Mobilizing a workforce around social, including coming up with effective (and fun) employee engagement activities is a huge undertaking. If you’ve been asked to run an employee advocacy program, how can you best respond? How can you encourage your team members to fall in love with social media as a business tool?

Your team members may use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter on a daily basis, but they might not know how how their personal identities sync up with their business lives. If you want your team members to promote your company on social, then you need to be sensitive to their needs, ensure that you’re on the same page about protecting their personal identities, and provide guidance around the mechanics of social: what and when to share, as well as how to engage your audience. The key is to provide guidance without being constricting.

How can you inform your team members of trends happening on social without being boring or patronizing? This article will explore how you can get employees up to speed in an engaging way, ultimately encouraging employees to share on the company’s behalf.

Why Get Team Members Up to Speed?

Social media is everywhere. In fact, a recent study by Edison Research showed that 67% of people over the age of 12 use social on a daily basis. Even though social media is widespread, it’s hard to figure out how to apply it in an organizational context. Employees just need some guidance.

As a social media professional, you have the power to help your team learn about leveraging social. You can teach them how to build their own personal brands, as well as how they can contribute to the company culture by sharing relevant content, such as team photos, blog posts, and other materials.

If you’re able to educate your team, you’re likely to:

  • Improve brand perception. If everyone at your company updates their LinkedIn photo to a clear and professional head shot, the brand is going to appear more polished.
  • Encourage social sharing. Team members that understand that social media can help build their personal brands and make connections will be more willing to share company content.
  • Connect your team in a digital space. Your team members are connected at the office, but social media can connect them in a digital arena, as well.

Make it Fun

No one wants to learn about social media from a list of rules, or from a lecture on brand guidelines and non-compliance. The first step to sharing social media best practices is to make it fun. 

Hold a presentation to share some best practices and tips, but don’t just lecture at your team. Instead, make it interactive. Encourage team members to draft out example tweets, and take out their smartphones to take selfies to post on social.

When it comes time to share best practices, find tangible examples of real social media postings from both individuals and brands, and then analyze the posts together. Ask your team members what works well, and what doesn’t, and have them guess how it successful it was. Then, you can share your feelings about the post, as well as how well it did in the real social ecosystem.

For example, if I were running a session with my team, I might share a post from my own Facebook page:

This post saw a lot of engagement for a personal page with 19 comments in all. I’d ask my team what made people respond to this post. Why did it encourage people to share their own stories? Why was it so compelling?

Supply Resources

Many people like to learn on their own terms, and some may know more about social media than others. Instead of lecturing the group, supply a large amount of resources so that team members can learn when they have the time and energy.

But be careful– a lot of companies bore their team members by asking them to read corporate-y articles about social media compliance (let’s face it–this stuff can easily put people to sleep). They key is to find fun and relevant resources that are easy to read.

Here are some helpful resources that would be great to share with your team:

  • How to Build a Social Media Post That Will Get Engagement – Most people post without thinking too much about engagement, but this post can help your team post deliberately. It has good tips for how to make sure that the things you’re posting are compelling.
  • 5 Ways to Make Daily Social Media a Snap – This article shows that posting on social media can be really easily, especially if there are tools to help. It outlines how to do social listening, as well as how to use visual aid tools to create graphics for social media posts.
  • 5 Reasons to Develop Your Personal Brand –  Everyone says creating a personal brand is important, but why? This resource demystifies the subject and explains why developing a personal brand is a worthwhile pursuit.

In addition to providing fun resources, you can also:

  • Bring in an objective social media expert to give a presentation.
  • Create and share a checklist to help team members clean up their social profiles.
  • Encourage team members to find their own resources to share with the team.

Share Tangible Examples

You can talk all day about what makes a good or bad LinkedIn profile photo, but how can your team know what you mean without examples. When explaining best practices to team members, tangible examples– from the real world– can help them understand what you’re talking about.

Here are some tangible examples to share:

  • Social media profile photos
  • LinkedIn self summaries, Twitter bios
  • Good tweets vs. bad tweets
  • Posts with high engagement vs. those without.
  • Well-developed personal brands
  • Effective employee advocacy

Bonus: A fun employee engagement activity is to take a company leader’s LinkedIn profile and analyze it together (as long as the leader agrees, of course). Allow your team members to pick it apart, locating the areas where it’s great, and some areas where the profile could use improvement. Ask the leader in question to test out some of these recommendations, and monitor the impact over time.

Do It Together

Don’t educate your team members as though you’re an all-knowing expert that’s never been in their position. Instead, inform them on best practices as though you’re one of them.