The “social” part of social media is easy to remember when it comes to reaching a target audience, but it is often forgotten when it comes to the brand and its employees working together to create a cohesive brand presence.
Different departments may represent the brand in many ways, sometimes leading to confusion from the team. By focusing on getting all employees and departments on the same page when it comes to online branding, companies are better able to maintain a consistent presence, which builds trust and credibility.
A Collaborative Strategy
As mentioned earlier, getting content out to an online audience is only one piece of the puzzle. The other piece is creating a sense of collaboration and teamwork with all the departments that represent your brand online. Ideally, employees should have access to social media images and messaging they can use to promote the company and any posts on company profiles shouldn’t be published without the consent of the department in charge of running them.
Consistent social media goes beyond just making sure sales and marketing are working together to have consistent messaging and branding. Whether they are creating content for the company profiles or are simply tweeting on their own accounts, employees are a mascot for their company. This means that an employer is tied to what their employees are saying online and their social media activity may affect a brand’s reputation.
Related: How to Be Authentic on Social Media
For instance, even if a CEO doesn’t tweet about their company, their comments or online activities may put them in hot water. The former CEO of GoDaddy experienced this when his big game hunting activities drew major criticism and GoDaddy boycotts. No matter what an employee is doing online, their words and actions reflect the company in one way or another.
Even though companies have a lot of fear when it comes to what their employees are saying online, it’s possible to turn this into a positive. Show employees how to maintain their privacy settings on social media for personal posts, and offer a disclaimer they can add to their bios that absolves the company somewhat from what they say (e.g. “My views are my own and don’t reflect my employer”).
When done properly, employee social media can have big benefits for companies. Sharing news, content, and information on employees’ personal social media profiles to their own networks can help the company grow their exposure, online presence, and credibility.
Social Media Brand Guidelines
One of the easiest things a marketing or social media department can do to help employees and teams better represent a brand online is to send everyone official social media branding guidelines. These can include brand colors, logo and how it can be used, and brand statements, wording, and messages that are approved for use. For example, an online university may not want to use any terminology related to its course load being “easy” as it likely isn’t true and gives potential students the wrong expectation. These types of guidelines need to be given to all employees in writing so they know what is allowed and what isn’t online.
Furthermore, official branding guidelines for online platforms also help new and existing employees with content creation for the company’s official social media profiles. This makes it easier for cross-training or filling in for the regular social media managers when they are sick or on vacation.
Brand Advocacy and Culture
Company and employee accounts have the unique opportunity to get more visibility for their brand. By having set guidelines and training on what works best online, employees can send out better messaging for official accounts and what they are creating online on their own time.
Many employees encourage active social media use, as it helps them show potential employees and customers the values and culture of a company. Modern Tribe does a good job of this—employees use the hashtag #LifeatTribe to show their average workdays, company retreats, conference calls, and other highlights that show what makes working at Modern Tribe so exciting and fun. If your company has a good culture, consider creating a hashtag for employees to use when posting about work or their colleagues.
Besides culture, departments can work together to create a better picture of a company and what their target audience is looking for. For instance, customer support and sales can send common questions they get to marketing, which can answer them in a Facebook live video series or by gauging interest with online polls.
When it comes to social media, often more is better. Teach employees proper guidelines, have departments work together to create and content and a more cohesive message, and make it fun and easy for employees to share what makes a company special.