By Eric Cook, MBA
Social Media Consultant
Featured at INB’s Executive Speaker Series April 2015
According to the folks at LinkedIn, the typical member of the world’s #1 business social network is connected to 10 times more people than their business has followers. Additionally, they’ve found an employee of an organization is three times more believable than the CEO of the company when posting or sharing information. However, despite the fact that our employees can be a very powerful “voice” to help spread the word about our business, few have implemented a formal process to train and empower their staff to help extend the reach of the business via social media.
What’s that you say . . . “my business is on Facebook, and we post updates there every week for our fans to read.” Did you know that according to Facebook’s own tracking metrics, just over 6% of those that have “Liked” your page will ever see your business’ updates in their newsfeed? That’s right 6%! But if you get your employees to participate in the process and stop by to like and share your updates, their “social assistance” can expose your business to so many more people (and you don’t have to spend dollars paying Facebook to “boost” your post either). And if you are a local service business, chances are a good number of friends of your employees on Facebook live in the area (but it’s safe to say that 100% of your employees’ friends don’t use your services – so there’s opportunity to grow this market).
When you get your employees on board to help spread the word on social media, you can tap into the “power” that exists in harnessing these connections for the benefit of the organization. While few companies have developed a formal process for getting their staff engaged and using social networking, that doesn’t mean you have to be one of them. By acting now, you can take a big step towards building your reputation in social media . . .all with the help of your employees.
Chances are someone in the marketing department creates the posts, shares information and does the updates to your various social accounts. While this is perfectly acceptable, and may even be a requirement so that you maintain an “official voice” for the company, your employees present a tremendous opportunity (as you can tell from the statistics shared above) due to their larger network of connections and level of trust.
Getting your staff engaged as part of your social media process does not have to be difficult, but it does require a little bit of planning. Here are some suggestions for creating a “socially-empowered” staff that will help you reach more customers (and prospects) and help grow the presence of your brand on social media.
- Establish Guidelines – When you decide to move towards a socially-empowered workforce, it’s a good idea to spell out the “laws of the land” and ensure everyone knows how the process works. Depending on your industry, you may not want to have employees creating their own posts and, in most cases, the person who manages social media will remain the “formal voice” of the company so the message is consistent and in line with rules and any regulatory/compliance requirements. You’ll need to decide if an employee can post their own updates about the business or if you want to encourage them to share, comment and like posts to help with engagement. Each has their advantages, so be sure to give this some careful consideration.
- Provide Training – Once you’ve decided how you want to roll out your program, you’ll want to make sure that everyone knows how they can help. Take time to train people on your guidelines, including step-by-step instructions of how to share one of your posts, whether it’s via Facebook, LinkedIn or on Twitter. While to some this process may seem simple and straightforward, it’s a good idea to review how this works with everyone and show them just how easy it is.
- Make it Easy – At first you may want to email your staff with the links they can use to share on social media sites. You can also alert them when you’ve updated a new post on one of your social networks and encourage them to stop by and interact. Eventually, employees may start sharing your posts automatically, but the easier you make it for everyone at the beginning, the faster you’ll see results.
- Share Your Success – As momentum grows and more employees participate in helping you “get the word out” be sure to provide feedback along the way. You can keep an eye on your Facebook Insights or even Google Analytics on your website to see when you’ve “moved the needle.” While you may not see direct sales at first, it’s not uncommon for this strategy to help keep your business “top of mind” in so when someone you’re connected with finally is at the point where they need to make a purchase decision, they think of you.
So what do you think? Have you empowered your employees to be a voice for your business on social media, or maybe you’re going to give it consideration? We’d love to hear what you think and what challenges your business faced (or you think you’ll face) when rolling this out to staff. Let us know in the comments below… oh, and feel free to share this post on social media if you’d like to give us a hand!