Employee participation in social media is an influential way of building customer trust and attracting sales leads to your company.
According to a SlideShare presentation “War of Words: Myth-Busting Social, SEO & Content Marketing” from Minnesota-based online marketing company TopRank Online Marketing, 82% of customers say they trust a company more when the CEO and leadership team are active on the social web.
Commonly, many of your company employees regularly use social media sites such as Facebook,
Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter. Other employees who love photography may use their smartphones to upload Instagram photos of company events, trade fairs or conferences to their Twitter or Facebook accounts.
To influence brand awareness to potential customers and retain current customers, your employees are a useful resource in helping you build your social media presence. When your employees reinforce what your marketing department says in its marketing projects such as websites and brochures, that is a persuasive way to affect the public’s opinion of your company.
However, it is best to have a predetermined plan before you ask your employees to mention your company in their social media accounts, so that your employees don’t accidentally make statements that embarrass your company. That plan should contain these seven vital steps:
1) Create a written policy
Create a written policy that clearly defines what can and what cannot be said on social media sites. Because postings and tweets about a company are commonly seen worldwide, employees’ negative comments about an organization damage its reputation, discourage customers from purchasing products or services, and result in financial losses. An unambiguous social media policy, however, eliminates potential confusion.
2) Train employees properly
Employees who are unused to social media may need training about the etiquette of different social media sites and how to disclose when they are company employees. Employees should also be trained in how to make polite responses to comments or when to avoid talking to unpleasant Internet users (trolls).
3) Get different levels of involvement
Get different levels of involvement involved from the C-suite to front-line employees. Upper-level managers and employees should participate in social media policy meetings to determine when new products or services can be mentioned in social media postings. Employees should wait until a project is ready to launch to prevent competitors from using the concept.
4) Get your employees to be excited
Get your employees to be excited about new developments within your company. Make sure that employees believe in what they’re promoting. When they can communicate this enthusiasm to their own social media networks, their conviction and authenticity influences their family members, friends and business acquaintances.
5) Make content easy to share
Shareable content that employees can discuss in social media and send to others includes e-books, company blog posts, white papers, webinars and podcasts. This type of previously approved content is easy to share on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and other social media websites.
6) Motivate your employees
Give your employees an incentive to share your organization’s content. Incentives may include company recognition e-mails, gift cards or other rewards.
7) Track employees’ use of social media
Track employees’ use of social media through hashtags and keywords. Monitoring hashtags and keywords provides valuable insights about the level of your employee engagement and how that employee participation affects your company.