Did you know your employees could be one of your most powerful tools in your arsenal for your social media marketing strategy? Including employees in your social media marketing comes at no expense to your company, but can yield significant results. Your employees have first-hand knowledge of your company that no one else has. They truly understand the quality of your products and/or services and are the ones working hard on a daily basis to keep your company running like a well-oiled machine. The credibility your employees can bring to your social media marketing is why you need to begin implementing employee advocacy now.
Still not convinced? Consider this: according to the MSLGROUP, your employees are connected to 10x more people than your brand, brand messages reached 561% further when shared by employees versus the same messages shared via official brand social channels, and brand messages are re-shared 24x more frequently when distributed by employees versus the brand. The potential to expand your company's following by simply involving your employees in your social media marketing is tremendous, so lets dive in and learn some strategies on how to get them included now!
Establish A Social Media Policy & Provide Consistent Training
Before you begin to involve your employees in your social media marketing, you need to first have a social media policy in place. What does this policy need to include? A basic description of each social media network your company has a presence on and how that network benefits your company, guidelines for how you expect your employees to act and represent themselves on each network, and best practices for how to respond in the event of breaking news or a crisis, so everyone is on the same page and not pushing out different messages. A clear and direct social media policy will not only protect your company, but it will protect your employees and remove any gray areas that may exist.
You should also make room in your budget for formal social media training each year. It is very possible not all of your employees will be familiar with the social media networks you have a presence on, and if they are going to be included in your marketing, they need to know the inner workings of that network. And of course each network is constantly releasing updates to the platform, so providing company wide educational training will ensure all of your employees are always up to speed on the latest changes and can utilize them to best represent your brand. Your training program should cover best practices for each network, tips and tricks for optimizing their personal pages, marketing tips, things of that nature.
Create Quality Content & Encourage Sharing
Your employees will be hesitant to share any content on their personal social media profiles if they do not deem that content to be quality. After all, this is content they are pushing out to their friends and family, so they need to be confident in the credibility and authority of the content, and most importantly, your employees need to believe in the content itself. So the first step in convincing your employees to share content is to ensure you are only posting quality content that pertains to your company, industry, and most importantly, your target audience. The goal here is to post content your target audience will find interesting, rather than content you find interesting. Whether that be company news. trending topics or latest news relevant to your industry (this helps establish your company as the go-to source for information related to your industry), how-to videos or tutorials, user-generated content, customer testimonials, etc.
You may also want to consider creating company-specific hashtags your employees can use when they are sharing content they create on their own. This encourages employees to get involved in the content creation process, as long as you have established rules in your social media policy on what is, and is not, considered to be acceptable content to post on social media. For example, Adobe has a hashtag #AdobeLife they encourage their employees to use in all of their posts on social media, which helps foster a strong bond between the employees and company and makes employees feel empowered that they are able to contribute to content creation, and also gives companies content they can then share onto their official social media channels.
Run Featured Posts On Your Employees
Feature your employees on social media as much as possible, just like Home Depot did in the below example. Whether you just hired an employee, an employee has gone above and beyond the call of duty, your company had a big event or picnic, take pictures and post them on social media, and whenever possible, tag your employees. This way they get notifications letting them know of the tag, which will then encourage them to share the post onto their social media profiles, thus including them in your marketing and extending the reach of your posts.
You will find you get a considerable amount of engagement on posts featuring your employees - customers love seeing what is going on beyond the scenes and who is involved with actually keeping the company running. And featuring specific employees on social media is great for morale, so it's a win-win situation all around, benefiting both your company and encouraging employees to step up to the plate and becoming social media advocates for your brand.
Encourage Employees To Remain Involved
Now that your employees are beginning to get involved with your social media marketing, you need to find ways to keep them encouraged in remaining involved long term. One way of accomplishing this is by sharing positive results with them. For example, you could track impressions, shares, comments, etc. on content that is either being shared by your employees, or content that is featuring your employees, and create some friendly competition amongst them to see who performs the best. The overall idea here is to show your employees they are making a positive impact on your social media marketing, so if you have a growth in followers, or a growth in leads generated from social media, those are metrics you will want to share with your team.
Another way to encourage your employees to remain involved with your social media marketing and to continue being brand advocates is by having an incentives program in place. Without an incentives program and/or demonstrating to your employees the positive impact they are making, involvement may taper off over time. You could offer cash rewards/bonuses, gifts, gift cards to local businesses or restaurants, time off, and/or coupons in exchange for their involvement, based off the impact they are making. For example, whoever had the most shares that month, or whoever's posts had the most engagement, whoever generated the most leads, and so on. This creates excitement amongst your employees, increases the level of friendly competition in your office, and creates a reason for long-term commitment to their involvement in your employee advocacy program.