When it comes to employee social media use at the workplace, the tendency is for companies to build restrictive usage policies to prevent mishaps.
Although social media policies are incredibly important, many of them are built to limit or prevent employees from using social media instead of empowering them to use it effectively.
In fact, many companies fail to realize that employees might just be their most valuable and underutilized social media asset.
Don’t believe me?
Here are a few reasons why it pays to have employees involved in your company’s social media efforts:
- Increased productivity. A recent study from Warwick University showed that allowing employees to use social media channels actually increased their productivity by speeding up the sales process and delivering customer service more effectively. What company doesn’t want that?
- Attract (and keep) young talent. Social media is becoming a key decision factor for Millennials. In a survey of college students and young professionals, more than half or respondents said they wouldn’t accept a job offer from a company that banned social media. And, 33 percent said they would prioritize social media and device flexibility over salary.
- Expand brand exposure. From a marketing perspective, allowing your employees to engage on social media channels can exponentially expand the reach of your business. People are more likely to follow their friends than company social media accounts. If your employees can serve as brand ambassadors, they may reach people you never would through your company’s channels.
- Fuel content development. To be successful on the social web, you must create compelling content to share. Employees can be an incredible resource for this. Because your employees are on the front lines of customer service and sales, they have a keen insight into the information your clients and prospects want. Not only that, this gives you an excellent opportunity to showcase the talent and expertise of your team.
How to leverage employee social media use
So, how do you make the most of your employee’s social media efforts? Here are a few tips to guide you:
- Start at the top. Your company’s top executives drive the culture and resources for your business. Make sure they support your social media efforts and that they are actively involved in the process.
- Collaborate. Social media shouldn’t operate only in the confines of the marketing department. Establishing a social media lead team that involves sales, customer service, HR and the legal department can help strengthen your efforts.
- Create a policy. Yes, you should create a social media policy. But, the policy should be more focused on guiding your employee’s social media efforts instead of restricting usage altogether. Here’s a round up of social media policies you can follow for guidance.
- Offer training. Once you have your social media policy in place, hold training sessions to help your social media team and employees understand it. Also, offer regular sessions and tips to empower employees to use social media effectively.
- Reward positive behavior. When you see employees using social media well or hear of positive success stories, be sure to acknowledge the effort. After all, people love to be recognized for their work.
Do your employees serve as brand ambassadors for your company? How do you leverage employees on social media?
A version of this post originally appeared as a guest article in The Nashville Business Journal.
Image credit: Juli