If you’re looking to convert employees to brand ambassadors, you may have a long road ahead. But when employees share social media content about your company, it can generate eight times more engagement than when you post through official channels. People love authenticity. Hearing from employees who love where they work is likely to have an impact on the decision consumers make.
Get Buy-In From Top Executives
A solid and supportive company culture, which makes employees passionate about their company, begins with support and encouragement from the top. If you’re a marketing specialist looking to convert employees to brand ambassadors, make sure to get buy-in and direction from the company leader first.
Give Employees Clear Direction
If you’re asking employees to share information about the company, you’ll want to make sure it’s on message and on brand. This eliminates two struggles: employees not knowing what to post and employees sharing messages that are off brand or not about the product features you want to emphasize. (Or even worse, employees sharing inaccurate information with consumers.)
Setting up social media guidelines can help employees know what they should and should not share, to ensure consistent messaging even if they decide to create their own posts.
Don’t Let Employees Go Rogue (Too Much)
Letting employees create their own content will ensure that their messages are authentic and heartfelt — which means they will resonate with consumers. But you don’t want them to share misinformation. Closely monitor employees’ social media accounts to ensure that their messages are on brand.
And if it’s not? Don’t be too hard on them for trying. As a company, you can’t control what they say on their private social media channels if it isn’t breaching any contracts or violating nondisclosure agreements. But you can guide them to the right message that will reflect well on them and your company.
Create Content That Makes It Easy for Employees To Share
One way to ensure that your employees who post on social media stay on message is to provide high-quality and informative content they can share. If your company has a sale, send out an email or post on Slack with suggested content for LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Insta — including graphics. If your company creates an informative blog post, send out a suggested teaser employees can use across social media channels.
Don’t Add to Overstressed Employees’ Task Lists
Ian Cook published in the Harvard Business Review that companies that experienced the highest quit rates in the last two years were in fields that saw extreme increases in demand due to the pandemic, including health care and technology. Now, as needs shift, these numbers may also include retail and hospitality workers.
Increased workloads and employee burnout are driving the Great Resignation; you don’t want “sharing on social media” to become another task for overburdened workers. Instead, make it easy and fun by giving employees ready-to-share content that they can personalize if they want.
It’s important to set up a tracking system for employees who participate in sharing your message through social media. Then you can incentivize participation with rewards such as gift cards, company swag, or other perks.
Decide whether you want to make rewards based on results or participation. Offering rewards based on results could dishearten employees who don’t have big networks or keep their social media private. But on the other hand, it could encourage them to grow their networks to spread the word. Ultimately, your employees who are the most influential within their following — garnering the most views and shares — will have the biggest impact on your marketing efforts.
Forcing employees to share social media when they already feel overworked and underappreciated could be the step that drives them to ramp up their social activity — sharing their résumé to find a new job. Incentivize participation, but don’t force it. Employees who don’t want to share aren’t likely to become the brand ambassadors you want representing your company. Let them stick to the job they do well.
Encourage User-Generated Content
Work-at-home employees may feel disconnected during the pandemic. Encourage them to get to know each other through social media. Encourage user-generated content (as long as it’s on brand) to help your employees show their style and passion for their jobs.
You can also boost engagement and camaraderie by creating a collaborative TikTok post. Find the latest trend and ask each employee to create a 3-second video. Have your creative team stitch them together into a compilation to share. Reward workers who participate with a lunch, a coupon for takeout, or some other small perk.
Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer specializing in technology, e-commerce, and finance, and is the owner of the boutique content-marketing agency Allcot Media and GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel and entertainment website.