Today, when you have a look into the different social media platforms, you will meet several of your colleagues. You are linked to some of them on Facebook; others mention that they work in the same company as you on LinkedIn, etc. In 2017 we had 2,46 billion social media users worldwide (statista) and by 2021 we will reach more than 3 billion (statista). Therefore it is necessary for companies to actively use these platforms in their daily activities. Certainly, your company’s social media outreach can grow dramatically if all of your employees help to spread your message.
What are the main channels and which platforms a company should use?
Facebook is the most popular social media channel worldwide. More than 2 billion people use it, followed by Youtube and WhatsApp (statista). But these platforms have different functionalities: when Facebook is more dedicated to relationships, LinkedIn is more linked to identity, so a professional networking, and YouTube about sharing videos. (Smith 2007).
So companies should really consider: what is their main message? What information they would like to spread through these different channels? And in the end: what are the right ones for their business? Make sure you think this through and select the right social media for your marketing mix.
How can companies onboard employees as social media ambassadors?
What companies should understand is that employees have two different identities in social media: they are both a professional and a civilian.
When they represent their company online,, employees should understand the way of working as well as the vision and mission of the company when they are using these platforms. If they all speak the same language it becomes easier to share a common spirit and/or message throughout social networks.
One essential point is to check that all employees can actually access social networks from their company network. Many companies block Facebook, YouTube or Second Life on corporate PCs fearing that staff might spend too much time networking instead of working.
However if a company would like to introduce their employees to social media, it is necessary to open it for all. It will be also necessary to develop certain guidelines for Social Media usage and to create a new risk management because a large number of employees may be creating content or interacting with customers on behalf of the organization . The risks involved could be violations of the firm’s policies, security breaches, breaches of client confidentiality and leaks of intellectual property.
5 Tips to involve employees in social media marketing
B2B companies can influence the content creation of employees in two ways:
- Indirectly through training
- Directly by controlling content creation or adding and removing content through corporate user accounts
Five quick tips to get you started:
This is one of the first actions a company should take when they would like to involve their employees in social media.They want their employees to present themselves online in a way that’s consistent with the brand and its policies. A basic social media and policy training is mandatory, for example how to set-up and optimize profiles.
The next level is supporting the sales teams to leverage social media platforms (such as LinkedIn) for networking and relationship building or recruiters for finding potential candidates on social channels. Including everyone in the company’s social media effort is more complicated than just telling employees to share links on their profiles. Companies have to coordinate the efforts so everyone understands the core social strategy.
2. Involve employees from the start
Many people will find many new ideas. Find a place where they can share their ideas and talk about it. With a big brainstorming group a company will always find new ideas to talk about and employees will rather share something they were involved in. Sometimes you can also motivate employees when you start a challenge on social media where employees can win a price.
3. Centralize communication
Today you will find many tools to centralize communication. For example ‘social seeder’ or ‘drumUp’. People can easily share and schedule shares across their own social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. A company can create their own groups and see what happens on the several social networks. So you can also influence what people are sharing.
4. Show your human touch
Companies should show that they are a nice company to work with. Many companies only share news about products or they use social media for searching new people. But it can also be a good opportunity to show the daily life inside the company. For example pictures about the last meeting or company celebrations. Employees rather share contributions with which they can identify themselves.
5. Share your effort
At least share your effort. If employees can see what results a company can get through their sharing, they will be proud of it. So keep everyone in the loop and employees will be marketer for the own company!
Marketing Communication Manager – Desoutter Tools Central Europe
After studying industrial engineering, working now more than 10 years in marketing environment. Enjoys paragliding, cycling and other outdoor activities.
Smith,G. 2007: Social software building blocks
Lauri Huotari, Pauliina Ulkuniemi, Saila Saraniemi, Minna Mäläskä, (2015): Analysis of content creation in social media by B2B companies
Jan H. Kietzmann, Kristopher Hermkens, Ian P. McCarthy, Bruno S. Silvestre: Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media
Andreas M. Kaplan, Michael Haenlein: Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media http://michaelhaenlein.com/Publications/Kaplan,%20Andreas%20-%20Users%20of%20the%20world,%20unite.pdf
Mary J. Culnan Bentley University (U.S.) Patrick J. McHugh Bentley University (U.S.) Jesus I. Zubillaga Bentley University (U.S.): How Large U.S. Companies Can Use Twitter and Other Social Media to Gain Business Value: http://www.misqe.org/ojs2/index.php/misqe/article/viewFile/342/259
Ryan Chynces and Michelle Kostya: Time to take employee social media training seriously: https://blog.hootsuite.com/why-you-should-initiate-social-media-training-for-your-employees-and-4-ways-to-make-it-stick/
Ann Smartly: How to include all employees in your social media marketing: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-include-all-employees-in-your-social-media-marketing/