Social media has become a necessity for businesses wanting to grow their brands and connect with customers. Moreover, employees can be some of a brand's best ambassadors, even surpassing the influence of customers.
Social media provides an important channel for employees to advocate their company, organization, or non-profit, and can unite those employees as a loyal and vigorous force in the marketplace.
Unfortunately, a continual pain point for companies is growing and encouraging social activity among their employees. Even businesses that have built a strong social presence struggle to generate any kind of regular social engagement among their workforce.
Moreover, 21.6% of respondents say they do not post their company's news on their personal social media accounts because they don't know whether their employer wants them to share updates, according to a recent report.
Another 15.6% reported that they are afraid "they'll share the wrong thing."
There are two real issues at play here:
- Companies do not know how to harness the power of their employees as brand ambassadors.
- Employees overestimate the difficulty of social media, overrate the time required to engage, and are afraid of making mistakes.
All those concerns stem from a lack of established corporate boundaries and guidelines essential to social media education and employee engagement.
The good news for employers and employees is that those issues can (and should) be addressed through adequate and strategic social media training. Much like the military judiciously prepares their soldiers before sending them in to combat, companies should be training and explaining the rules of social engagement to their employees before sending them to the frontlines.
Carin Warner is founder and president of Warner Communications, a world-class boutique agency focused on strategic integrated marketing communications for a wide range of industries, including consumer, B2Bl, professional services, technology, energy, academic and industrial organizations.
LinkedIn: Carin Warner