It’s every employer’s dream to have fully engaged staff talking about the amazing benefits of the products or services the company offers, and positioning the company the way the founders intended. Social media has made this a lot easier, but ironically social media has also made the relationship between employees and employers somewhat awkward.
Employees are rarely provided with clear policies or strategies on social media outreach or engagement on behalf of the company. Occasionally this laissez-faire attitude can put employees and companies at risk.
Police get social
Recently the NYC Police Department felt inclined to issue the first list of what officers can and cannot post to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media sites. This kind of official policy is one that many employers do not have, but setting clear guidelines about social media use can actually be extremely beneficial in the long term.
I recently wrote about the value of giving consideration to an employee engagement strategy, but in this article I want to go a step further. . I want to talk about the factors a business needs to consider when creating a social media strategy and how to implement one.
What is an employee engagement strategy?
As a business concept, employee engagement is simply a method of getting employees more involved and excited about their organization. According to Kevin Kruse, author of Employee Engagement 2.0, he defines employee engagement as “the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.”
Is it difficult to set up?
A social media employee engagement strategy is low risk and cost effective. It’s free to sign up to almost all social media networks and most employees will have at least one active network. A social media employee engagement strategy is also relatively easy to implement and the majority of employers have little difficulty in getting participants.
It can also be fun.
Gamification and incentivizing can make employee engagement a positive team building exercise in the office. It also has the additional return of increasing company and employee recognition.
What should I consider before getting started?
Sometimes the hardest thing is getting started. Here are some tips to help you make those first steps.
- First, what is it that you want to share?
- Do you have coupons to distribute?
- Are you hiring?
- Is there major company news that you want the world to know?
- Knowing what to share is the primary concern employees always have.
- You also want to consider how to get employees to share content as well. Employee driven stories, news or related posts are great at driving authenticity and building trust which any company can benefit from.
And this is where a proper social media engagement strategy managed by an administrator who can guide the team through content sharing becomes valuable.
Reward employees for their efforts
The next major consideration is how to recognize and reward employees for their efforts. If any employee is broadcasting to their social networks on behalf of the company you and they will need to know the following.
- What will they get in return?
- Are they motivated by intrinsic or extrinsic values?
Either way, this is where gamification and incentivizing employee engagement comes into play. A simple leaderboard for who has the most shares or who has brought the most earned media value through their shares can create a healthy competition between colleagues.
How to make it easy
So how do you make it easy for employees to share with their social networks? You can email everyone in the company and gently nudge them to post to their social channels, you can send out a daily newsletter with shareable links, or you can work with a social technology platform designed to make it easy to manage and run an employee advocacy program.
The employee social media advocacy platform VoiceStorm creates a hub where
- Managers and employees can join and connect their social accounts,
- Post and share content
- Drive gamification with points and leader-boards
- Track performance with analytics that measures reach and engagement
However, with whatever sharing method you choose, I do want to stress the importance of not forcing employees to share. These are their social networks and an employee advocacy strategy is built on the trust that an employer has in their employees and vice-versa.
The benefits to the organization will come back full circle if the strategy is implemented properly.
Will They Do It?
We find that most commonly, over 50% of employees want to share news/info about their company, and that the more members that share, the higher levels of employee satisfaction, productivity and engagement is gained by those companies.
Best Practices for Employee Engagement
Here are the top ten best practices for social media employee engagement to ensure that your staff will indeed supercharge your social media marketing strategy.
- Align with corporate social media policy
- 100% opt-in optional program
- No surreptitious monitoring – transparent
- Recognize participation
- Team leaderboards & gaming
- “Always On” & “MobileFirst”
- Be authentic
- Give employees space
- Share employee posts/accounts
- Encourage employee content
Wrapping it up
The benefits of partnering with your employees to drive advocacy via their social networks is a win-win for everyone. Engaged employees can help increase productivity, customer satisfaction and profitability while reducing costs and turnover.
Author: Russ Fradin is the co-founder of Dynamic Signal. If you want to learn more about employee advocacy, visit Voicestorm.com
Want to learn how to build a global blog brand supercharged by social media ?
My book – “Blogging the Smart Way – How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media” – will show you how.
It is now available to download. I show you how to create and build a blog that rocks and grow tribes, fans and followers on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. It also includes dozens of tips to create contagious content that begs to be shared and tempts people to link to your website and blog.
I also reveal the tactics I used to grow my Twitter followers to over 140,000.
Image by Shutterstock