As a stakeholder or leader in your company’s brand, you’ve likely experienced some level of stress about handing off part of your brand management to your employees.
It’s easy to see why giving employees access to your brand on social would be scary – you never know what they might post – but the real question is, does it need to be?
To put it bluntly, the answer to this question should be no.
But that no comes with a caveat—to reduce your stress level about giving employees “free rein” to promote your brand on social, you’ll first need to give them the proper resources and guidelines so that both you and they feel comfortable.
Why Should Encourage Employees on Social Media?
First, let’s talk about why you’d want to open up your social presence to employees in the first place. Without opening up your brand’s promotion to a wide cross-section of employees, you’re likely going to have a relatively generic social presence.
While your marketing team probably lives and breathes social, constantly thinking of new ways to spread brand awareness and company thought leadership (meaning they might even be a little burnt out when it comes to social…), the rest of your employees may view social media as a fun, exciting new part of their job.
This could have different meaning for different departments. For a sales team, this might mean a new way to engage with prospects through social selling. For a development team, this might mean being able to engage with real world users for feedback.
But for all employees, it means a way to connect more deeply with the brand and showcase their professional knowledge to their networks.
Did you know? 98% of employees use at least one social media site for personal use, of which 50% are already posting about their company. (Weber Shandwick)
As you’re letting your employees enjoy a great new aspect to their jobs, you’ll also be building a great corporate brand reputation. Posts by everyday employees are far more effective in promoting your brand than any company social media post.
When employees read and share company content, they’ll each be able to put their own personal spin on it, all while reaching hundreds or thousands of people your company page might never have touched.
Encouraging employees all across the company to engage on social media can also help put current and prospective customers in touch with industry experts. Instead of posting to some faceless company pages and hoping for an answer, your customers will be able to interact with real people who’ll be able to offer real insights and represent the brand.
Recruiting and Employer Brand
Most large and enterprise organizations work hard to build a work culture that attracts top talent and creates an engaging employer brand. While your company page can do a great job showing that off, employees are more trusted as the source of truth.
Letting employees share to social media about their work, will have a major impact on social recruiting and help making hiring a breeze.
According to CareerArc, Job seekers rank current employees as the most trusted source for information about a company.
Marketing and Sales
One of the biggest impact employees sharing and engaging on social, will be on marketing and sales.
Your team will be boosting brand reach, driving more website clicks, generating social engagement, increasing leads and quality of the leads.
It also helps your sales team fill the pipeline, close more deals, and boost win rates as prospects become even more familiar with your product or services. Plus, if you use an employee advocacy program, the content organization greatly improves your company’s sales enablement strategy.
67% of consumers surveyed say they are likely to purchase an item or service they see on their social feeds. (B2C)
Social Guidelines for Employees
Now that you can see the benefits of encouraging employee social sharing, you should take some time to develop guidelines before you dive in head first. The “right” guidelines for social media will depend on your company’s structure and culture.
With a smaller company, one where each employee has likely been deeply vetted to make sure they embody the company mission, you may not need formal social guidelines—you may be able to cover expectations in a few company “lunch and learn”- style sessions.
For a larger company, where a cultural shift may need to take place, a written social policy or handbook would be necessary. But either way, the policy should be accessible, easy to understand, and encourage training sessions for employees to attend and learn.
No matter the forum, these guidelines should include the rules of the road, sample posts for different social forums to understand the nuances, an understanding of the brand voice, as well as potentially basic instructions for how and when to post as well as which type of content is appropriate for which forum.
Your social presence should be unique to your company, and your employees are a huge part of that.
Having employees engage with and represent your brand on social can be scary, but it can also be incredibly successful, adding dimension and color to your social presence that’s impossible to achieve otherwise.
Above all, remember that just by hiring these employees, you’ve put your faith in them to represent your brand—and going social is just the modern version of that.