Social

15/01/2016 | 22:12 GMT+7

Think Social’s NSFW? Not Any More: How Employee Engagement Really Works

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Still think social media isn’t suitable for the workplace? In an increasingly social world, I am so surprised at the number of brand marketers I speak to that still haven’t figured out how to leverage their biggest assets — their employees — to be brand champions.

Though many companies would prefer to minimize employees’ time or activity on social media, if done correctly, employee engagement programs don’t have to be time-wasters or threats to the company.

In fact, employee advocacy can be a powerful tool for a brand that understands how to use it and knows how to guide its employees to do so for the company’s benefit.

When employees are active online, they have the opportunity to contribute to their companies’ successes. Corporations are realizing that they have a built-in army of online advocates at their disposal and that a community of socially active employees — brand ambassadors, if you will — can provide free publicity for the messages that brands are trying to communicate.

The question is: How can brands mobilize their troops?

It’s no secret that social media has become a fully integrated part of modern society. As such, it is time for employee engagement to become a corporate priority rather than a side note — or a downside to business and public relations.

If brands want employees to share content and do so in a way that helps rather than hinders brand reputation, they must have a plan. We work with our clients on launching these employee engagement programs and recommend the following steps:

Start With Amazing Content

If employee advocacy is a journey, then quality content is certainly the starting point. You don’t have to be a social media expert to know that people will not share content they don’t relate to.

In order to maximize your potential shares, make sure that your content is diverse in voice, topic and view, yet relatable. Stay away from opinionated, polarizing subjects that can eliminate broad portions of your audience.

For instance, share content about the business’s growth, progress of individual employees within the company and industry-related news. There are some amazing tools like Bambu that can help you with this.

Educate Your Ambassadors

It’s important that every employee is on the same page when it comes to the brand’s social goals and strategies. Rather than enforcing a strict set of rules to adhere to, provide employees with guidelines and suggestions on dos and don’ts.

Make it easy for employees to share this content. For instance, provide pre-written copy for them to post on their personal pages and share with their network.

This ensures that content can be shared with a unified voice, provides an opportunity for each individual to personalize the post and is helpful to employees who lack social media savvy.

If you give employees the tools to share corporate content, there should be no reason why they won’t do it.

Inspire Them To Act

For employees to share content, they must be inspired to act. Emphasize the importance of each individual’s personal brand, and let them know they’re an important part of what the company is trying to accomplish. Let them know that they are adding value to the company and that by participating socially, they are part of your company’s success.

Show them the upside with WIIFM ("what’s in it for me”) — everyone wants to know WIIFM, so give the people what they want: Share the benefits to them of posting.

By advocating their company’s posts, employees can begin establishing themselves as thought leaders in the industry and promote the accomplishments of their brand simultaneously — a win-win for your workplace and for the employees.

Make It Fun

When it comes to inspiring shares, some employees will be harder to convince than others, perhaps out of laziness, apathy or a lack of understanding the goals. But making it fun can help convince anyone to participate.

Make sharing a competition (e.g., whoever gets the most likes on a post wins a gift card). Humans are competitive creatures, and employees will be much more likely to engage if the process is fun or if a prize is involved.

Constantly Connect

You know your employees best, and when and where to connect with them at work. Whether it’s a weekly email or an announcement at a companywide meeting, be sure to keep your employees up to date on your brand’s activities and provide them with highlighted content to share and discuss in their social circles.

Fostering employee advocacy within a company can greatly boost brand visibility. Each employee presents a new opportunity for an untapped social network with hundreds of potential consumers. Use this powerful resource.

By building a social media army with your own in-office troops, your brand can potentially reach thousands of individuals without spending a dime.

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