Social media is a tremendous resource for companies to develop brand awareness, promote products and events, provide customer service and technical support, and to recruit top talent within a specific industry. In a recent industry report on how employers are using social media to grow their business, 90% of those surveyed reported that their social media efforts generated more exposure for their business. Increasing traffic to their websites was the second major benefit, with 77% reporting positive results. More than half of the businesses that have been committed to using social media for at least two years indicated a direct improvement in sales.
Regardless of the data, however, the thought of allowing employees to become brand advocates on social media still makes some employers squeamish, a feeling similar to handing over a set of car keys to a new driver.
Rather than sending employees out for a joyride with your brand, educate them with some basic guidelines, expectations, and potential rewards for driving positive social media interactions.
Here are some initial steps to consider.
1. Define what social advocacy looks like for your company
Our first recommendation is to establish a clear sense of your company’s social media strategy. From there, focus on communicating basic social media guidelines and best practices with employees using examples that are specific to your business and industry. Your employees should be able to walk away from the discussion with clear overarching goals and underlying principles in mind.
2. Help your employees set up social media accounts
To expand your company’s potential online reach, provide base-level information for setting up accounts on various platforms to all willing, right-fit employees. This is also a good opportunity to leverage social media experts within your organization as available resources for those just getting started.
For extra help, consider bringing in an outside trainer to walk through best practices for setting up powerful profiles and optimizing keywords on different social media channels. Hiring a professional photographer to take headshots is another way to jumpstart your employees' profiles.
3. Train your employees to proactively represent the brand
It’s easy to be reactive within social media, which can often lead to poor decision making. Encourage your employees to be proactive brand ambassadors by fostering positive interactions rather than reacting to potentially negative situations. Based on your social media strategy, consider setting a few primary objectives for employees to promote:
- general awareness of your brand
- campaign-focused activities surrounding new products or upcoming events
- talent recruitment
- engagement with a targeted audience
4. Trust your employees
You’ve hired great people. Trust them to have good judgement while representing your business. Social media channels empower employees not only to advocate for their company, but also to expand their professional networks, become thought leaders in their fields, reach more prospects, and close more deals.
Recognizing that your employees are the people behind your brand can pay dividends online in terms of reach and engagement. Armed with a social media strategy and implementation plan, you can avoid the uncertainty associated with turning employees into online brand ambassadors.
To get started, send your employees this free guide so they can learn how to be effective social media advocates.