You already know social media is a powerful beast when it comes to extending your reach to potential customers, but did you know involving your employees in brand-focused social media engagement can not only expand your social reach, it can also translate to higher conversion rates? The Edelman Trust Barometer shows that people have much higher trust in regular employees (54%) than in a company’s CEO (47%). Their trust in a company’s technical experts is even higher (68%).
A major trend taking over within large and small companies is a program that encourages employees to engage with the company on social media through social posts on their own channels. The programs are designed to help employees not only help the company increase reach, but also the employees as well. Through the creation of company-provided targeted social messaging that employees post on their own social channels, the company gains exposure and so do the employees. It's a win-win for all involved. Below are a few tips and tricks to get you well on your way to creating a winning employee-driven social media strategy.
Divide and Conquer
First and foremost, don’t make the employees feel forced or pressured. Start this journey with an email or survey to test for initial interest. Ask employees if they would be interested in joining a new company program geared toward learning social media best practices that will help grow both their reach. It's important that employees understand this program will help them as well as the company. Once you have the initial group of interested employees, find out which social channels they are already using regularly. Not only will they be comfortable using the social platform, chances are they will have a much higher follower count than on other less used platforms.
Share social-specific content
Since each social media platform has different forms of sharing guidelines you'll need to tailor each message according to the channel’s guidelines - character count, in-message landing page links, photos, instant messaging -
There are two benefits of splitting employees into groups according to the preferred social channel:
- Since the employees are already comfortable using the social channel, there is no need to train on how to use the channel.
- You can deliver messages created for a specific social platform in one group email or a chat channel. Questions and concerns can also be shared easily between the group.
Let’s be honest, it’s awesome that your employees are interested in engaging with your social media channels and posting company-specific info on their personal channels. It's crucial that employees feel empowered to pick and choose the messages that will resonate with their followers. For each social channel group, offer at least 5-7 different messaging options for each posting opportunity. This could mean tweaking the messaging by changing a few words, or the tone, or the image. By allowing the employees to pick which message they want to share gives them a sense of control and shows them that you want to make sure the information is something they are comfortable posting.
PRO TIP: Don’t create content that sounds too spammy! The content provided should offer some form of value to their followers. In addition to company-specific messages, share informative blog or news posts, internal job listings, or trending industry topics.
Keep employees in the loop on the inside scoop
Help employees take ownership of their role and grow camaraderie within the company by keeping them in the loop on exciting events, launches, sales, or anything else that might be internally or externally newsworthy. The more excited about their job and the goings-on in the company, the more loyal employees will become. Consider holding a monthly all-hands meeting if you don’t already. These meetings are a great way to pull the entire team together to share the good news, upcoming programs, launches, and even financials. As the saying goes, Happy employees are hard-working employees.
Turn employees into accessorized ambassadors
If your company has branded swag, give it to the employees to wear and share. T-shirts, Hats, scarfs, gloves, and water bottles are perfect branded items to share with your employees. The more they have to wear and share, the better your reach and potential for getting your brand or product noticed by potential customers. If you have high-dollar swag items consider giving them away during a monthly social shares contest.
Monthly contest motivation
Just because the employees have signed on to be brand ambassadors doesn't mean they will stick with the program, or worse, not participate at all. Get employees excited with giveaways, contests, and shoutouts. Consider creating a monthly or weekly giveaway for the top employees who share the most posts. Avoid putting value on reach numbers for the content since some employees will have more followers than others - you don’t want to send the message that if your follower count isn’t big enough you never stand a chance of winning. Also, consider having a major end-of-year grand prize to keep employees in the mindset that this is an ongoing program and need to stick with it. Possibly a trip, extra PTO days, or even a year's membership to a local gym.
Track, measure, refine
Since the launch of this program will most likely take a few months to get employees fully on-board, it’s important to track and measure your success. As the saying goes, if you can‘t measure it, you can’t improve it. Below are a few important metrics to track that will help you see what’s working and what is not.
Important metrics to track include:
- The number of employees who signed up to share posts vs. the ones who actually shared at least one post.
- The total number of social posts shared across all platforms
- Which platforms received the most shares
- Total website traffic from social shares. Check your website analytics to find the total visits from each social media platform
- Goal’s met: Set goals each month for the program and employees. Track which goals were met, exceeded, or fell short.
Starting a company-wide social engagement program is a relatively inexpensive way to grow your reach and build little healthy competition. You also don’t have to go full-blown across all channels at first. You could start by surveying the company to find which platform the majority will share on. Begin with that platform, then once you have the hang of it, add a new platform. The most important thing is that this is a fun program that should be allowed to grow at its own pace. This will take time to get going, but it will be worth the investment in the long run.
To learn more about creating an employee engagement social media strategy and hear testimonials about how well these programs work, check out our newest podcast featuring, Emily DiBrito, Creative Content Lead at Sweet Fish Media. Listen To Martech Talk Now!