When brands first started using social media, it was primarily for marketing. Companies pretty much stuck to posting for brand awareness and promotion.
But oh, how that’s now changed.
Over the past several years, social media’s reach has widened, both in our overall society as well as in the workplace. Statista reports that 24% of businesses have been using social media marketing for more than five years by now, and what was once primarily a marketing platform can now be used for almost any business function.
Now it’s normal – recommended, even – to use social media in as many departments as possible. While it’s still great for marketing, it’s just as great for customer service, direct sales, human resources, and more.
The problem for us marketers is, not all of our coworkers are as enthusiastic about social as we are.
For example, Mention frequently talks about employee advocacy and the power of using your colleagues as influencers. And it really is an amazing way to leverage your teammates’ networks and the effectiveness of micro-influencer marketing.
But you could have the best social media advocacy plan ever, and it won’t matter if your coworkers don’t use social media or see its value to your business.
If you’ve ever talked with a colleague who just didn’t get what you do, who’s asked, “so you just sit and post on Facebook all day?” you know how hard it can be to get other departments to buy in.
But if you want to use social media successfully in your employee advocacy program, the rest of your team needs to be on board with it. They need to be willing to understand the value and get involved.
Here’s how you can get all your coworkers more enthusiastic about collaborating with you on social media advocacy.
Make sharing easy
Haven’t we all wished our coworkers would actually share or at least retweet the brand content we spend hours carefully crafting?
Employees and coworkers are normally already connected to those in your target audience online, especially on platforms like LinkedIn. Being able to tap into their networks while displaying a united culture in the form of social media excitement adds a new dimension to your brand’s overall digital strategy that can have far-reaching results.
For example, when Drift’s entire team posted on LinkedIn to announce a new feature, they went viral with a total of 300,000 video views and had their highest website traffic day ever. Their message reached a wide audience and hit home:
They wouldn’t have been able to do that posting from just their own brand pages.
However, expecting non-marketers to consistently create and share high quality social media content is a lot to ask for. And really, wouldn’t you love to have some control over the copy?
Instead of leaving it up to each individual team or employee to create their own social media content, make sharing as easy as possible.
Try things like:
- Helping create content for anything other teams want shared through brand accounts
- Providing suggestions for what to post on individual social media accounts
- Creating pre-written content anyone can share from their own accounts
- Providing direct links to any content you need the team to comment on or reshare
Make things even easier and more streamlined by using a social media or project management app to hold all content and communication around social media. Employee advocacy tools like Smarp or Sociabble lower the amount of effort involved in turning every employee into a brand ambassador.
You’ll find most of your coworkers genuinely want to support the company’s social media efforts, they just don’t know where to begin.
By taking care of as much as possible for them, so they just need to press “post,” makes it possible for the non-social media savvy to participate more.
While you want to do as much of the job as possible for other people, you also want to be upfront and transparent with all coworkers about how social media is used and your company’s specific strategies.
Sometimes, this might mean explaining things like the news feed algorithm or Instagram stories to coworkers who only use Facebook to stay in touch with family. As someone immersed in social media all day every day, it can be easy to forget that not everyone is the power user that you are. Many of your teammates with Facebook and other social media accounts will still need help understanding basic features, and it’s important to be patient.
Sometimes it will also mean explaining your own strategies and processes to those who understand how social media works in general, but not as a business tool.
For example, you likely optimize content in certain ways to maximize reach and visibility, like making sure to include eye-catching images with social copy. If you’re asking coworkers to share a certain post and graphic on social media, you’ll want to explain why the image is included.
Or, say you need other departments to send you content to schedule by Thursday of each week for it to go out the following week from brand accounts. You may need to explain that it’s because you schedule out content in batches in order to ensure people stick to the deadline.
To those who don’t understand the “why” behind rules and guidelines, they become much easier to ignore. But when people understand the details and reasoning behind decisions, they’ll more readily comply with them.
Share engagement and results
Once you’ve explained and facilitated getting other teams in your business involved on social media, you’ve accomplished more than many marketers.
Unfortunately, your coworkers’ enthusiasm won’t last without consistent work on your part.
You want to keep everyone who participates in social media for your business engaged and active in the process. It requires sustaining momentum over time.
How can you appeal to someone’s interest? Ego and success.
Over time, share both the quantitative and qualitative results of other employees’ efforts in social media. Show them their success in order to inspire more of it.
For example, when something gets great feedback and engagement on social media, share it with anyone involved. This is especially true for any personal feedback.
The above tweet is a perfect example. In addition to sharing the Celia’s comment with Gary’s manager, EDF Energy could share it with Gary himself. That would surely get him excited about the company talking to customers on social media.
Of course, you are all running a business, so revenue and results matter too. In addition to sharing content and conversations from social media, show coworkers the hard numbers: engagement stats, audience breakdown, and campaign performance.
Demonstrate how social media is helping the sales team, the customer service team, the recruiters, etc. and back yourself up with data. This makes the value undeniable, making it much harder for coworkers to ignore if they want to succeed at their jobs.
Monitoring and management tools like Mention make it easy to build sharing both types of feedback with coworkers outside of the marketing team. You can create regular analytics reports to share data with other teams, or send specific links and content to an individual coworker.
Incentivize and reward
Finally, creating incentives and rewards for social media cross-collaboration can just make it more fun.
Given that this isn’t a direct part of most team members’ job descriptions, making it feel less like work is important. Plus, the fact that social media is on 24/7 means team members using social media for your business are likely spending time on it outside of the office.
Don’t let that effort go unnoticed.
Reward employees who are active and engaged with helping your business on social media. It doesn’t matter how many connections they have or click they generated here. These coworkers have taken time away from their main responsibilities to get involved with something you asked for.
The least you can do is say “thank you,” although feel free to do more than that. Try spotlighting the most engaged employees internally or featuring them on brand social accounts to let them engage even more.
Another effective tactic? Create official incentives.
Gamification goes a long way in the workplace: game-based motivation has been shown to increase employee engagement by 48%. Try playing into the sales teams’ competitiveness and the engineering team’s love of problem solving.
Create gamified programs around participating in social media by coming up with different contests and competitions, creating leaderboards rewarding activity, and more. The best option will depend on your own company culture and employees.
Make it a team effort
The best companies collaborate across teams and departments, and it’s more important ever when it comes to employee advocacy and social media engagement. When no one outside of marketing cares about it, you’re limited in the strategies you can try and therefore the results you can achieve.
- Helping your coworkers understand social media strategy,
- Making it easy and fun to participate in, and
- Sharing and rewarding positive results,
You can tap into new networks, content, and possibilities.