Who knows your business as well (if not better) than you do? The people who work in your business, of course! And I’m not talking about a sales staff. I’m talking about your nuts-and-bolts employees who know the everyday ins and outs, whether they work with your customers, handle inventory or do the behind-the-scenes work that helps run your company. In today’s socially-connected world, employees are often an untapped resource that (with a little guidance) could exponentially expand your company’s word-of-mouth reach. Empower them so they can power your business.
Your employees can easily use these four social platforms to help spread the word about your company:
LinkedIn: Especially if your company is B2B, have a company profile on LinkedIn, and encourage all employees to have personal profiles that link them to your company. Each person has talents and skills they contribute to your business that could be highlighted with your company’s keywords in each employee’s summary and experience areas. LinkedIn Recommendations can also increase your company’s visibility in the channel. Encourage employees to join groups where they can share their insights and answer questions… and especially to publish and build their own expertise.
Facebook: If you have a business page on Facebook, encourage them to link to it in the “About” section of their profile. Also, set up a private group where your employees can collaborate. Seek out groups that fit your company niche and encourage employees to join; not to SPAM others with your messaging, but to find ways to contribute, answer questions, share expertise, etc. Employees can, and should learn how to use this platform to build their personal brand and engender strong relationships… the reach and power here is not available anywhere else.
Twitter: Twitter is a great place to provide an extra level of customer service that goes beyond your own company brand on Twitter. Some companies develop Twitter handles for their customer-facing employees and help develop that person’s “personal” brand, such as @jim_companysvc, with a personal photo rather than the company logo. People-to-people interaction gives your brand a more human touch. Each person can actively “listen” for company mentions, questions and conversation around company keywords and jumps into the conversation where appropriate—even if it’s just to thank someone for mentioning, re-tweeting. Encourage them to share tweets around your company’s activities and content. Come up with a company hashtag or a series of hashtags (e.g. #companyname, #companyevent) and pre-craft tweets to make it easy. They can just cut and paste to share on their Twitter feed.
Instagram: Even if you don’t have a photogenic product, your employees can still spread positive messaging about your company with Instagram… and make people feel a part of what you do. From photos of groups in the lunchroom, to customer gatherings, to pre-approved behind-the-scenes photos, there are so many ways your employees can highlight insights that can build your brand AND pull in prospects.
A little encouragement goes a long way!
Set some formal guidelines, keeping in mind that if you clamp down to hard on employees they may simply back away from participating. Offer in-house social training, led by your best in-house (but only if you really have them) and local experts. Consider offering incentive programs to reward those employees who provide the most relevant ideas and responses…. And that incentive can be as simple as credit and recognition.
Employee advocacy, and regular communication with employees, helps you re-charge your marketing from the inside out, and kudos to Dynamic Signal for creating and constantly evolving, and improving, the very best Employee Advocacy and Internal Communications Platform available. It is my hope that more companies will take this approach and develop additional ways to help businesses empower their employees to become advocates, and communicate internally, to generate more Return On Relationship, #RonR.
Remember that your employees are your company’s best resource—make the most of their passion and individuality! They are already social, so start thinking of how you can empower your employees to have their own voice, to participate more easily and actively internally, and to be more easily connected to leadership… and you will discover many can and will become your company’s most active and valuable social advocates.
Empower your Employees, Re-Engage them… and they will Power your Brand!