Most of us spend our days constantly connected, juggling text messages, emails, phone calls and social media. Every day, billions of people log on to social media to share snippets of their lives. When the divide between work life and home life has been merged, supporting your staff to make social media a helpful tool can bring interconnectedness to an office rather than conflict.
According to a recent study by Nielsen, the average American adult spends 11 hours per day with digital media. Considering the average adult sleeps around seven hours, that’s a large chunk of time to be engaged in some form of screen time, be it mobile, desktop or television. One benefit to a workplace being transparent about social media is that employees have access and visibility to the promotional and public sides of their own organization. Employees often feel that they may not know everything happening at work, both internally and externally. Inviting your employees to “like”, follow, re-tweet and share from their personal social media accounts helps foster a sense of teamwork and community. It also addresses the white elephant in the room (the white elephant being, “Yes, we know you use Facebook at work.”) In addition, your employees can oftentimes be some of your strongest advocates, helping to advance your mission and spread the word to their personal networks. Here are some steps for encouraging your staff to safely engage with your company’s via social media:
- Create a Social Media Policy
Create and distribute an internal social media policy with the help of your human resources and legal teams. This policy should set clear boundaries about time spent on social media, document retention, using common sense, and making sure that personal social media posts are never stated on behalf of the company. In the unlikely event that something does go awry, this helps clear up any misunderstanding about the position of the company. It is important to note that personal social media posts are not on behalf of the company.
- Establish a Point Person
Designate a social media point person at the company so that if questions arise or feedback comes up, there is an official representative available to help out. There should also be a designated point person in case a “fire” crops up on social media- a controversy, misunderstanding, or flood of customer service issues. This person can also help send out information and updates about important social media milestones for the company’s official social media, for example, a new promotion or sale that would benefit from retweets on Twitter. They should also send out occasional updates on social media performance – a popular post, or a surge in new followers – to keep people engaged and excited.
- Share Official Links, Ask for Action
When it comes to the technical side of things, you’ll want to share a document or email with clear links to each social media site or platform, listing your Facebook page address, Twitter handle, Instagram handle, links to YouTube, and more. Ask your staff to “like”, follow or subscribe to you on all of these platforms, and encourage them to retweet and share. Recognize that some employees may not be comfortable bridging this gap, and have respect for that, as social media savviness is not yet a required highlight of most job descriptions. When there is a particular action item you need social support on, send your team social example posts. This gives employees actionable messaging that they can immediately copy, paste, and share – helping to keep the text cohesive, and confirming to your employees that they’re sending out the right content.
- Ask for Suggestions
Your marketplace is constantly evolving, and who better to explain trends and tips than your employees. Featuring employee-generated content on social media or on a blog (like this Event 360 blog) is a great way to demonstrate thought leadership in your particular industry. In addition to the SEO benefits of content marketing via a blog, posts by specific employees help personalize a company to customers and prospects and can help you stand out from competition. Internal morale is also positively impacted when employers show that they see value in sharing their employees’ ideas.
- Have a Plan for Customer Service that Doesn’t Directly Involve Your Staff
Despite the most thorough planning, highest quality product, and best intentions, complaints and the need for additional assistance arise in every industry. In a world where companies and brands (even Mr. Peanut has a Facebook page!) interact directly with consumers, the public has grown accustomed to receiving speedy customer service through social media. Remind your staff that while they may be tempted to answer social media questions with their own personal account, the company’s designated social media point person is responsible for handling customer service escalation.
While these five steps may feel overwhelming at first, introducing your official social media to your staff is a great way to boost morale, encourage interconnectedness, and help spread the word about your company’s mission and efforts. With some careful planning, the benefits of social savviness can reach far and wide.
Alyssa works on social media for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®, a 60-mile walk to end breast cancer. Connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn. Katie works on marketing and sponsorship for MuckFest® MS, an event that rallies participants for a mucky romp through mud and obstacles in support of a world free of multiple sclerosis. Connect with her here: LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+.