Does the thought of your employees actively engaging with the big scary world of social media worry you?
Maybe social media is not the primary focus of your working life because, let’s face it, you are better at other things that pay much more handsomely.
So you don’t REALLY understand social media and, in turn, you can’t really trust it.
BUT You are trusting your employees already. Aren’t you?
You are placing the company’s fate in their hands every single day in a way that is much riskier than ‘letting people loose’ on social media.
Sure, we have all read articles about social media PR disasters that happen to companies large and small. However these are the exceptions otherwise they wouldn’t make the news, would they?
There millions of social media interactions involving companies, their employees and the general public and nothing newsworthy happens.
A single bad purchasing decision or logistics problem can have much bigger consequences than the average poorly thought-out tweet.
First of all let’s clarify that what I mean is getting active on social media as representatives of the company.
I do not suggest you should encourage them to spend hours on Facebook with their ‘real’ friends.
I suggest you should encourage a company culture in which each employee has a social media profile linked to the company and dedicated to discussing all that is business-related.
The choice of social media platform depends very much on your business and which one is the preferred one by your customers and potential employees. Obviously do not limit the choice to one if you can reach more people using a variety of social platforms.
So why should you encourage your employees to get active on social media?
1. They can attract other talent
By broadcasting on social media platforms, your employees can actively ‘promote’ your workplace as a desirable destination for future employees.
One of the most difficult aspects of a job search is understanding a company’s culture and whether I, the candidate, would find it appealing.
Being able to understand the people that already work for a certain company can make a big difference for a very talented person wanting to join.
2. They can better respond to Customer Queries
Usually social media is managed by a marketing/PR department.
It’s about communication so it naturally falls within their remit.
The problem with this approach is that customer queries can relate to many different aspects of your products and your company.
The person in charge of social media might not know all the answers and is probably not the best person to provide such answers.
By encouraging all employees to actively use social media you will improve the probability that the employee with the best knowledge about a problem will be able to see the query and pro-actively solve the problem.
3. More Eyes on the Ball to solve problems as they appear
More employees actively using social media means a better chance of a potential problem being solved swiftly with a positive impact on customer satisfaction.
Crowdsourcing customer care can help organisations with limited dedicated social media resources yet with large social media following.
If one person cannot reasonably be able to address a large volume of customer queries in a timely manner, a team of people can.
4. It can improve internal communication
We all have a preferred method of communication.
You might find that some people do not manage email very effectively however they might be very good at communicating via social media.
The younger generations might be more at home using social media rather than ‘old-fashioned’ email or (gasp!) snail-mail.
You: “You didn’t read my email?”;
20 year-old employee: “No but I saw your tweet…”
Improved communication is the path to a more effective company so why not expand the range of communication tools at everybody’s disposal?
5. They can share their passion
Hopefully you have employees that LOVE working for your company.
If not social media might not be your primary problem….
Let them be brand advocates.
Let them express their passion on social media.
This will be contagious and will infect both customers, current and future, and future employees.
6. They will use social media anyway so you might as well empower them
People will use social media regardless of your company policies. Acknowledge this fact and leverage our natural tendency to be social for everybody’s benefit . Employees and customers will love you for that!
Do you let your employees use social media for business?