a mood booster and can give your workforce a “mental palate cleanser.”
Have a simple and accessible social media policy
Of course, there could be some employees that stray and spend maybe a bit too much time on social media while at work. However, to defer that, it’s important a clear and easily accessible social media policy is in place.
Employees and new hires should have a clear indication of what is allowed and that it is encouraged. It should be simple in language and be extremely easy to access at any time.
Another reason employees may be hesitant is that they are potentially afraid of any repercussions of sharing or stepping over anyone’s toes by what they share on social. A policy will make it clear and should help put employees at ease with what they can or can’t share.
But also as a company who is looking to get employees involved, you want to make social sharing fun and interesting. Your workforce is already busy with their daily tasks, if you add a ton of rules and regulations to your company policy, it will sound like a chore and be discouraging to employees.
Share how employees benefit from getting social
Obviously, getting employees active on social and sharing your content or industry material is beneficial to the company. Especially, if your company has a few hundred employees, you are quickly gaining a team of marketers, sellers, and recruiters without them actually feeling that way.
Your company should be clear to why this is an initiative they are investing in and how it can affect leads, sales, traffic, recruiting, etc.
But this should not be a one-way street and it should be clear this is mutually beneficial for the company and their employees. For employees, getting active helps them build their networks, expand their reach, helps boost their career and industry knowledge, and let’s them be seen as thought leaders or influencers.
Granted, not every employee will not want to be seen as a thought leader and that’s perfectly fine. This is not something employees should feel forced to do, but instead at least be clear to how it can benefit them in the long run if they choose to participate.
This is how Dell got over 10,000 employees active in their social campaigns and advocating on their behalf.
Offer continued training sessions
Since the benefits of employees being active on social media matter, it’s important your company invests in training sessions for employees and new hires.
This can be as frequent as need and allows employees to attend when they can. Maybe once a month, once a quarter, etc. It really comes down to how many employees and how often your social campaign goals change. But this is a great way to go over goals, social policies, best practices, how it benefits everyone, and allows employees to ask specific questions.
However, it should be a recurring session as employees may not join some of the first ones until they see their colleagues getting more involved.
But, the social media space is also constantly shifting and changing, so having these sessions will make sure your employees are prepared and consistently informed. Even if nothing drastic has changed, having refreshers is always good to help revitalize your team.
If you have not considered a strategy that includes getting employees active in social media marketing, this is the year to do so. Especially with Facebook changing the newsfeed to be more focused and prioritizing individuals over brands for example. Getting employees social sharing and advocating matters.
Yet, you also cannot rush this process, no matter how excited or how much you see the value in doing so. You have to realize that not all employees are comfortable engaging on social media, so you want to ease into this initiative.
By following some of the above tips, you’ll get more employees interested in becoming social media advocates for your company. And, your company will also quickly reap the benefits and have a far greater marketing reach that possible before.
Looking for more about employee advocacy and turning your company workforce into a social media powerhouse? Get your complete guide.