How can you help and encourage employees to actively use social media? In this article, we go through some of the most common reasons why employees aren’t active in social media and give you solutions to these problems.
You know the benefits of having employees who are active in social media. Being active in social media gives your employees the change to grow their personal brand and increase their networks, as well as stay up to date with current trends in their industry. On the other hand, having your employees act as your advocates in social media increases your website traffic, builds up your brand authority and recognition and helps you attract new customers and new talents to your organization.
But how do you get your employees to be active in social media? Based on our experience, we laid out the five most common challenges related to employees and their use of social media, and will now cover our best solutions to the problems. If you don't want to go through them one by one, feel free to jump into whatever you think is the most pressing problem for you:
Challenge 1: Employees don't understand different social media networks
Many people are still confused about social media and how it can help them personally. Social media networks keep changing, and so do their functionalities, and it can simply be difficult to jump on board without a little nudge.
Educate your employees on what each social media platform is used for, and what type of discussions usually take place on each social media network. Explain the functionalities and good policies of each network.
Explain the benefits of at least LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. It’s possible that some of your employees will never be interested in being on these platforms, and that’s OK. Unless an employees' profession strictly requires that they actively use social media, they don’t need to be active there just because the company would like it. However, what employers can do is to make sure no one misses out on the upsides of social media just because they think it’s too late to hop on board, or because they haven’t had the chance to get to know the basics of different social media platforms.
To help your employees get started, please find additional resources here:
Challenge 2: Employees don't have active, up-to-date social media profiles
It’s possible that your employees do actively consume content from social media, but remain passive users themselves. They may follow discussions, influencers, and brands that they find interesting, but don’t want to get involved in discussions. One of the reasons for this is that their social media profiles aren’t up to date and they are not content with their profile picture or profile text but haven’t had the time, inspiration or resources to improve these.
Host a workshop where your social media savvy employees guide others on how to polish their profiles. Take good photos of everyone, preferably by a professional photographer, and then encourage people to use these pictures in their social media profiles. Having your employees’ social media profile pictures aligned speaks of the unity of your company as well, and in this way brushes up your employer brand.
Challenge 3: Employees don't want to make mistakes or aren't sure what they can post
When it comes to company content, employees might not be sure, if something is meant for external distribution or not. Employees may want to share content they come across in their internal platforms or in social media, but they aren't sure if sharing it would be bad for their image or brand.
They may also feel that they don't know a topic or subject well enough to get engaged in a discussion about it - what if they post something and it evokes bad reactions or was not a reliable source after all?
Thirdly, employees may be unsure of what type of content to post to which social media platform and what they should write for the social media message.
Create a social media policy which lays out how you expect your employees to behave in social media when representing your company. A social media policy doesn’t have to be a just list of no-no’s, however. Instead, you can use it as a way to encourage your employees to become active in social media. Once it is clear what employees should and should not, they have less pressure to communicate with prospects, co-workers, and people within and outside of their social networks.
Secondly, bring as much content available to your employees as possible, and let them know you encourage them to share this content. This way employees have a bunch of content available, and they don't have to worry about whether they are crossing some lines, accidentally sharing confidential information or in some other way sharing a post that could accidentally backfire.
Alongside social media policy, educate your employees on matters regarding social media and privacy, contracting prospects and handling prospect data they have gained from social media. If you want to look into this more from the GDPR perspective, check out these gems:
Challenge 4: Employees don't see the benefits of being active in social media
In this scenario, you have some employees who are tech-savvy, and aware of how different social media platforms work. They are likely to already consume company and industry knowledge, and they know how to share and engage in discussions, but still are not active in social media. And the reason they stay disengaged is simply that they don’t see the direct or indirect benefits of being active in social media.
One of the main reasons employees should activate themselves in social media is that it is the perfect opportunity for them to start to create and refine their personal brand and create opportunities for thought leadership. Especially LinkedIn and Twitter are great platforms to showcase one’s expertise and build meaningful discussions around thought leader content, and sharing interesting and valuable content to one’s social networks is an excellent method to achieve this.
Even if your employees aren’t interested in personal branding or becoming a thought leader, being active in social media will still help them grow their networks, meet new people, build their expertise and create professional opportunities while they come across interesting contacts.
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Challenge 5: Employees don't share company content
First of all, congratulations for getting your employees this far! They are now educated and aware of how different social media platforms work, they are active in one or several social media platforms, and they have internalized motivation to continue their activities. How is it then, that you can encourage employees to share your content?
This is very much our key turf, so, fortunately, we have a lot of practical tips to help you with this one!
Step 1: Make your content good
This is so important! If you want your employees to share your messages, make sure your content is valuable, interesting, engaging and rich. When employees enjoy your content, they will want to share it further. The key is to produce content that first and foremost serves the reader, and only secondly serves the company. You shouldn’t look to your employees to share branded content, such as newsletters or company news - your PR and Marketing teams should take care of that. Instead, focus on top-of-the-funnel content your employees and their networks could find valuable, and offer that to your employees.
Step 2: Make sharing voluntary
Employee Advocacy genius Andrea Edwards has noticed that a mistake companies keep making is that they ask employees forcefully to share company information on their social media. According to Edwards, employees feel this "doesn't have integrity and feels insincere", and at worst, turns employees off from advocacy altogether. Another downside of forcing people to share your message is that it leads to spam-like, unoriginal social shares, which annoy people who have many contacts from one workplace.
Put your on employees first, branding second.
Empower your employees to become influential and active in social media, and see it as your company's responsibility to make your content so good that your employees can't help but share it.
Step 3: Make your content easy to share
Make it as easy as possible for your employees to find and share your content. The easiest way to do this is to use an internal content hub, where employees can find and share company and industry content easily (hey, that’s us!). If you don’t feel like opting into an internal content hub, you can share your content in internal newsletters or try to encourage your employees to follow your company's LinkedIn profile.
Step 4: Gamify the sharing experience
Make sharing fun! This is, again, much easier if you are using a content platform which has an “external sharing”-feature. This way, you can award points to people who get the most shares and reactions for their posts. But again, be wary of spamming: remember to emphasize that in the end, it is quality that matters, not quantity.
If you don’t have a platform or any other way to automatically track shares and the engagement reached by it, you can try to do it manually. If you are a smaller company, you might go through your employees’ social media profiles and calculate the amount of company content they shared and the reactions they caused, but this may feel invasive, and will, of course, take a long time.
Step 5: Recognize advocacy
Once you find out who the most influential employees and biggest advocates are, share your findings! Create a scoreboard or send a message to everyone in the company, thanking the most active people. Announcing a monthly or quarterly Top 3 could bring an element of competition to the table and add to the gamification element of Employee Advocacy.
You can also share the information of how an individual’s post impacted the overall performance of a specific piece of content - when employees are able to see their impact with their own eyes, their sense of achievement is often very rewarding. To find out how to do this with the help of Analytics and a content hub, see this post:
Step 6: Reward advocacy
A reward doesn’t always mean a trophy or a gift card. Many people are happy to be recognized and appreciated, and a verbal thank you will go a long way. Letting your employees know their efforts are recognized and valued is a key aspect of rewarding employee advocates.
Coming back to the trophies and the gift cards. If your top advocates constantly bring you value by bringing in traffic, adding to your credibility and polishing your brand, showering them with sweet, sweet material “thank-you”s every now and then is more than encouraged!
Besides recognizing and showing appreciation to your most active advocates, you can also ask your most successful advocates to help others navigate in the social media jungle. Knowing they are seen as a good example and being able to help others can be very rewarding.
If you feel like diving more into the basics of Employee Advocacy, please feel free to download our guide to Employee Advocacy. And remember, we are always just a Tweet away!