Jill Kurtz, Owner, Kurtz Digital Strategy
Tear up your social media policy that tells your employees that they can’t represent your company online. Do it.
Your employees should be your most important advocates on social media. Encourage, don’t discourage. Hear me out.
You do need to start with the right foundation. Social advocacy depends on having an engaged and enthusiastic staff and the right corporate culture. People will never effectively promote a company where they don’t feel genuinely valued in the first place. (This is also true of the people who you pay to do social outreach and community building.) Authenticity is the critical in social outreach.
You Need Employee Social Media Advocacy
Employee social media advocacy is a widely underused marketing strategy. Getting your employees involved and getting access to their networks is a valuable way to grow a following and to find an effective voice on social. So, let your employees speak about what they are doing and why. Let them share their passion for their work and for your business.
There are many reasons why this makes sense.
First, math. Let’s say you have 50 employees, each with 200 social media followers. By asking your employees to share messages, you can boost your audience by 10,000 people.
Then there is the value of word-of-mouth marketing. Messages from friends and colleagues are valued as relevant and trustworthy. Content shared by employees has the potential to tap into that built-in acceptance.
Employee Social Media Guidelines
You can decide on the parameters, but I suggest you keep it as loose as you can live with. If all this makes you nervous, start small. Encourage employees to share the company’s social media updates.
Ultimately, you want to give your employees the ability to act as brand ambassadors on social media. After all, they are invested in your success. Let them talk and engage, just as they do on their offline lives.
Your nervous. You see lots of risk here. Who decides what gets shared on social? What will employees say? Will their followers react positively?
Keep in mind, that everyone has a vested interest in staying positively connected with their social followers. By sharing relevant messages, employees build their own professional social followings, establishing themselves as experts in their professional sphere. They don’t want to look foolish any more than you do.
Here are some guidelines that can help you find the right balance:
- Employee social media advocacy has to be voluntary. Employees have to actually want to share company news.
- Let employees decide what messages fit their following. Social advocacy works best when employees can tap into relevant professional or personal networks on social media.
- Provide message suggestions that can be copied and pasted into social channels.
- Also allow employees to compose their own messages and share public company news.
- Offer social media training to make sure everyone is comfortable with the guidelines as well as the tools.
- Employee advocacy isn’t new, but social media has made it significantly easier to enlist your full staff as a communication and marketing resource. Applying the right strategy and a little technology to tap into employees’ existing networks can positively increase the reach and impact of your social media efforts.