How do we help employees to advocate for our brand?
When social media first became the hottest marketing tool, many businesses didn’t want anything to do with it. They made sure Facebook and Twitter were blocked on their server and any interaction or engagement would have to wait until employees got home. Then smart phones made it impossible to keep employees off these networks because during break or lunch time, they could access them without being on the company server or time.
Fast forward and now, as we identify trends for 2017, we are looking for our employees to be our advocates and super fans. We want them to share information about our products and services with their friends and family. How do we create a culture of engagement with a group of employees who have made a conscious effort to exclude information, on social networks, about where they work?
It’s no longer just the responsibility of the marketing department to spread the good word of your brand, it’s a team approach. The more employees we have engaging with our brand, listening to what others are saying, identifying those who may need our products and services, the easier it is for us to win over customers. It’s world of mouth!
Here are three steps to consider as you work with your employees to create better brand engagement:
1. Have the Conversation
For many employees, they don’t know how all aspects of social engagement work. As much as they use social media, they don’t necessarily understand all the moving pieces, especially in a marketing capacity. Questions and statements you might hear…
- Isn’t Linkedin for your resume or when you are looking for a new job?
- Why do you want us sharing information with our friends and family? They already know where we work.
- I keep my accounts private, I don’t mix work with my personal life.
- I belong to Facebook Business Page but I never see any of the posts.
- I don’t even know what information you share online.
Give your employees a training overview of the networks and how they function from a business profile perspective VS a personal profile. When employees understand what the marketing team does behind the scenes and why they do it, there is a better understanding of the social networks. If there are employees that are willing to help create and share information online, consider adding them as an administrator on some of the networks. It goes back to that team approach. Identify what they will do and make sure you have rules in place for the appropriateness of the information being shared.
2. Create Better Linkedin Profiles
When I teach Linkedin strategies, the first question I ask the employees is, “How many people use Linkedin?” I would say 75-80% of the group raise their hand. My next question is, “How well do you use Linkedin?” That number drops to about 20%. Many employees have opened Linkedin accounts, but they don’t see the value because they truly don’t know how to use them. After training and allowing employees to update their profiles, they feel better about using the network. Better understanding, better engagement. A few things that can help employees feel more comfortable:
- Hire a professional photographer to come in and take head shots for Linkedin profiles. It provides an opportunity for employees to add or update their picture, not only on Linkedin but on other social networks.
- Make sure contact information is updated and completed. Don’t miss out on someone passing your information on to a potential client or customer.
- Offer a completed executive summary statement about the business and have it available for employees to use on their profile. Some employees get overwhelmed if they aren’t great writers or don’t know what to put in an executive summary. It’s not mandatory to use, it’s offered to make it easier to complete their profile.
- If your business has pictures, videos, blog articles or coverage in the press you would like employees to share on their profile, offer urls so they can embedded them easily.
- Make sure employee profiles connect with your Linkedin Business Page. Let people meet you staff.
- Give endorsements in the skills that employees excel. Recommendations can be a touchy subject, depending on the business, but endorsing a skill set is easy.
3. Join Social Media Business Pages
Ask employees to join your business profile pages on other social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Snapchat. Explain to them that even though they join the page, they may not see company posts as often as they think. Due to social network algorithms, a small number of posts are seen by the entire group. The more employees engage with the page, the better chance they have of seeing more posts.
Ask employees if they would be willing to like, comment and share some of the information from these pages. I always suggest to groups to like and comment when they can and if the information is appropriate for their audience, feel free to hit the share button.
These are just a few ideas that can get you started. These things will help employees advocate for your brand so, have the conversation about social engagement, create opportunities for training and education and involve those you see as brand ambassadors.
You’ll be amazed at the results.