Recently a colleague and I attended a
@FMWFChamber Business Training Luncheon #fmwftraining on “The Power of Being a Social Employee” A number of excellent points were brought up that I’d like to expand on in this post. In today’s fast-paced society a socially active company has a huge marketing advantage over a business that resorts to more traditional means of distributing information. However, encouraging others to participate in being a social employee is the most difficult step in bridging that digital gap. As in any major shift of perspective, for a change to be successful it must be predetermined by a well-laid out plan to go about tackling the challenge.
So what is a social employee? A social employee is someone within your organization who is active on social media as an advocate for your business and industry. Social media opens a unique and organic channel of communication between you and your clients, and enables a level of transparency in business that wasn’t achievable before. Some people will participate naturally, where as others might need to be trained how to utilize these tools. Social media is not for everyone, so it’s important to analyze your current situation to determine whether a social employee campaign would be a right fit for the culture of your organization.
What are some benefits of having company of social employees?
- Allow your company to harness the power of positive word of mouth, and empower employees and clients to be brand advocates.
- Strive to define brand personality and company culture. Rather than pushing a product, tell a story to hold the viewer's attention. By building a unique personality based around events and community involvement, you can paint a picture of what your organization is all about and ultimately mold a story that results in consistent brand recognition.
- By staying in touch with followers and actively engaging them in conversation, it builds trust in your brand.
- Allow you to reach the maximum amount of people with the minimum amount of effort required on your part.
How would you go about getting people interested?
- Getting started is the hardest part. Organize a group of people to be social advocates for your brand. Start here, and let this group set the example for the company.
- Specify the social media channels you want to target. Twitter has become an increasing popular choice for distributing information quickly to large groups of people. Facebook is great too, but as it has evolved over the years, people tend to utilize it more for personal use. LinkedIn is targeted towards businesses, but works very similarly to Facebook. To get updates on a certain organization or individual on a regular basis they must be followed or added to your personal network. Twitter has a far more over-arching presence.
- Set up goals for your team. Make sure the expectations are well defined and everyone sticks to your plan. Don’t hesitate to help each other out and work together as a team. The more people tweeting and posting away, the more powerful the plan.
- Provide training sessions for the team and make sure the rest of the company is welcome to join in too. This is great for people who are interested in participating, but might not be 100% comfortable with social media platforms. Show them how easy it is and share your team’s goals and expectations.
- Brainstorm as a company on promotional ideas and upcoming events. Use this as a guide to create a strategy for your social media plan.
So let’s say you’ve gone through the steps. You have a plan established and team is utilizing social medias outlets to promote your company. How do you keep the fire lit and permanently transform your organization into an effective team of social employees? It’s easy to get motivated for a new idea, but it’s only worth it if you have an effective plan in place to make sure the campaign sticks long-term.
- Encourage employees to take advantage of “dead time.” Time you’re waiting for a meeting, standing on the elevator, or waiting in line for your morning coffee at the coffee shop would all be great examples of “dead time.” It only takes a couple seconds to share a post, and people are often in the habit of checking social media throughout the day anyways. Rather than reprimanding people for being on social media, encourage them to be a
#SocialEmployee at least once a day.
- Have your social media team meet on a regular basis to plan posting for upcoming events.
- Take advantage of tools like Hubspot (http://www.hubspot.com/) or Hootsuite (hootsuite.com) for pushing content out to social media channels. Going to each outlet individually is time-consuming. Streamline it as much as possible by using a tool that pushes your desired content out to all connected platforms.
- Run paid campaigns! Social Media outlets are some of the most effective methods of advertising. A mere $1 per day can give you an upwards of 1000 impressions with complete control over of the demographics, allowing you to target very specific audiences.
Take a moment to think about how your company utilizes social media. Are you currently acting as a social employee to increase brand awareness? Taking steps to convert people into active social employees can have a hugely positive impact on your organization and how it's portrayed to the public.
For an example of how NCI utilizes a social media strategy, click the button below to visit the resources section of our website. It acts a hub for our social media presence collecting posts from Twitter, Facebook, and our blog into one easily accessible spot.