There are many reasons why employers struggle to get their employees to engage with their company social media accounts. One of the most common reasons for lack of engagement is that employees view social media as their personal space - they enjoy keeping personal accounts separate from work, and the privacy that comes with it.
The wrong approach to getting employees engaged with company social accounts is to demand that employees like and share posts - or even make it a requirement in the position. This type of strategy doesn’t work in the long run.
So, what should businesses be doing to encourage employees to engage with their content? I spoke with several social media professionals and influencers for advice on how to get team members involved, and make them feel empowered, instead of hesitant, to become employee influencers.
1. Be Transparent About Why Team Engagement Matters
Before you begin initiating engagement strategies, it’s important to explain to your employees why you want them to interact with the company’s social accounts.
Jason Yau, YP of eCommerce and general manager at CanvasPeople, recommends that company leaders meet with team members, and be transparent about why they want their employees to interact with social media.
Even if all the employees are doing is liking a Facebook post, Yau says that employees should not feel as though they are blindly following demands. Leaders must be able to provide a logical explanation as to why employee engagement with company accounts is important.
End the meeting by expressing gratitude to those that have already engage with company social accounts, and emphasize how happy it makes you feel to see your team get involved.
2. Go Behind The Scenes
Over the years as a business owner, I have personally noticed that our most engaging social posts are the ones that go behind the scenes. We love to share milestones for our team members and celebrations around the office, and these posts generally see higher organic engagement on all platforms - and employees love to like and share them.
Going behind the scenes is a great strategy for natural engagement with your team. Not sure where to start? Here are a few areas you may consider highlighting:
- Employee milestones - Celebrate the number of years a team member has been with the company. Create an employee of the month program that highlights their contributions in various departments.
- Company outings - Share photos, and videos, from company lunches, holiday parties, potlucks, and other celebrations your team engages in throughout the year.
- A day in the life - What’s it like to work a day at your business? Share photos from meetings or projects in progress. This can give your audience insight into what it’s like to work at your company, and may even inspire individuals to apply for jobs there.
- Bring out the boss - I’ve been featured on our social media accounts doing everything from hula-hooping to dancing like nobody is watching. I’m always game for whatever whenever, too. You may be the leader, but don’t be afraid to let your silly side out on social. Your team loves to see it, and their likes will be plenty of those “haha” laughing emojis.
3. Make Employees Experts
Kinsey Schofield, a Los Angeles-based celebrity social media strategist, is all for including employees in your social content, however there are even more options which extend beyond celebrating birthdays or employee of the month awards.
If your business is in the retail industry, for example, Schofield says that small boutiques will often use their employees as “models.” Employees get to try on merchandise and/or accessories, and are featured on the boutique’s social media account.
This also happens with larger retail chains. “Nordstrom produces Instagram videos with stylists and sales associates explaining and pairing merchandise throughout the store.”
Remember, these are actual stylists that work for Nordstrom, not actors, that are showing off their expertise. Who wouldn’t want to share content that positions you in such a fantastic manner?
“These individuals are going to share these posts,” Schofield says, “Then, their mom will share it. And their grandmother and their sorority sister, and the dominos continue.”
4. Encourage Engagement With Weekly Emails
You’ve explained why employee engagement with your social accounts matters, and outlined strategies for involvement and engagement. However, you probably danced around simply asking team members to engage with these handles - which is often the simplest approach.
One nice nudge to asking employees to follow your content and engage with it could be done via email. Emma Pollock is the social media manager for Powerblanket. She understands that it’s tricky to get employees involved, but that their interactions are valuable, and allow for company social content to reach tons of new audiences.
Pollock sends out weekly emails to the team where she highlights their social media posts, and links to each of their profiles.
“I try to highlight or link to posts that would be fun to share with family and friends on the employee’s personal social media accounts in each email.”
It’s a strategy that works. Employees work busy days, and may not always have time to check in with the company’s social media accounts - or even their own at times. Pollock’s emails serve as a friendly reminder not to forget.
“By sending these emails, I’m able to remind everyone that social media is an important part of our marketing strategy,” Pollock says. “These emails give everyone plenty of opportunities to follow our accounts and get involved.”
There's no definitive, one-size-fits-all strategy to employee advocacy and engagement, but there are a wide range of options you can consider to promote engagement, and get your employees more involved. And when you consider that content shared by employees sees 8x more engagement, on average, than content shared through branded channels, it may definitely be worth that extra bit of thought and effort.