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Get Your Employees on the Social Media Bandwagon

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on November 10, 2010

A recent online survey found that when companies look to ramp up social media initiatives, many turn in-house first. This is even more likely for small businesses with limited resources. For those companies currently looking to build out or maintain their social media presence—whether it be a corporate blog, Facebook page, and/or Twitter feed—employee buy-in is vital to ensure success. Following are tips for small businesses looking to entice their employees to embrace the benefits of social media:

1. Hold training/information sessions. Explain to employees why social media engagement is important. Give examples of the value it brings to the company in terms of return on investment. Explain search engine optimization (SEO), brand awareness, and the leads that can be generated.

2. Seed topic ideas. Hold brainstorming sessions. Circulate questions about topics to facilitate new suggestions. Share links to recent industry news. Encourage employees to develop ideas for content, based on personal interests and professional experience. It shouldn’t always be about the company. Online content can be used as a way to provide leadership on industry issues, as well to communicate company culture and personality.

3. Identify "champions" or assign a group of individuals to a social media task force. Their job may be to assist in getting other employees to contribute, setting objectives/metrics, defining SEO keywords, and developing a schedule and ideas for content.

4. Leverage existing opportunities. Content is everywhere; employees should think critically about what they already have available to them, including training presentations, customer stories, meeting notes, research, and statistics.

5. Help employees feel invested. For small businesses that are struggling to spark employee interest, making contributions part of their job objectives and even tying them to bonuses can help. A photo and name attached to individual contributions will give employees visibility—and the exposure will motivate them to contribute more frequently and with greater quality.

Kirsten Watson
Director of Corporate Marketing

Reader Comments

Shelly Lucas

November 10, 2010 2:10 PM

These are great tips for encouraging reticent employees to participate in social media. It’s important to educate and empower folks, but it’s also critical to set some guardrails. Developing a clear social media policy is a must. Be sure to outline the do’s and the don’ts for employees’ day-to-day social engagement. By spelling out what’s acceptable and unacceptable in black and white, no “if’s” remain to make employees hesitant when it comes to participating in social media. In your social media policy, lay some ground rules about who is authorized to respond to media, analysts, bloggers, or postings that mention (or express interest in) your company. Also define crisis situations and delineate clear instructions, so that employees are aware of the repercussions that can follow from posting potentially damaging comments in a social forum. I’d also recommend including a provision that protects the privacy rights of your company as well as your customers, clients, vendors, and employees. For more info, check out this post from the Social Media Examiner, which addresses small business social media policies and links to a list of sample policies.

Joshua Persky

November 11, 2010 9:38 PM

Social media signage will become more and more important to businesses to inform and engage customers and employees as checkins and other social media updates grow in popularity.

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