Social media growth is a key sign of a healthy social media presence. While I’m a firm believer that the quality of your social audience is more important than the quantity, sometimes social media growth is a necessary goal. Unfortunately, we often overlook our most important and dedicated advocates.
People who already care about and believe in what your brand does might be sitting right next to you. I’m talking about your fellow employees! Your employees can be powerful brand advocates on social media. Do they know about your brand’s social media presence? Do you encourage them to connect and share? Are they? It’s important to include your employees on your brand’s social media journey, and there are steps you can take starting today.
Why is employee advocacy important to social media growth?
There isn’t a more powerful form of marketing than word-of-mouth. You’re more likely to try a product if a friend or family member says good things about it, am I right? As humans, a message from someone we know will usually carry more weight and authenticity than a message coming from a brand.
Your employees are individuals that genuinely care about your brand. At least I hope they do (if not, you have bigger fish to fry!) So, let’s try some basic math. Using Twitter as an example, multiply the total number of employees at your organization by 208 (Average number of followers per Twitter account). Now compare that to your brand’s total number of Twitter followers. For many brands, the employee number is much higher. For everyone, it’s a NICE addition to “reach.” Now consider that same effect across all social channels (even some the brand doesn’t use). Finally, consider the human advantage the employee’s social content will have over the brand’s social content.
5 steps to cultivate social media employee advocacy
1. Culture is key
Are change, innovation and unity across departments welcomed at your organization? It helps if the tone is set by executive leadership. Even if leadership doesn’t have interest personally participating, at least win their support and endorsement.
2. Empowering policy
Is your social media policy clear about how employees can engage with brand posts? Could it be clearer? When employees read it, do they feel excited and empowered, or overwhelmed and discouraged?
3. Don’t force it
Sharing about the brand through personal channels should not be a job requirement. That would almost surely squelch any chance at authenticity. Oh, and it’s not legal.
4. Start small
Is there a core group of employees that are really passionate about the brand? Or a group that is more social media savvy? Consider testing social media advocacy with them first to work out potential kinks and use as an example for others.
5. Offer carry-out
Some employees may have every intention of being an advocate through social media, but have no idea how to start. Outline some simple things employees can do to help expand the reach of the brand’s social media experience. Also consider providing pre-approved text, images and videos that employees can share.
Empowering and encouraging employees to connect with, engage with and share brand content on social media provides a strong foundation for social media growth. Try it!