Your employees can be an effective social media marketing resource for your company. According to Marisa Grimes’ Nielsen article “Global Consumers’ Trust In ‘Earned’ Advertising Grows In Importance,” over 92% of consumers trust products and services they know through word-of-mouth and recommendations from their friends and family.
When an employee truly understands and believes in your company, the employee’s enthusiasm will be evident in how they engage the audience on Facebook, Twitter and other social media marketing platforms. By communicating their passion to others, the level of employee engagement is more likely to attract potential sales prospects impressed by what they have read about your product and service.
There should also be social media guidelines created by upper-level management about what subjects are appropriate to discuss and which topics should be avoided. Since the material your employees communicate online has the potential to go viral globally and have embarrassing public repercussions on your company, a reasonable amount of discretion is strongly advisable when an employee talks about your company on different social media channels.
For example, employees should not disclose sensitive information about new products or services until after they have been launched and avoid making fun of other employees, supervisors or customers. Similarly, employees should not engage in debates concerning your company with unpleasant Internet “trolls.”
The social media guidelines of your company also need to be communicated to outside agencies if you outsource your social media marketing. Home improvement chain Home Depot recently experienced a public relations disaster when their social media partner agency created a tweet that implied racism. Consequently, Home Depot experienced considerable embarrassment and is reviewing its communication procedures to avoid causing similar offenses in the future.
So what is the most appropriate content to discuss in social media? Well-written guidelines could mention that employees could discuss new products or services after they become available to the public and how those company offerings benefit consumers or businesses. Other topics may include important company milestones, how the business earned special recognition from a customer or how the employee participated in a charitable activity to benefit a local or national nonprofit organization.
When creating any content for a social media platform, the employee should be transparent about his or her connection with the company to avoid creating a negative impression. The content should not appear self-promotional, but should be worded in a way that resonates with customers, entices the interest of potential users and makes them want to learn more about the product or service.
Employees could also be encouraged to attend social media communications training programs if they are not familiar with the communication requirements of social media platforms and need the additional training. Incentive programs could be implemented as well to encourage employee participation.
When social media communication is done properly by your employees, it has the potential to create powerful relationships. By developing these relationships with current and potential customers, your employees can significantly enhance your company’s bottom line.