— February 22, 2018
Like most companies, you’re probably trying to spread the word about your brand and engage new audiences through social media but are struggling to find new followers, actively engage your existing followers, or gain greater value from using social media.
Have you or your company considered harnessing the power of your company’ greatest resource—employees—to accelerate your social media strategy? By empowering employees’ to utilize their expertise and their social media networks, it reinforces your company brand with much better results than corporate self-promotion.
After all, who knows your company brand better than employees? If you’re like most companies, your employees are already adept at using social media and they’ve built up a long list of followers who will share, like, and comment on their tweets, posts, and status updates.
By harnessing the power of employees’ social media networks, you’ll promote your brand while helping your employees build their own personal brand and become organizational thought leaders who will drive your brand strategy from the bottom up.
Although it may sound risky to allow your employees to talk about your brand on social media, if you provide training, ongoing support, and top-notch technology resources, you can ensure your employees are talking about your brand in the most positive, organic way possible. Employees can help drive brand awareness, improve brand image, build a loyal audience, and generate new sales leads.
Yet, you also do not want to force employees to get involved and you want to make sure you make employees feel comfortable engaging in social media marketing on behalf of the company.
Employee participation in social media, also known as employee advocacy, offers a powerful opportunity for businesses and their employees. Businesses are able to exponentially expand the reach of their social media initiatives by working with employees who are already your greatest brand champions.
In return, employees are able to position themselves as thought leaders by staying on top of what’s new in their industry and amplifying their personal voice on important issues and industry-related news.
Pushing out information about your company, your products, and your latest blog post through the company Facebook page and LinkedIn and Twitter accounts is not enough to build a loyal following and a brand that will get noticed by customers.
It takes an army of voices to show the value your organization offers, and to build the type of trust and recognition that online consumers expect nowadays. Because more and more people are looking to their social media networks for advice before purchasing a product or service, customers and potential customers want real, meaningful interactions with empowered employees and subject matter experts.
Consumers aren’t interested in getting content or recommendations from a company trained bot; they want to interact with real people with real opinions and thoughts.
So, how do you get your brand in front of customers?
As mentioned above, your company should enlist the help of employees! They are, after all, the most valued brand ambassadors. Your company can build a team of advocates directly from your employee base by allowing employees to leverage their own social media channels.
As a result, your organizational reach and influence is expanded, your employees are transformed into industry thought leaders, and ultimately your brand is defined in an organic way.
In addition to getting your brand in front of customers, employee advocates also help to drive revenue, increase social engagement, drive website traffic, increase brand awareness, and attract top talent to your company.
Imagine your employees being empowered to lead social media conversations about your company and products from their desktops and mobile phones whenever they have a spare moment at work—during lunch, between meetings, and whenever they need a break.
It’s a fun and easy responsibility to add to their to-do list that helps them feel like an integral part of the company and its brand. Your employees will truly feel like they’re playing a key role in a strategic business endeavor while enjoying a favorite pastime—engaging with social media while at work. Suddenly spending time on Facebook and Twitter is no longer a no-no, but a must-do for employees.
Many companies that are interested in getting employees involved have some internal newsletter of the latest content, have social media training sessions, and should have social media policies in place, etc. Yet, a lot of times that is just not enough or an effective process.
Instead, many companies that do harness employees for social media marketing and value how important the digital space is to have an employee advocacy program in place.
These platforms help promote brand harmony by uniting separate teams and getting them on the same page when delivering social media messages. Your leadership team can manage your employees by assigning them to groups, receiving information about their social media activities and, if you choose, putting permissions in place so that all content is approved by you or a member of the leadership team before it’s announced to the world.
The leading platforms in the space can include any third-party content, field marketing materials, have social listening features, gamification, and more to ensure employees are consistently staying engaged.
Why Employees as thought leaders matters
When employees become thought leaders, they learn to write authoritatively about their industry and develop a loyal, unique social media following in the process. Thought leaders research what other thought leaders in your industry are writing about, and then build their own niche by trying to fill the holes and deficiencies in the industry.
As employees read what others are saying about your industry, they’ll think of new ways to communicate your company’s message better and differently, and that will set them apart.
Meanwhile, your company will establish that it has hired intelligent professionals and experts. Thought leadership done well is one of the best business development strategies for professionals and their organizations. Especially with the boom of social media platforms, we see more and more employees developing their networks and becoming the go-to resources in their space.
Consider this: Every brand finds itself the target of unfair, incomplete, irresponsible, and skewed criticisms on social media at some point.
When this happens, thanks to your employee advocates, your company will be ready to respond with an army of authentic voices that can help shape and reshape the social media chatter about your product or brand, protecting and defending your brand over the long term.
In addition to the curated content you select to send to your employees based on their roles within the company, your employees can also choose to receive news on topics that personally interest them such as surfing, rock climbing, or mountain biking, allowing employees to also share content that’s personally important to them, helping to increase the number of social media followers in their network.
You may wonder how sharing personal mix of things is beneficial, but remember employees don’t want to sound like a giant sales agenda nor do their followers want to constantly be blasted with company spam. Creating a mix of content builds a trust and personal interest, which gives employees followers more of a reason to engage with their social shares.
Want to maximize social media reach via your company workforce to grow your marketing and sales results? Learn how Dell got 10,000+ employees engaging in social media consistently.