Engaging employees in social media communication as the company’s ambassadors interests multiple organizations. My experience shows that some organizations already have employees who are willing to share content without specific incentives, thus strengthening both their personal and company brands. Other organizations view employee advocacy as a strategic move and, aiming to motivate the employees, start by introducing them to the basics of content creation. Often, I receive questions about where companies should begin, how they can motivate people, and ensure continuous employee advocacy after the training ends. Below, I’m sharing some of the most frequently asked questions and answers to them.
Why should we engage employees in communication?
Inviting employees to contribute to the company’s communication on social media is beneficial for a few reasons. Firstly, it is often the employees who know the company’s culture, products or services, and values best. As a result, employees can create authentic messages, giving a personal spin to the company’s stories. Such content is often perceived as more convincing and trustworthy compared to official, polished messages published on the company’s page. It also seems more credible in the eyes of current and potential clients as well as talents. Secondly, when there are a few employees spreading the same message from personal accounts, it is likely to reach a greater total audience than one single post from a company’s account. Finally, while the employees are improving their knowledge about personal branding and communications, they gain more confidence, learn to engage in public, and acquire new skills (for example, strengthen their creative and effective writing skills), which are often useful at work, even if the person doesn’t work in communications.
Is it just the managers’ job to be proactive and share content about the organizations?
Research shows that people tend to trust organizations whose managers are active on social media more than those whose managers don’t have public profiles. The CEO is usually the face of the organization, and their communication on social media and beyond can significantly influence the public view of the organization.
That being said, managers are not the only ones who can represent the company on social media. There are a few aspects we need to discuss here. Firstly, if the manager is hired (i.e., is not the owner of the company), we recommend having a few representatives on social media (e.g., the whole management team). This helps to maintain consistent communication if the CEO leaves the company. Another reason for engaging more employees is the possibility to discover communication talents who, without having very high positions, can attract the audience with their unique writing style, the skill to communicate stories from the company, or otherwise appeal to social media users. If you are still at the stage of considering engaging employees in communication on social media, make sure to overview your goals. They will help you identify the target audience of the program within the organization.
How can I inform my employees about what kind of content they can create to avoid sharing confidential information or messages that don’t align with the company’s views?
Before beginning the employee advocacy initiative, I recommend preparing employee communication guidelines that could overview the following aspects: recommended content topics, photos and visuals provided by the organization, keywords, hashtags, and others. It is important to include examples of content that should not be made public, like information about clients, future projects, and so on. Usually, such guidelines fit within a few pages. To make sure employees pay proper attention to them, I recommend initiating a meeting during which the responsible person (perhaps the marketing or another manager initiating the program) would draw attention to the most crucial aspects.
How can I motivate employees to engage more actively and share content about the organization on social media?
My experience shows that the biggest motivator for employees to share content is the wish to learn and experiment. In Lithuania, we don’t have many organizations that offer tangible benefits for communication. Usually, employees are encouraged with small gifts – movie tickets, dinner coupons, or the company’s merchandise. Experimenting with such external motivation tools can be worth it, but they will only work if the people willing to engage in communicating on social media are motivated internally, too. This can be ensured with opportunities to learn and improve at work, encouragement from management, and later – mentioning successful examples during company meetings.
Should employees be encouraged to share content on different social networks?
The choice of social networks where you encourage employees to communicate should be made based on the organization’s goals, target audience, and current engagement of the employees. LinkedIn is currently the most popular channel because it has the biggest concentration of people looking for work, but you should assess the habits of the employees you are looking for. If it is a very young audience, you could even use platforms like TikTok. However, the most significant factor is your employees’ skills and preferences. For someone who has never used Instagram before, starting to share content on this platform may be unusual at best and awkward at worst. To avoid this, I recommend introducing the employees to the basic principles of the channel, communication, and personal brand development.
Will employee advocacy initiatives always bring value to the organization? Yes, if you have properly prepared for it and can ensure longevity. You can achieve the latter by periodically repeating the main points of training and by encouraging the participating employees to share lessons they have learned and the best practices.
Interested in employee advocacy programme for your organization? Reach out.
You may find this article in the Lithuanian language here.