Better Your Company Branding with Employee Social Networks
Nobody would argue that in recent years, social media has become an indispensible tool for companies looking to get their messages and products out to a wide audience in a relatively cost-effective way. In addition to the more traditional advertising method of reaching consumers through direct marketing initiatives, some organizations are realizing the power of enlisting their employees in sales and marketing efforts through company branding and employee social networks. However, due to some unfortunate occurrences, brands have been understandably nervous about letting workers discuss their companies online in an unfettered manner. As a result of concern over this type of situation, many have placed strict rules and guidelines on what workers can post online in connection with the brand.
Unfortunately for these ventures, they are overlooking a valuable opportunity for company branding and employee social networks. By contrast, a few organizations have started partnering with their employees in order to encourage and foster online engagement. Often referred to as employee advocacy programs, these initiatives enable the promotion of a venture by its staff members. By empowering your workers to discuss your business online, you can enable additional online exposure and increase overall creditability. Here are some of the advantages to doing so, as well as how you can apply these ideas to your own company.
-It’s inexpensive. Your workers are already online, therefore social media brand awareness is a highly cost-effective marketing option. This platform enables messages to reach a global audience with a minimal expenditure.
-It’s effective. The Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Report notes that 92% of global consumers report a trust in ïearned media,ï e.g. recommendations coming from friends and family, more than any other types of advertising.
-Minimal effort required. Your workers can reach thousands of individuals via their networks with just a few keystrokes. Your role as a company is to determine how to enable and encourage this in an effective and efficient way.
In order to ensure that your employees are representing your company in a helpful manner via their social media platforms, it’s essential to spell out some guidelines for company branding and employee social networks.
-Put training in place. Make sure your workers are educated on the particulars of your corporate message so that they know how to promote your business in a consistent and positive way.
-Make ground rules clear. Discuss official protocols with your legal team and make instructions easily accessible to all employees on what is okay to discuss online and what is not.
-Encourage managerial engagement. Workers should feel able to, and comfortable with, discussing online profiles and blogs with their managers.
In order to promote engagement and brand advocacy, your workers must be interested in company branding and employee social networks. You can ensure and support this by creating an online presence that facilitates interaction. Create rich content that employees will be excited to share and that contains valuable information: industry surveys, blog posts, sector specific content, etc. Ask yourself whether the data will be relevant to your audience, if it provides entertainment value, and make certain there are share buttons to support easy dissemination.
Making an interactive and interesting online forum will keep representatives in constant communication and turn them into business advocates when they choose to distribute content. It supports their professional growth by allowing them to demonstrate their industry knowledge and passion for their work. Even as you make it clear that rules must be adhered to, it’s also important to note that this is a way to empower your employees by showing them that you trust them with a certain amount of leeway.
The global facilities company Sodexo has executed a successful program to engage employees in one of these types of endeavors regarding company branding and employee social networks. The company’s VP of Sourcing and Talent Acquisition, Arie Ball, enlisted a photographer’s help in taking staff pictures intended for social network use. These photos featured the company logo, so the firm received exposure and the workers got a professional photo from the initiative.
Sprint has done this in an innovative and effective way with their Social Media Ninja program. More than 3,000 employee volunteers are enlisted to communicate with people on a global scale via a number of networks and on a variety of company-related topics. While there are certain boundaries in place, such as a ban on speculation and participation in controversy, workers are entrusted with a good deal of freedom in terms of message content.
For additional insight into how you can utilize these tools to facilitate a better performing organization, check out the vast amount of high quality resources here on Mighty Recruiter.