How-Tu Tuesday: Engaging With Employees On Social Media

Picture for Rene Looper Rene Looper

January 26th 2016

Social media should not be seen only as a tool to communicate with your customers; it should also be considered an important platform for reaching out to your employees, especially if there are multiple teams working in various locations.

Social media can also serve more than one purpose when involving employees. It can communicate key messages with the team that would otherwise be sent via newsletters, emails and employee dashboards. However, many employees may not pay attention to these messages and are more active on social channels including Twitter and Facebook. Social platforms also serve for sharing quick, non-confidential messages which don’t require an extensive explanation, but do contain key information about the company that employees should be aware of. To use social media in this way, brands must create separate accounts as the messages being sent to customers and employees are of a completely different nature.

As well as using social media to inform employees of internal company updates, engaging with employees on social media can also include brand-promotion. Initially, it may seem strange to use your employees as promotional tools, but many brands are beginning to realise the marketing potential within their very own team, many of whom already have active social accounts and use it just like their customers do; to talk to friends, share opinions and of course, many of them will use it to talk to other brands as a customer service route.

Employees themselves can also benefit from actively supporting and commenting about the company they work for via their social channels, as it can help grow their own following and network.

If your team does choose to integrate employee brand promotion into their social messages, then it is important to formulate a strategy in order to get the most effective results. Employees should be thought of as any other media or influencer partnership; it is crucial that it remains authentic and not forced.

The following best practices should be adopted:

Create Guidelines

Many employers create social media policies for their workers, not only for employees who are promoting the brand specifically, but for anyone active on social platforms, as they are seen to be representing the company (especially if they name their workplace in their bio). When crafting these policies, many employers take the “what not to do” approach and tell their staff to avoid mentioning the company in their social posts. However, this can sometimes make employees feel like they are being told what they can and cannot say on their own accounts and this especially does not work if you are trying to encourage your team to take part in brand-promotion. Employers should give general guidelines to their employees and provide them with examples of appropriate social profiles and messages to share.

Allow For Freedom of Speech

By involving your employees in promoting the brand and becoming an advocate for the company, it is important that it sounds organic and authentic so other social users and customers believe it. Conversations on social media should not be dictated to the employee, and instead, the team member should have the freedom to express their own opinion and maintain their own voice, keeping it in line with the rest of their social postings. Again, this conveys a genuine appreciation for the company’s product/service and positive feelings towards the brand. Employers should help employees craft their messages, but never instruct exactly what should be said.

Be Respectful of Employees’ Boundaries

Employers should always be aware of the array of personalities and social media abilities within their team. Involving staff in brand-promotion should not be expected from employees, and brands must always take this into account when approaching their staff to take part. Some employees will be happy to share their own experiences with the brand and don’t mind blurring the lines between personal and professional on their social accounts, however, this will not always be the case, and many may feel uncomfortable or confused about how to approach it. Highlight this in the guidelines you set and ensure employees always feel happy about what you are asking them to do and not pressured in any way. This again shines a light on the importance of these messages always reflecting the employee,s true feelings towards the brand.

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