One person singing in a crowd is rarely heard, but a choir will always turn heads. Social media is no different, which is why more brands are looking to their own employees to help drive brand advocacy. This involves employees furthering the goals of the brand through their own social media channels. While the main company account may handle the big notes and solos, an army of dedicated employees can lift the chorus above the noise. With a typical buyer having made 60% of their purchasing decision before even speaking to a sale rep, the more good impressions your brand is making online, the more you’ll influence those prospects before you even pick up the phone.
Some employees may be naturally enthusiastic for the cause, but how do you convince the ones who are more unsure? Here’s 8 tips to help get all employees socially singing the praises of the company.
You need to know how you define your success when you start, so ask yourself what do you want to achieve with your socially active employees? Do you want to drive clicks through to the website, generate more leads, or more social impressions? Perhaps you’d like to promote a particular offer? By making SMART targets, you can help people be focused on a core goal. You can even use tracked links that you share with employees to see how much traffic is created by your social advocacy efforts, and what social networks it’s working best on.
“Do as I say, not as I do” has rarely been an effective leadership maxim. If the C-suites of the business aren’t willing to advocate the brand on social media, why would people elsewhere in the company do it? 82% of buyers trust a company more when their CEO and senior leadership are active on social media, and 77% of people are more likely to buy from a brand if their values are defined by their CEO participating on Twitter. Getting senior figures involved in social media gets other employees thinking about their professional social presence, and it can also make a huge difference on how the brand is perceived.
When pitching to a potential customer, do you spend all your time telling them how much you would benefit from a sale, rather than explaining how what you’re selling will benefit them? Of course not, so don’t do it for your employees! By being an active professional on social media, employees are able to build their personal brand in their field. 94% of corporate recruiters look up prospective employees on social media, a good impression could be made if they see a respected professional who does a service to their brand, especially if it’s a brand with a leading social reputation. This benefits the employee by improving their status amongst their professional peers, and helps them by being directly associated with their company’s social (and business) success story. Your company also benefits from having socially respected employees as it demonstrates you have the best people in your field working for you.
If an employee is linking to you on their public profiles, they’re going to reflect on your company in some way. This doesn’t mean they have to shove every facet of personality and individuality down into a hole while they exude corporate values from every pore. But to make sure the company doesn’t come into disrepute, set reasonable boundaries if they want to have links between their work and social media profiles. IBM publish their guidelines online, it clearly covers sharing content, how to identify yourself as an employee, how to talk about the brand, and other areas that concern both the company and the employee. Ideally, you want to drive participation with these guidelines, rather than squash it, so highlight the things you’re allowed and encouraged to do.
If you want the world to view your workforce as a clued-up body, it helps if they have relevant content to post on their accounts about both the business and the industry. So share high-quality content with your social employees, and encourage them to do similar. You also need to convey key brand messages and company news to your employees to make sure everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet. Whatever your company’s message, employees posting it will amplify it far more than just the corporate profile alone. A shared corporate content creation space such as SocialChorus or Dynamic Signal can also be a great place to disseminate approved content internally for employees to share in a way that suits them and their role.
Including a social media handle or links to their account in the template of your company’s email signatures reminds people that their contacts at your company are on social media. This will encourage interactions and connections on those channels with potential clients, customers, and investors. Even if people do not wish to have their personal accounts connected with their professional life, including the company’s social media handles in the email signature will still help to drive people to those pages.
Look to hold workshops, webinars, or talks where you communicate best practice and your key guidelines about social media. These are also a great opportunity to tell people what your social team does and why, who is running it, how it has grown, and where to send ideas/feedback. You can then use this as an opportunity to answer any questions.
Take this opportunity to demonstrate how social media can also be used to help their department’s business objectives and make their jobs easier. To be really helpful, you could include examples, and remind people of where you post your updates or content sharing suggestions. Following on from this, you could set up talks pitched at different levels of social expertise, or even for separate areas within the business. For example, your sales team may have different social practices from your researchers or product developers.
Nobody wants to be bullied into posting about their work on social media, so don’t make it a mandatory task. If it feels like a chore, people will treat it like one. Instead point out the freedoms that your company allows people to have on social media and reinforce the benefits of participation. You can also provide incentives or rewards for employees who are the most active, effective, or helpful in the program. Alternatively, ask the early adopters to become internal promoters of being vocal about the company on social media, helping you to naturally spread the message rather than making it feel like it’s an order handed down.
How have you encouraged your workforce to get involved with socially advocating your company? Let us know in the comments box below.