Is your business harnessing the power of employee advocacy through social media? A good way to think about employee engagement on social media is to imagine it as a party. Now, everybody loves a party. We all love to be celebrated, and to celebrate others. Pop that champagne and throw that confetti, right? Wait.
Put down that corkscrew for just one second, party animal. Have you ever been to a bad party? You know, one where the guests are all uncomfortable, and nobody talks except the host, who is literally scrambling to fill the awkward silence with a stream of nearly incoherent words? Maybe the type where that one dude wrongly assumed it was a costume party and he showed up in full Joker costume (face paint and everything?!). That’s not the type of party you want.
In fact, just based on those two scenarios, you might be like, “on second thought, I think I’ll just drink this champagne by myself.” Once again, please put down the corkscrew. Did you know that on average, only 3% of employees share company related content? And that those shares are responsible for a 30% increase in likes, shares and comments? A study by the Marketing Advisory Network shows that brand messaging reaches 561% further when shared by employees, when compared to just being shared by the company.
Now you can pick up the corkscrew. Let’s toast to 561% increases in brand messaging reach, and agree that the employee social engagement party is not only worth the risk of hearing, “let’s put a smile on that face,” it’s worth taking the strategic steps to ensure that the party is a success!
As the host, you have to plan the invitations, attire and fit the venue for the guest. These things can help ease anxiousness and get maximum participation. Keep in mind, when inviting your employees to your party, you are starting a party full of marketers. Your employees need to know the ins and outs of the company to bolster your marketing strategy with ease, and without budgetary allotment. Seems daunting - we know. To ensure engagement, participation and ultimate success of your social media platform, read these helpful tips.
Every Party Needs an Ice Breaker
The initial start of the party can be awkward. No one knows the expectations or even if they are acting the right way. The host needs to step in and set the tone, attire and direct the guest to an icebreaker.
Remember, your company is a social media party host. Think about opening the conversation first with your Executive Board. By talking with decision-makers, you can learn what their expectations are for social media and, more crucial, the standard for social media posts. This way, no one is surprised when they see Joe from sales writing his own LinkedIn article. After this meeting, you are ready to have a direct conversation with your employees.
Send the Invites
Gather the employees who are going to help you advocate this program. Opening the conversation up to your employees allows them to understand your appreciation, and begins to encourage active participation. This is the time to explain what is appropriate to post with your company attached. Having this conversation is essential for engagement.
Knowing what is right and wrong will make your employee advocates more inclined to post. Don't worry, there are plenty of tools and resources to support your employee advocacy program. These programs provide guides, data and a central location to empower your employees to be active, for example, BAMBU by Sprout Social. The expectation, attire and overall tone are set at this point. Here are 3 ways to encourage your employees to post on Social Media.
1. Basic Shares
“Check out this cool thing my company is doing,” is a really easy and natural form of engagement. This type of share has a low barrier to entry.
If your company is posting accomplishments or thought leadership pieces, it’s only natural that the employees would have a stake in sharing, when they also contribute to these successes. Notice that Kurtis included branded hashtags in is basic share.
2. Individual Contribution
At Little Bird, we take employee advocacy on social media seriously. After attending an industry event, Ashley our Executive Director, wrote a LinkedIn article highlighting her experience. Although she's sharing her thoughts, she represents the companies ethos.
When the articles was shared, Ashley tagged Little Bird, encouraging readers to visit the company profile too.
3. Behind the Scenes
Recognizing every day work culture is valuable too! Celebrating National Donut Day at your office? Encourage your employees to snap a picture and tag your company when posting. Employees posting on social expands beyond lead generation- it also helps with recruitment. Show off your office culture to future team members.
Employee posts can present an authentic, behind the scenes look at your company culture and brand. For example, our Creative Director, Kahlief Steele shared these sketches after a logo development session.
Book the Venue
So where is this social media party being hosted? Take a minute to evaluate the social channels your company is actively using. LinkedIn is a great platform to start, since it is already professional. Encourage your employees to update their profiles and post a few times a week. You can even gamify it! Twitter and Instagram are great social platforms that can also be leveraged for your business.
Identifying what a company-branded employee hashtag will allow all posts to be seen in one location. Hashtags help categorize your post in a topic/word of your choosing - linking thousands of posts together in on large, digital conversation.
This is an interactive way your employees can connect and spotlight your company and its expertise!
Everyone Loves a Good Party Favor!
Let's be honest, we all go to the party for the favors (and maybe cake). They solidify your return to the next party. At our social media party, our favors are giveaways, employee highlights, office shout outs or department call outs! Having a thoughtful party favor almost always ensures participation and continues to grow the connection have with your employees.
Want to get creative? Gamify your advocacy program! Make a BINGO-like card with social media challenges. Give rewards when someone fills a row.
If your company has an Employee of the Month program, include social media activity in the decision-making process.
Throw that confetti and grab another bottle of champagne. You are on your way to having a fabulous employee social media advocacy program. This party is going to be the best you make it - put in the time, pair it with a reliable strategy and sprinkle it with exceptional training.
Have a few amazing advocates already?