So you have committed to incorporating social media into your marketing objectives. You may have even hired a social media agency to help manage and jumpstart your Twitter and Facebook marketing efforts. Your platforms have been setup, integrated, customized with graphics that fit with your brand and strategies are in place to grow your presence. However, one obvious puzzle piece seems to be missing. Your employees don’t seem to have an active role in your social media initiative. Why is this? Because you haven’t empowered, motivated, educated or inspired them to do so! Employees, if motivated/inspired correctly, can be the biggest cheerleaders for your business and brand. And, come to think of it, since you are spending so much time and energy into developing these external online social “tribes”, why wouldn’t you want to simultaneously work on developing a strong internal social tribe as well?
One thing to keep in mind, before your go ahead and ask for your employees participation, is that you need to have a clearly defined social media policy in place. It needs to be accessible and as black and white as possible. It is extremely important to set guidelines of what is considered acceptable and unacceptable social behavior. Embedding such a policy from the outset will ensure that employees aren’t deterred by any “grey areas”. They should fully understand what is expected of them and what isn’t.
6 Ways To Motivate Your Employees To Jump On Your Businesses Social Media Bandwagon:
1. On-going education is key. First and foremost, you need to provide your employees with training on what social media marketing actually is. They need to understand what your goals and objectives are and how you plan on achieving them. Due to social media having a rapidly evolving and changing nature, the best route to take is to hire a consultant or agency to come in and provide these trainings. Employees need to have a good understanding of how social media for business works before they can think of ideas on what they can do to help.
2. Empower your employees to have a “say” in your businesses social media strategies. During company meetings, empower employees to think freely and to come up with one idea to expand and build your social networks. This lets employees know that their opinions matter and will be heard. It lets them feel like they are apart of a bigger team and bigger picture other than their job title. Also, when employees feel like they have a voice in the overall direction of a company, loyalty is ultimately formed.
3. Reward your employees for good ideas! If Sally the receptionist brings a great social media marketing idea to the table, reward her! I guarantee you that once you start doing this, your employees will be more inclined to outwardly speak in a positive way about your business online and will share your presence more frequently to their own online networks.
4. Offer employees incentives for participating. Ultimately, you will have to designate one, or more, key employees to actually have “social media marketing” in their job description. No tribe works when there are too many chiefs and not enough indians! Offering these key employees incentives for gaining “likes” on a Facebook page or “follows” on a Twitter account is a great way to motivate. The reason why it may not be strategic to offer “everyone” these incentives (for example monetary bonuses) is because you don’t want to skew your demographic. You want to be sure that the “likes” you are capturing are in-line with who your ideal customer is and that they have a legitimate interest in your services or products. (This goes back to it’s better to have 200 likes on a page that will engage with you, than to have 1000 non-engaging likes that could care less about what you have to say.)
5. Make it apart of your employees goals. This concept has been tested time and time again. It works…period. If you incorporate “idea development” into the quarterly or annual goals of your company…it tends to get done. Show them that when they help your company reach goals that move it in a positive growth direction, their careers are moving in that direction as well. Let your employees understand that by reaching these “goals” everyone wins!
6. Create an open “internal” tribe like I mentioned up above. Construct a place for employees to ask questions and get answers. Maybe it’s on a company blog or an internal forum. It just needs to be somewhere where they can go and freely ask questions about your social media policy and review company goals, objectives and plans on how to get there.
Now it’s your turn:
Do you motivate your employees to join you in the conversations with your customers online? What ways have you accomplished this? Do you even think employees should be involved? If not, why?