If you want to expand your social media presence, you need to have a brand that's consistent across all social media platforms - and then, get it in front of the eyes of people who actually care.
Seems easy enough, right?
Unfortunately, perception and reality are two completely different beasts, and the reality is that it's going to take some dedication, and serious man-hours, to make this happen.
There are many ways of building your brand presence on social media, including:
- Consistently engaging with followers
- Always replying to mentions and questions
- Making every post, tweet, picture and video memorable
Still, as easy as these things may seem on paper, it takes people.
The good news is that you have a social media workhorse right in your office - in fact, a recent study found that 88% of employees spend time on some form of social media at work.
So why not harness the power of your employees and put them to work branding your company on the social media platforms they're already on?Your employees can be a huge asset to you when it comes to branding your company on social media.
And if you really think about it, it all makes perfect sense.
If your company has a great social media presence, and profits increase as a result, not only do jobs become more secure, but there may be more opportunities for raises, and possibly even bonuses. So, in the grand scheme of things, it's in your employees' best interest to promote the company they work for in any way they can, including on social media, since it's a win-win for everyone.
Here are five quick and easy ways you can transform your employees into brand advocates for your company on social media.
1. Establish a Social Media Training Program
When you start promoting an employee social media branding program, you need to make sure everyone knows what's OK to share - like photos of the company picnic, your department working as a team, or news of a promotion - and on what platform/s. Something that may be appropriate for Twitter may not be appropriate for someone's LinkedIn page and vice versa.
Employees also need to know what's not suitable to share on any social media platform. Some employees may be privy to sensitive information, which obviously shouldn't be shared at all - like news about profits or shares falling, last quarter's revenues not reaching expectations, or perhaps company layoffs.
Training employees on how to best utilize social media in relation to company material is crucial.
At the same time, you can use the opportunity of a training program to emphasize why your employees should want to be involved, what benefits they can derive from being active advocates and/or representatives on social platforms.
2. Offer Suggested Posts
If you plan on running a social media campaign that promotes your company in a certain way, you may want to suggest posts to your employees. It could be in the form of photos or graphics they can share, or entire posts that they can simply copy and paste. You can even suggest that they share pictures and stories on Instagram.
These are all great options since they'll help ensure that your company is being promoted in a manner that's consistent with your brand, and helpful to your marketing efforts. Plus, a copy-and-paste approach helps to encourage employees who are shy about using social media promotion, and are unsure about what to share.
3. Have a Social Media Communication Tool
If you decide to regularly share suggested posts with your employees and/or provide ongoing training to help them better harness the power of social media for your business's overall branding initiatives, you may want to consider using a company-wide communication tool like Slack, Trello - or even something that's even more advanced, like Glip or Bitrix24.
Using a communication tool that connects all of your employees ensures that everyone is on the same page, which in turn, means your social media campaign will have a uniform look across the board. This will also make it easier for them to spread the word about your company.
With very little work on your part, you'll be able to give your team everything they need to tell prospects about what makes your company so special and unique.
4. Foster a Team Atmosphere
Encourage employees to come up with pictures and posts that can be shared on multiple platforms and by multiple people. Have them work collaboratively to build new campaigns, hold contests to see which employee, team, or department can produce the next big social media branding idea for the company.
By encouraging your employees to participate like this, you give them more incentive to get involved - and stay involved.
5. Use a Unique Hashtag to Promote a Specific Campaign
Starting a hashtag campaign can be flat-out fun. Plus, when executed well, they can make your company more memorable in the eyes of prospective customers, while simultaneously motivating your employees to continue in their social media branding efforts. You can literally create a viral movement that's all about your company.
#PutACanOnIt was a widely successful campaign from the folks over at Red Bull - this campaign engaged people on social media because it prompted them to not only share pictures of their own Red Bull cans, but to post their personal stories as well. Red Bull wanted to hear what the people had to say.
As a result, the company was very visible on social media. Why? Because they made it fun.
By creating a unique hashtag for your employees to use in their posts, you can create a campaign that no one else has, and prospective customers start to recognize as yours and yours alone.
Now, a word of caution here - don't take the easy way out and use some boring, run-of-the-mill hashtag that's in no way memorable. Take some time to come up with something that'll be unique and fun, but that also relates to your business in some way, shape or form.
- Brainstorm possibilities - Make a list of as many as you can think of.
- Check to see which ones are already being used - Search on Twitter and see what - if anything - comes up. Ditch the duplicates.
- Choose which one works best with your brand - Out of whatever is left, pick your best option. If you really want to get your employees involved, take a vote (you can always use what's left for subsequent campaigns).
- Start using your hashtag - Use it everywhere. Encourage your employees to do the same. Share it. Engage with people. Own it.
- Monitor how well your hashtag is doing
Let's Look at Some Statistics
Social media is something that, if executed well, can benefit your company tremendously - especially if you're able to successfully get your employees amped up and excited to be a part of the ride.
- 50% of employees post about their employer on social media at least occasionally
- 39% have shared positive posts
- 33% post without any prompting
- Only 19% have shared negative comments
Now, I know that for a lot of you who are reading this article, you're probably thinking in the back of your minds that this goes against everything you know - after all, what if someone posts something negative about your company?
And here's my rebuttal: a disgruntled employee might publicly post negative comments about your company, whether you're pushing a company-wide social media branding initiative or not. At least if there's a lot of positive chatter taking place on social media from other employees, that negative stands a better chance of being buried in all the other "noise."
The Best of Both Worlds
If some of your employees are already using social media while at work, and they're already posting about your company, why not help them build their own presence and that of your brand by encouraging participation in a wider advocacy program?
At the end of the day, employees can be valuable assets to your company when branding on social media. By harnessing the power of your workforce and expanding your social media presence, you can reach out to prospects you wouldn't have otherwise been able to reach.