Companies primarily use their social media presence to promote their services, products or organizational news - but is that really a productive way to capture a greater audience?
If the goal is to connect, engage and convert, then maximizing your organization's exposure is vital.
Nowadays, companies spend substantial amounts of money on consultants who tell them how to pull in followers and fans, but the reality is, a large part of the solution is internal - using employees to elp amplify your social messaging. Enlisting employee advocates to promote services or products, or to share news and stories on their personal social media accounts, can be a powerful marketing tool for companies.
Advocacy initiatives enable companies to cast a larger net of influence by tapping into the expanded networks already established by their employees. This leverage often leads to increased visibility, and provides an easier way to acquire connections, which continues to build upon your organization's credibility and rapport.
So how do you get your employees to magnify your reach? Here are three tips.
1. Let them use social media
Chances are employees are accessing social media via their mobile device throughout the day anyway, so why not allow them to peruse their personal platforms on their computers?
Don't penalize staff for posting, tweeting, commenting or reviewing - instead, encourage them to check in, explore and post during the day (so long as it doesn't interfere with their productivity).
Companies which are more relaxed with social media usage during company time tend to find that employees are less like to abuse the privilege, and more likely to self-regulate usage. In addition, such a policy can help facilitate a more transparent environment which encourages trust between the employee and employer. Employees will also be more willing to post company-related things on their personal pages because they feel valued and included in contributing to the company's success.
2. Provide training on social media use
Most employees are actively looking for ways increase their skill sets. Providing them with ongoing social media training helps them develop professionally, while also increasing their social media competency, which helps them understand how to represent themselves online in a way that's consistent with the company's brand.
A key element of any advocacy program is highlighting the value of such efforts not just to the company, but to the individual, why building a personal brand helps them in their professional lives, why they shoud want to share their thoughts and insights to expand their presence.
To become effective social media advocates, employees should receive basic best-practices training on things such as setting up profiles, privacy settings and the company's social media guidelines. You should also offer advanced training on how to market using social media, or on new and upcoming platforms to help employees stay knowledgeable and current about the latest trends.
This doesn't just help the employee acquire new competencies, but it also helps build a stronger foundation of experienced professionals in your organization.
3. Incentivize usage
There's nothing like a little friendly competition to get employees motivated. Help your employees help you by gamifying company promotion on their personal social media pages.
Create individual or group contests around who posts the most, or who gets the most likes, shares or engagement. Track the performance using hashtags or keywords, then provide rewards and prizes and distribute them to the top performers. You could also provide bonus incentives, like free lunch, or maybe even a day off for those who can get their networks to take actions, such as joining the company's email list or attending an event. Employees will begin to post more once they see the rewards in participating.
Employees can be your most treasured asset and ally on social media - they're influencers in their respective circles and can often get the word out more quickly because people put their trust in other people moreso than they do brands.
Create a social-media advocacy program that's robust and enticing so that you can build internal brand ambassadors who'll help you maximize your reach.