Are your employees advocates for your company’s social media (SM) marketing campaigns? Is it even wise to give staff access to SM during work hours? And what could possibly go wrong?
With a well-thought-out advocacy program, employee engagement on social media can be a huge success for your company. It keeps employees involved while extending the company’s social reach. However, there are risks and disadvantages without a clear plan. Potential vulnerabilities include security issues, negative exposure, harassment, and more.
This article explores how a social media plan can support your marketing strategy. We share quick tips and tools for getting the most out of engaged employees. Plus, we cover the areas you need to consider to protect your online networks.
But first, an outline of a typical employee engagement program.
The Employee Engagement Social Media Strategy
Social media engagement is important to a modern marketing strategy. The aim is to turn your staff into loyal brand advocates. It doesn’t need to be complicated, but it must be right. The SM engagement program uses responsible employees to amplify your brand visibility on the major social media platforms.
The Benefits of Employee Media Strategy Campaigns
The point of a media strategy is to identify the characteristics of your target audience. That could be potential customers or existing clients. You then control who receives what content using the best media and people to deliver the message. Successful employee advocacy programs result in greater organic exposure for your brand without additional online advertising costs.
|Gallup Workplace Engagement Stats: Engaged businesses achieve a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 17% overall increase in workplace productivity.|
Employee Participation Creates Trust
Consumers view a company’s social media presence like they do online ads—with some skepticism. They expect you only to post good things about your products or services. But when employees promote and share your content, there’s less skepticism. That’s because their friends and followers respect them and trust what they say.
Employee Shares Reach More Eyeballs
Studies reveal that people trust other people more so than brands and ads. LinkedIn research found that employee social networks are—on average—10x larger than corporate brands. Another study saw that employee shares had a 561% further reach than branded channels  .
Various case studies show that employee shares come across as more authentic. Thus, viewers engage more with the content and receive a 2x higher click-through rate.
|Statista Research Department: In 2021, 82% of the US population had at least one active social networking profile. That equates to around 223 million users at the last count.|
Beating the SM Algorithms
Social media feed algorithms use rules and data that pick and choose what users see on SM platforms. The problem with custom algorithms is that they’re built to downplay content from brands and companies. After all, SM platforms make most of their money by selling advertising space to companies. Why would they let you advertise effectively on their platform for free?
The employee social media engagement strategy is how you can beat the SM algorithms. When employees engage and share your social media content it increases its visibility and reaches more eyeballs for free.
How Media Engagement Works
A typical engagement strategy encourages staff to share branded content via their well-established profiles. It also employs various tools to distribute content and track performance quickly and efficiently. More on that shortly.
Why the Social Media Strategy Works?
Engagement programs are an effective way to reach your target audience through trusted advocates. And when it comes to marketing, trust is everything. The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer rates trust in different sources by percentage. And it seems that consumers believe regular employees even more than company CEOs .
What’s in it for Your Engaged Employees
Employee advocacy offers plenty of positive spinoffs. Those engaged at work feel valued, which results in higher retention rates. That, in turn, improves workplace morale, job satisfaction, productivity, and worker loyalty. And regular engagement on social media amplifies one’s pride and expertise within the industry.
|Zenefits 2020 study: Research saw that 63.3% of companies say retaining quality people is more difficult than hiring them. The solution is to engage the workforce.|
Builds Personal Professional Network
Highlighting one’s expertise builds new contacts with industry peers. Employees on social media get to see a rise in connection requests on platforms like LinkedIn. There should also be a significant increase in engagement and new followers. These are not random individuals; they’re people in your industry that you want in your network.
Improves Overall Awareness and Job Satisfaction
Employee advocacy helps steer staff members by promoting company-specific initiatives critical to your business. They gain more awareness of your mission by learning what you promote and where.
Leadership support builds robust networks across your organization, resulting in more job satisfaction. Staff engagement benefits the workers in multiple ways for any industry, whatever its size or function.
Other Advantages of Social Engagement
Other advantages of engaging loyal, trustworthy staff members include:
- SM makes leaders more relatable, especially to younger workers
- Promotes workplace camaraderie
- Used to publicly acknowledge and reward worker accomplishments
- Breaks from regular working routines offer a mental respite
|Breaks Matter: According to research, breaks are good for mental and spiritual well-being. Breaks from regular work routines help reset mood and reduce stress.|
So far, we’ve outlined the employer and employee benefits of social marketing. Now let’s see how to develop a complete employee engagement makeover.
How to Develop Your Employee Social Media Strategy
Every business setup is different, but you can use these steps as a foundation for your staff marketing strategy. Ideally, you want to work closely with your human resource (HR) department if you have one.
We’ve categorized the checklist into two parts, research, and execution.
Checklist 1 (Research)
- Find inspiration through online online marketing case studies
- Get to know your target audience
- Identify your competition
- Set realistic SMART goals*
* S.M.A.R.T is a mnemonic-type acronym that means Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound. It’s a logical goal framework to help guide actions that produce successful results.
Checklist 2 (Execution)
- Set up accounts for staff members
- Prepare a content calendar
- Create compelling content
- Begin the campaign
- Audit and learn from your current SM strategy if you have one
- Track performance and tweak your approach as necessary
|2016 Gallup Study: Engaged teams have 24%–59% less staff turnover, 10% higher customer ratings, and 21% greater profitability than disengaged teams.|
Get Your Draft Plan Down
Every successful social media engagement campaign begins with a plan, but there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. You will also want to set a few ground rules and get them into a formal written policy. The idea is to ensure your staff adheres to guidelines for posts and comments, but the rules should be fair and the goals realistic.
Make it a Team Effort
Encourage open discussion. Invite ideas, and offer incentives to improve the employee social marketing campaign. Anything that motivates your workforce will keep them energized and interested and show that your company cares. Consider prizes for the best performers, run contests, and give them the tools needed to succeed.
Streamline Campaigns, Gauge Critical Metrics
The only way to know what’s working and what’s not is to track metrics. Doing this will help advance your employee engagement social media strategy. Fortunately, there are some brilliant tools available for this. They make it easy to schedule and publish content, respond to messages, and analyze your performance across the networks.
Below are 7 management platforms and tools best suited for SMB owners. Most offer the features above, so we’ll only highlight the unique characteristics of each.
- Buffer: a streamlined, highly intuitive management platform
- Hootsuite: manages your entire media campaign in one place
- Sprout Social: like Hootsuite but with CRM features
- AgoraPulse: includes a competitor analysis feature and FB contest apps
- CoSchedule: powerful calendar to manage all your marketing needs
- eClincher: has smart queues, a media library, and SM influencer search
- Social Pilot: curates content and suggests industry-related material
Management Tools for Larger Concerns
Larger enterprises may need more powerful tools to boost and analyze their presence and performance. Five of the current favorites are:
- Salesforce Social Studio: aligns SM marketing, customer service, and sales
- Oktopost B2B: employee advocacy and media management tools
- Sprinklr: A real-time AI-powered social listening tool
- HubSpot: compares results across channels; measures ROI
- Falcon.io:includes a DIY landing page builder
There are others, so take your time before deciding on a program best suited to your business. Most platforms have free or trial versions for you to experiment with.
Employer Concerns Over its Social Media Accounts
Employees active in social media marketing campaigns shouldn’t be open to all. These are roles for your most trusted team members who know how to separate the personal from professional. But most important of all, create a formal policy, but don’t just present the document. Instead, let your staff help you draft it.
The policy should include the following (and anything else that matters to you):
- All users must approve and sign the officially agreed policy
- Agree to official disclaimers when posting or promoting
- Posts and shares must be in line with company practices and aims
Partner with Bold Entity for Your Employee Engagement
Bold Entity is a B2B-focused marketing resource/partner for small to medium-sized businesses. We understand the challenges and complexity of creating effective employee social media marketing strategies. Our expert, personalized services help SMBs like yours significantly expand their social reach through organic posting and SM advertising.
Bold Entity is known for its results-driven approach. We help clients implement complex holistic marketing strategies that create results and achieve goals.
The pros of giving trusted workers access to the company’s social media accounts far outweigh the cons. It fosters trust, makes staff feel appreciated, your marketing campaigns can help generate a fun and rewarding working environment.