3 Ways to Involve Employees in Social Media Efforts

It’s all about social media these days, but what about at work? How do you engage your employees to make social media work for you?

It’s not like they aren’t using social media themselves. It’s more of a misguided corporate mindset that tries to control their social media activity where the company is concerned. This is silly and unproductive. There is another, and smarter, way to create harmony between work, employees, and social media.

1. Reward Employees’ Strategic Use of Social Media

Nothing makes employees feel more connected to their job than being invited to talk about their work and the company.

Employees may be your company's biggest fans!

Employees may be your company’s biggest fans!

Most companies already have Employee of the Month awards, bonuses, and other recognition. Why not let these employees speak about what a great place they work for?

An Employee Advocacy Program is a relatively new approach that lets employees advocate on behalf of their employer through social media. Instead of just listing where they work on Facebook and LinkedIn, for example, they are encouraged to post positive things about the company, such as:

  • News about corporate events that can vary from professional training to the company picnic to community or charity work
  • Photos of new facilities and corporate events
  • Recognition of teams and individuals
  • Inside news about births, marriages, graduations, and other events that happen outside work

How does this help your bottom line? It boosts it. Customers like to know their vendors are good people. They appreciate doing business with a company that cares enough about its employees that they actually speak favorably, and often, about one another.

How does this help employees? It makes them proud of their work, writes Russ Fradin in Salesforce’s blog. It helps them build their own personal brand, which is to say, involving employees in social media supports their own efforts to be recognized for their expertise or interests. Why not let an engineer tweet about a new app she’s developed for the company, or allow someone in the HR to mention how well the 401(k) did last quarter?

2. Train Employees in Proper Social Media Use

If the thought of letting employees loose on social media gives you chills, relax! No one is saying to open the floodgates.

Instead, provide employees with sensible social media guidance that empowers them while exercising proper caution. Don’t just list what the company doesn’t want to see; start on a positive note and explain why there’s a social media guidance policy:

  • To encourage responsible information-sharing
  • To recognize individuals’ contributions to the company
  • To distinguish between personal and professional use of social media at work
Train employees on proper social media use.

Train employees on proper social media use.

Make sure the training includes examples that are easy to grasp. There’s no shortage of horror stories out there: everyone remembers the New York PR “expert” whose tweet about visiting Africa backfired and she quickly became The World’s Most Hated Woman during her 11-hour flight.

Rather than focus on being clever, a good rule of thumb is to think before tweeting. Provide employees with “tweetable” canned facts and information. Encourage them to follow favorite customers and retweet them as well.

Sometimes opportunities just show up. Remember the 2013 SuperBowl power failure? This brought out some truly inspired tweets. Here are two that really scored big that night:

  • Oreo: “You can still dunk in the dark.”
  • PBS: “This might be a good time to think about alternative programming. #SuperBowlBlackout #WeHaveDowntonPBS”

Both companies took advantage of what Super Bowl fans were already doing: tweeting about the game. Their blackout tweets were clever without being condescending or kicking the dog when it’s down.

While employees are still getting the hang of tweeting, try out a tool like Hootsuite that lets you invite employees to tweet or post on the company’s behalf. Program it to review all messages before they go out. This encourages participation and reinforces their understanding about what should and should not be out there on social media.

3. Use Social Media to Support a Healthy Corporate Culture

Make sure your employees are aware of your corporate Facebook page and encourage them to visit it and Like it.

Facebook is the number one social network in the US. It also dominates the time people spend online through smartphones. This makes your company’s Facebook page the perfect backup to the company Intranet to post information that isn’t readily available outside the office:

  • Emergency numbers
  • Weather alerts/office closures
  • Special announcements
  • Links to benefit information

Let social media work both ways for your company. Encourage and train employees to use it wisely, and use it strategically to serve them as well.
To learn more about social media and your employees, please contact us. We can help you to keep your employees in the social media loop.

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