By Mike Stiles on Feb 25, 2014
Who’s writing and managing your social media channels? Because whoever that is, THEY are the public voice of your brand. They are your image. They’re the ones building relationships and forming bonds.
Who’s commenting on, liking and sharing your posts, seemingly everyone except your own employees? Are your people really that indifferent to the company and its products?
Much handwringing goes on over who should be allowed to speak for a brand on social. The result of said handwringing (and social policies the length of which rival omnibus bills of Congress) is that employees are not engaging around the brand on social at all. If that’s what you were going for, congrats!
Your social marketing is in the hands of your brand community managers, and the employees extending and amplifying the brand on their personal social channels. Do you trust them? Or are your days and nights spent stressing about controlling them?
For our purposes let’s take this to mean anyone contributing to or managing the actual brand-owned social channels. If they are all of the below, back off and trust them.
- Intimately knows and represents the audience
- Can get answers to questions, like now
- Knows what’s genuinely cool about your brand
- Has a human personality and recoils at corporate jargon
- Cares about thrilling customers
- Unceasingly creative and quick thinking
- Calm, with great judgment
- Master of the tech tools
- Ever-curious researcher and curator
- Confident and autonomous
Employees might be the greatest wasted natural social marketing resource of our time. Why have they built a wall between their personal social and the brand they work for? Because they’re scared to death.
When social policies are vague, malleable, and based largely on “eh…it depends,” any intelligent employee will choose to socially stay as far away from the brand as they can. There is NO incentive to engage and tons of risk in doing so. Safe + easy is an unbeatable combo.
Do you think your employees are so determined to help you on their personal social channels…for free…that they’re willing to curl up by the fire and read your social media usage policy? The shocking answer is…maybe! Over 50% of employees want to share news about their company. But just 45% of employers encourage employees to engage. It’s silly to not want employees to be active, engaged fans of their own company. So:
- Make it clear you want them to engage, it’s not a trap.
- Lay out a few big “don’ts” like competition bashing or violating confidentiality.
- Have them apply workplace common sense, nothing discriminatory, etc.
- Encourage them to put the good ol’ “opinions are mine” on their profiles.
- Ask that they say nothing at all about the brand if they can’t say anything nice.
- Provide them with content that’s incredibly easy to share.
- Incentivize engagement. Give them the answer to “why should I?”
- Offer social training, especially for new employees.
That done, if you still can’t summon up the trust to let your Community Managers and employees market your brand on social, how is it you trust them to work there at all?
Photo: Piotr Dorabiala, stock.xchng