4 Tips for Developing Employee Advocacy in Your Business
Social media is often seen as something to be managed by the marketing team. They might set up a Facebook page or a Twitter profile and use it to promote the business. This can certainly help you generate some brand awareness online, but is this one-to-many approach effective? Why not have a many-to-many approach by harnessing the power of your employees, freelancers, and associates? Social media is all about community, so getting your employees to help spread the word can pay huge rewards. Here are 4 suggestions to help you get started:
Nobody knows your business better than the people working in it. Therefore, it is well worth getting everyone together on a regular basis to brainstorm some ideas. Just because you’ve employed someone to manage your social media doesn’t mean they don’t have great ideas for what your customers and potential customers would like to see from you online, but getting all your employees together in a group may stir up more ideas and inspiration, and may predict potential issues in the future.
Try to create an open, supportive space, where people know their ideas will not be shot down or laughed at. Encourage people to speak their minds without fear of retribution, and to share their ideas. When your employees feel their opinions and ideas are valued, this can really improve staff morale and can be a goldmine for your social media marketing. Not only will you have some great ideas, your employees are more likely support the project, either behind the scenes, or by posting about it via their own personal social media channels.
2) Posting about work
Some companies have a strict policy that says employees should never mention their jobs on social media. Of course, talking about customers in a negative way or complaining about a manager is never a good idea, but it can be beneficial to encourage them to post about the positive sides of their jobs. You can then share these posts on your business page, which provides you with extra content and social influence.
That said, it is important that anyone who is publicly an employee of your business has a reasonably professional-looking profile. You don’t want mentions of your brand to be interspersed with images of drunken nights out, or swear-laden political rants. Just take a look at these bad examples of employee social media. It’s definitely important for you to set guidelines and provide advice and training where required.
Don’t forget that if employees are promoting your business, they need to disclose that they are employees. This could be by using the hashtag #emp on Twitter for example.
3) Employee of the month
You can use your social media accounts to show off how great your staff are and to show them appreciation. An obvious idea for this is by doing a regular “employee of the month” feature, or you can get a little more creative! Photos of the office where you tag staff members are a great way to get more eyes on your posts, while also making your staff feel valued and noticed. You could introduce new team members, wish people a happy birthday, mention weddings and so on. All of this helps to make your staff feel valued and appreciated. This will then encourage them to post more positive things about their job. Showing that you value and appreciate your employees also shows your customers what sort of business you are. Many people prefer to deal with a company whose employees are happy in their work and it can help to show your company as being more human, rather than a faceless entity.
4) Ask them to share
Something as simple as asking your employees to share your content and products can really help. Obviously, you don’t want their personal pages to become a big advertisement for your brand, but encouraging them to share a post here and there can really help if everyone gets on board with it. If you sell a product your staff members can use, give them a free one to use on the understanding they will post a photo or two on their Facebook profile. You could also look at a “friends and family” offer, where your staff can provide their contacts with an offer code or another incentive to try your products. Sky, for example, has a great staff introduction plan which you can see here.
Employee Advocacy is Extremely Valuable
Speak to your team and explain honestly that you need their help. People love to feel needed, and getting your staff involved in your social media strategy by asking them to share one of your posts each week is a great way to help them feel included. If they share your posts and can see this translate to more calls, more leads, more sales, this will also be great for their personal development and they will see that they can make a difference.
Of course, any sharing needs to be natural and not out of context. For example, if your company unblocks drains, you wouldn’t have your 16-year-old Saturday employee post about how great your service is. However, you might ask them to post about it if they’ve received a call from a happy customer, or if you have a special offer. It’s about encouraging your team to take pride in their work and to share that pride with their followers. Some businesses will even go as far as to create suggested content for their employees to use, which they can copy directly to their social media channels, editing it slightly so that it is personal to them.
Whatever the size of your business, whether you have several different departments or just four of you sharing an office space, you are missing valuable opportunities if you do not encourage everyone to get involved with social media. Of course, you do need to have a social media policy in place, which details what people should and should not say about your company. But once this is written and signed by employees, it can pay dividends to encourage your staff to join in with social media.
It might feel daunting to encourage your staff to get involved in the social media for your business, but done right, it can produce massive rewards for all of you.
Do you get your staff involved in your social media campaigns? Leave a comment and let us know how you’ve encouraged your team to become brand advocates.
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