Social media is a relatively new tool in the business world and it is revamping how many things are done. Companies are now advertising through social media, customers are accessing resources through social media and employees are networking through social media. This is a virtual realm where thought leaders can share their insights and companies can prove their dedication and value.
But companies often pull up short and don’t explore the full potential social media provides. Social media offers an opportunity to connect with employees and expand customer base when companies choose to use it as an employee engagement tool.
The Reality of Social Media
Let’s start out by being realistic – your employees are already on social media. This means, whether intentional or not, your company is represented by your employees as they live their personal lives. Companies can choose to ignore employees on social media, or they can harness social media as a tool. While many companies are choosing to use social media for public company profiles, few are working hand in hand with their employees.
Getting Employee Support
One of the best things about cultivating an employee engagement on social media is the support your company will receive from the people who know it best. As employees find one another and your company page, they will link themselves to somewhere they belong. A sense of responsibility and pride comes with knowing you have helped build something. Your employees will be able to help build the company they work for through social media.
Encouraging Employee Activism
A recent study by Weber Shandwick surveyed 2,300 employees and found that one in five employees is considered an employee activist. A social media employee activist draws visibility to their workplace and advocates for their company both online and offline. The study also found that 50% of employees are already posting messages and pictures about their company. Companies should be taking advantage of this tendency, encouraging employees to post positive messages about why they love their company.
Stimulating Professionalism and Conversation
Social networking offers a place where people can hold conversations. Employees can be encouraged to share their own professional advice and perspectives, proving their own expertise. This stimulated conversation will help develop your employees and present your company in a strong light with knowledgeable employees.
Generate New Ideas
As employees interact with peers and your brand, they will generate ideas that have not yet occurred to you or your company. Social media is a great place for collaboration when conversations are started and promoted.
Every employee represents perhaps hundreds of people who will be exposed to your brand by a few honest posts. Do not ask your employees for solicited posts, but encourage them to talk about your message, network and prove value with their online profiles.