Have you recently come ’round to the idea that social media needs to be an integral part of your business strategy? Social is great for creating consistent, genuine interest in your brand…and your business. It can also drive leads for your business. But more and more, it’s clear that a key step is operational development: instituting processes to engage employees in social media.
It takes a village to brainstorm, research, create, design and publish website and social media content. In the real world of business operations, this is rarely achieved, especially when there’s been no training or project management tools utilized. Each employee knows their defined responsibilities and introducing another duty generally falls on deaf ears.
Change your frequency to engage employees in social media.
Now, the question is, how do you approach this? What foundational moves can you make to ensure you have the best chance for success?
As you may know, 10% of Kruse Control’s profits go to animal welfare. There’s a saying I regularly use this when I’m advocating for America’s equines:”None of us is stronger than all of us.” This concept motivates people to take action and call their legislators to urge them to co-sponsor the bill that will save thousands of horses’ lives every year (it’s called the Safeguard American Food Exports Act – SAFE Act).
“None of us is stronger than all of us.”
This credo is also very useful when creating a process to engage employees in social media. Employee engagement strengthens your brand. Your team can produce more working together than each individual player can on their own.
Leverage the power in employee engagement!
Employees are perceived as “People like me” by your customers. Each employee has their own unique expertise and they often bring great ideas to the content creation table. This is golden for social media. The content is richer, more well-rounded and generally met with much more engagement.
Why? Because employees know your customers. They’re on the front lines with them every single day and they speak their language.
7 Smart Steps to Engage Employees in Social Media
To unlock the potential you have in your employees, here are seven specific, organizational components that should be embedded in your process.
1. Provide Education & Training
Social media, SEO, content marketing and online reputation management are the cornerstones to new media marketing. Just because someone has a Facebook personal profile, has a modest following on Instagram or dabbles in the social space, that doesn’t make them a good marketer.
There’s such an opportunity, especially for salespeople, to attract and engage customers online but so few companies choose to take advantage of it, many because they’re afraid of what their employees would do or say.
To win this game, train employees to use proven social media strategies. Educating them will open their eyes to new possibilities. Training them will increase their willingness to participate.
Companies too often promote or hire based on a limited knowledge of how modern marketing works. The fact is, many companies fail to meet their goals because no one is really sure what success looks like.
Make room in your marketing budget for social media and/or social sales training. It’s cost effective and much less frustrating than wading through the murky river waiting for the fish to bite.
2. Provide Access to Social Media
Believe it or not, I just met someone the other day who told me their company blocks the Internet at work. The reason was that they didn’t want everyone playing Fantasy Football during downtimes. If this approach seems reasonable to you, please stop reading here. I will only waste your time going forward.
Are you still with me? Good!
Pragmatically speaking, your employees are already on social media at work. If you block these sites, you’re only cutting off a very lucrative source of connection to your customer. Blocking social media sites is the same as shutting off your phones or barring email communication.
Employees have smartphones and laptops at work so embrace that fact and leverage it. Listen to them. Let them bring you their ideas on how to engage more customers.
3. Establish a Social Media Policy
The line between companies and their employees on social media is steadily blurring. Organizations today need a social media policy that at once helps keep the company’s reputation intact while also encourages employee participation online.
Social media is a valuable communication channel, but it doesn’t change the basic rules of honesty, courtesy and respect that your company promotes and each employee represents in their day-to-day work lives.
While we recognize the importance of engaging in online conversations, we also recognize the need to provide a clear and purposeful Social Media Policy for all your staff to follow. It helps protect both the staff and the business.
Basic components of a Social Media Policy:
- Outline descriptions of the social networks and demonstrate how they benefit the company.
- Provide acceptable employee uses of social media and guidelines for social media use.
- Include protocol for when there’s a crisis and how to manage it.
4. Give Employees a Reason to Engage
Many social media marketing or advertising campaigns are more successful with grassroots employee buy-in.
Establish WIIFM (what’s in it for me) with your staff. Show them HOW they benefit from engaging and participating in social media.
Some employees will be active on Facebook, others on Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn, and some will hardly know what social media is. Adjust your expectations for specific employees and know that every single person has a contribution to make.
Motivate, recognize, and reward. You’re building a team of “brand advocates” who will up your social media game.
5. Weave Social Media and Content Participation into Job Descriptions and Pay Plans
Content creation and participation should (for the most part) be mandatory. Before you cry foul, consider this: you require employees to show up on time, right? You require them to perform their job duties, so why wouldn’t you gently fold in social media and content participation as part of their duties…and compensate them for it? Done right, it’s worth the effort you put in.
6. Make Content Submission Easy
With any employee initiative that involves change and growth, you need a super-simple process to avoid issues that arise. These tools will help bridge the gap between content creation and submission:
- Dropbox is always a good option for small business. Share a folder with employees and everyone can upload their content.
- Shared Google Docs are also a good free option, depending on the technological aptitude of your team.
- Slack is an awesome tool for project management and communication.
- For enterprise: DynamicSignal, SocialChorus and PostBeyond. These options work well for bigger companies or for companies that have several locations.
7. Track, Analyze, Show Evidence and Reinforce Value
You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Employees need to see the fruits of their labor (and so do you!).
- Check in with results during sales meetings.
- Review key metrics like Facebook engagement and new online reviews.
- Ask employees for suggestions on how to improve.
- Recognize leads that converted into sales.
- Review results of the sales follow-through.
Always consider your customer’s preference. Studies show that they’d much rather see “stories” about your employees than your ads. Make the stronger connection by leveraging the power of your team. It’s the key to unlocking social media success.
If you need advice on how to leverage your team’s value on social media, get in touch with me >>here<<.