So, January is coming to an end and most of the articles I’ve been reading recently have (as one would expect) revolved around wrap ups from 2016, learnings as well as what to look forward to, the trends & upcoming innovations. This read however, will explore a widely misunderstood and underused opportunity: the inclusion of employees in your social media strategy.
Companies out there still choose to exclude their employees from their social media strategies due to the potential risks. There are over 2 billion social media users globally and the online presence of your employees does not have to be fundamentally different with that of the other stakeholders. For example, the expectations with your customers can somewhat be broken down into the creation of a connection, communication, engagement and even the building of an experience, etc. Ultimately what you are hoping for is the generation of a lead coupled with a mention, a like, a share or a full-on discussion if you’re lucky!
Well, now here is the treat, your employees have online presences too! Not only can they share content from official pages, they can represent your brand using their private accounts. They can freely share brand related content, views, endorsements and authentic experiences with their families and friends. This in turn:
- Builds brand awareness
- Helps your brand reach more people
- Grows brand trust through conviction-driven posts as opposed to pre-planned marketer written posts
To make it work, as with all things, there are number of crucial steps that would need be carried out before attempting to get your employees on board.
- Guidelines – cover EVERYTHING and do whatever it takes to make it sound like it isn’t a dogmatic policy.
- Educate your workforce. Firstly, with your social media strategy so that they understand what your end goals are. And then there is the training of individual social platforms. Together, these two forms of learning will create a team of dreamy brand champions ready to take on roles as advocates. It is important to remember to make this as EASY as possible for your employees. For example, you could use applications like drop box/google docs to file share and provide the ability to access these across multiple devices.
- Motivate, recognize & reward. See what is working, then repeat. This will create a natural desire for your employees to engage with content, share it & get more employees on board.
There will always be the odd few who will think the whole idea is a waste of time and an addition to their never-ending workload. In-house competitions between employees, leader boards to see who has the most followers and even programs to accompany employees through their digital journeys, including top management can help.
It is safe to say that this year, employee involvement on social media will be more than that picture of the team at your Company away day. It’s time to exploit this opportunity, look good with the association between you and your advocates & if you have a team who truly believes in your brand, let them do the talking for you……