All Hands on Deck: How to Leverage Your Employees on Social MediaYour most important brand ambassadors are right in front of you: your employees.
Marketing your small business on social media is essential, but not always easy. To make the most of their online presence, brands must build a solid social media strategy and often invest financial resources, as well.
But there is another, often overlooked resource available to help you grow your social media following: your employees. Sure, you may have hired them to perform a specific function at your small business, but with a little direction, the people who work for you can become your best brand ambassadors online.
Incorporate your employees’ enthusiasm for social media into your marketing strategy with these tips from Tabitha Naylor, marketing consultant and founder of Successful Startup 101 Magazine.
Build a brand advocate team
Getting your employees to help promote your business’ social media posts can go a long way towards extending your audience reach and building brand awareness.
According to Naylor, the average Facebook user has around 130 friends, and the average Twitter user has about 127 followers. She suggested inviting engaged employees to be part of your “brand advocate team” and have them follow, like and share your company’s posts to their personal social media networks.
“Even if you have a staff of 20 and only eight choose to participate in a company-wide social media marketing initiative, you’re still getting your brand and your business in front of fresh eyes,” she said.
Naylor said business owners should carefully evaluate who they invite to be part of their brand advocate team to ensure they’re happy at their job and engaged with their fellow co-workers. Take a look at their personal social media feeds, she advised. “If there are negative posts there about your company, or overall job satisfaction, you’ll probably want to move on to the next person on your list.”
Provide ground rules and training
Once your squad of employee brand ambassadors is recruited, help them develop the skills they need to do an awesome job. Take time to communicate your expectations with your team and lay a few ground rules.
Training your employees about what’s acceptable — and what’s not — can help you avoid many of the common social media mistakes small businesses make, said Naylor. “Educating your employees about proper use of social media, especially on the company’s behalf, will go a long ways towards ensuring that your end goals are reached and your company reputation remains intact.”
Also, show your employees what great brand ambassadors look like. Find examples of appropriate social media posts, or even provide a few that they can copy and paste right into their own profiles, suggested Naylor. This can motivate staffers “who may be nervous about jumping on the company social media bandwagon,” she said, as well as help ensure your employees are sharing the right brand message.
Let them be your eyes and ears
In addition to amplifying your brand’s reach on social, your employees can also help you get a better understanding of consumer sentiment toward your business.
“It’s impossible to be anywhere and everywhere 24/7,” said Naylor. Having your own employees serve as your “eyes and ears” online can help you monitor what’s being said about your company and get a pulse on how customers feel about your products and services. “You’ll be more ‘in the know’ with how people are feeling towards your business — and it’s great for customer service too,” she said.
Stay aware and be proactive
From a branding perspective, it’s critical business owners remain vigilant in monitoring their company’s online presence — no matter how well-trained and enthusiastic their brand advocates may be, said Naylor.
While you should give your brand ambassadors the freedom to promote your brand in their own authentic voice, “equally important is playing Big Brother and constantly keeping an eye on things. So if something does happen, you’re proactive in how you handle it,” she said.
Naylor said the best way to keep things positive and running smoothly on social is to make it fun. “Spreading the word is easier when it’s something you enjoy. By creating a company culture that is dynamic and fun, there’s a higher probability that people will want to help out.”