Employees are on social media for different reasons. They are on Facebook to connect with friends, share experiences and keep up with what is happening. They are on Twitter to connect with other like minded people with similar interests. They are on LinkedIn mainly to network with other professionals.
Networking on LinkedIn
While it's fairly self-explanatory why people would want to be on these networks, LinkedIn needs a little more thought. The question many forget to ask is “why would you want to network with other professionals?” Apparently most LinkedIn users have not thought this through as we mainly see passive users who create vast networks but never utilize them or benefit from them.
The other reason for joining LinkedIn is job hunting but this is actually not nearly as common as expected. Only about 20% of LinkedIn users are active job seekers, which leaves 80% of users not actively looking for a job. They have joined because of the networking aspect.
How could employees at your company utilize social networks?
First, they need to make sure that the network has some value for them. For this to be true the people in their network need to, at the very least, know who they are and remember them. This requires that they somehow interact with the people in their network. The easiest way to accomplish this is by sending a status update every few days which will end up in their activity streams and possibly in weekly newsletters titled “What’s happening in your network”.
These networks also provide much potential for the employer. By simply asking employees to post updates and tell about their work they are reaching potential clients, employees and others with their message. Most employees would be open to this if only provided guidance and approval which employers rarely provide. It needs to be simple, fast and easy for employees to know what to do and how to do it.
By posting positive status updates about their work and employer the employee is also improving the employer brand, which in turn increases the perceived value of their work. This is because companies with a good employer brand can become employers of choice and attract the best candidates. This reflects on current, past and future employees as they are seen as top candidates who have worked for a well-regarded employer. Getting employees to realize this can be a challenge, however, if no training is offered.