Social media has evolved significantly in the past six years. At the beginning, businesses focused solely on just having a presence on social media. Then, brands beginning honing in on social listening and figuring out the “science” of a good social media campaign.
Marketers then realized that social media was a great tool not only to engage their audience, but a prime opportunity to amplify their content and draw even more people in to consume, engage with and share that content. Recent studies have found that social networking accounts for 30% of all time spent online.
Last week at MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum, David Honig and David Thomas (otherwise known as Dave Squared) focused on another very important element of social media that most businesses are not taking full advantage of, the power of employees. While employee’s are often the most loyal supporters of the brand, they may be intimidated or scared to promote content on behalf of the company. Below are some ways that employers can encourage and help employees amplify brand content using social media.
Create Clear Instructions
Fear many times is a result of not having all of the information about a particular topic. The last thing you want to do is create or enable fear when it comes to encouraging employees to amplify brand content on social media.
No matter what you say, if you have a workforce it will be important to remind employees that you want them to share and that it is valuable. And you have to show them how to do it.
If you put a series of guidelines that tells people what to say and how to do it, you take away that fear factor.
Understand The Workforce
Employee’s personal and professional lives are intertwined more now than ever before and are constantly connected to devices which creates a remarkable opportunity. There are estimates that nearly 75% of the global workforce will be made up of Millennial’s by 2025.
These employees’s were raised with cell phones and the Internet which requires an approach beyond email to reach them.
Turn Employee’s Into Storytellers
What do you think would happen if employees become the storytellers for your brand? Research says that around 15% of consumers actually trust a brand while 85% trust their peers. With the average employee having around 1,500 connections on social networks, think of the possibilities.
Brands have the opportunity to empower employees as storytellers by informing them, engaging them with the content and inspiring them to create and share.
These stories aren’t just about selling your brand; it’s about what the company believes in. It’s about sending the right content at the right time to the right employee.
Identify Early Adopters
As with any new program, it’s important to have beta testers before rolling out a program to the entire population. This will provide a chance to find out what they are doing currently, gauge their level of interest in supporting the brand online and getting them involved in the process.
Finding an executive champion can also help spread your initiative like wildfire. When there is support shown from the top, it will be easier to get other employees on board.
We live in a gaming world. From gaming systems to mobile applications, they’re everywhere. If you add gamification to your employee social program, you can create some healthy competition and even offer incentives to encourage participation.
Make Consuming & Sharing Easy
The number of tools that we have at our fingertips today can help create efficiencies and offer new opportunities in all aspects of business. Social media is no different. Employee’s can be trained to use tools like Buffer and Hootsuite to share brand content on social media. Better yet, tools like Dynamic Signal offer a mobile application and admins can push notifications to employee’s that allow them to read and share brand content with the click of a button.
Everyone Benefits When Employees Get Involved
Data supports the importance of sharing content with employees. There is an opportunity to make employees better at what they do, by providing them with relevant content on a consistent basis. Building an employee advocacy program benefits both employees and the company in many ways including:
- Better connection with the brand
- Feeling more “in the know” with company news
- They may become viewed as a thought leader
- An opportunity to establish their personal brand
- Easy ways to grow their online audience
- Increase brand awareness
- Deepen customer loyalty
- Strengthen company culture
- Drive leads and sales
For a successful program, it’s important that your employees don’t feel like you’re exploiting them to promote your marketing message. This fear can be alleviated by introducing the information clearly and transparently with the whole team. Of course, you always want to encourage employees to share what is relevant for their audience.