Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the incredible opportunity companies have empowering their employees to share positive sentiment about the companies they work for (e.g. news, events, recruitment). Why?
Reach: Employees already have established relationships in the social universe that provide new reach and distribution opportunities for the company.Loyalty: For the loyal Employee, they are proud of who and where they work and want to share positive news about their company.
Authenticity: Each Employee has his or her own authentic voice that is real, honest & authentic. Companies should utilize those authentic voices of their employees to amplify positive news on behalf of the company.
Trust: The employee already has built in trust with their frineds and followers so when they share news about the company they work for, the likelihood of someone paying attention and engaging to what is being shared is much higher than if it just came directly from the company.
Why is this a good thing (both for the Employee and the Company)?
2. It creates an entirely new marketing channel for the company to drive genuine reach, distribution and brand recognition.
And then comes the pause button. When I speak with companies about this wonderful new marketing opportunity, I often hear the words “afraid” or “worried”. There is genuine concern that their employees will poorly articulate news or information about the company. This is where Social Media Programs and Policies can help put these concerns to rest.
Here are 5 important ideas to consider when it comes to empowering employees to share news about the companies they work for on social media.
Create a Corporate Social Media Policy: Before activating and empowering employees to talk about the company they work for, they must agree to the companies official Corporate Social Media Policy. These are a standard set of rules and guidelines set by the company when it comes to how employees talk about their company personally. Oracle, IBM, Best Buy, Ford & Walmart all are great examples of social media policies to review and consider.
Create Social Media Training: Employees will aspire to do great things and share news about their company as long as they are properly trained & aligned to the companies social media standards and procedures. When creating a training program, companies should make sure the lessons are easy to understand and that the goals, objectives, and teachings are clear and concise.
Employee Recognition and Rewards: Employees that are socially active for their companies should be rewarded and recognized. Consider finding a few employees that are thought leaders and highlight them as the “gold standard”. The more these employees are recognized, the more they will lead by example.
Listen & Respond to Employee Feedback: Companies should always strive to be socially responsible by enabling the employee to be vocal on the companies behalf. Companies should carefully listen to employees’ experiences and suggestions and must be willing to adapt based on that feedback.
Create a Social Media Center of Excellence: Companies should consider creating a division or group that oversees the creation, management and development of the company’s Social Media Strategy and Social Media team. This includes the overall corporate social media strategy and management framework for application across business units and functions. In addition, this Center of Excellence helps coordinate with key stakeholders across the Company to ensure effectiveness and encourages the adoption of social media techniques into the corporate culture and into all of the company’s products and services.
In summary, employees are a vastly untapped marketing resource when it comes to a company’s social presence. With a simple set of processes and procedures in place to properly educate the employee they are much more likely to be successful.
A few additional places to learn more about these and other related topics include a piece written by our very own Jordan Shultz on the “The Do’s and Don’ts of Employee Advocacy”. Also, here is a great guide on best practices when it comes to tapping into your employees to represent your corporate voice (10 Best Practices of Employee Advocacy Guide).