Most companies we work with, are now developing a social media employee engagement strategy with the goal of developing a strong online team of ambassadors for the organization. There’s a lot of potential here, because research shows time and again that this approach results in far greater reach and talent applications. The reason behind these results are because
a) People trust employees more than they trust the CEO or corporate messaging.
b) Now on social media, employees get 2x higher CTRs from their shares compared to company shares of the same content!
The power of this strategy is significant, but we encourage our clients to prepare in advance, and to support their strategy by first laying the groundwork through these four steps.
1. Clearly define your Employee Value Proposition (EVP).
Before you begin, you need a solid EVP as your foundation. It will serve as the basis for how all your external social media posts are branded, and will inform how your employees will represent you on a global platform. Having a consistent message about why people want to join and stay with your organization is key to building your employer brand awareness, preference, and identity. The EVP should be built with the input of a broad cross-section of your employees and leaders and should also take into consideration the wants of your target talent demographics externally. Once you have a compelling and differentiated EVP and tagline, we encourage you to assemble a monthly social media content calendar, ensuring an effective mix of different posts about events, themes, careers, accomplishments, and news – all underscoring the EVP, in a consistent and unique way.
2. Train your team
Social media is a whole different terrain, and you want to train and empower your employees to leverage it properly – to make the most of the platforms they’re using, while staying on-message and on-brand in all their communications, reducing the risk of a PR issue down the road. Employees need to understand who the audience is, what they’re communicating and who to contact if they see negative feedback or something unexpected happens.
Perhaps the biggest gap in how employee brand ambassador programs are designed and run today, is that they are often used only as a social sharing program. Ultimately asking a group of employees to share corporate content, with little to no reward. What we help our clients to design is a program that will select, train, and support passionate culture ambassadors as both social and internal communicators and innovators of the employer brand.
One of our favourite success stories is our client The Beer Store, they are a brilliant example of a highly effective and engaging brand ambassador program. At The Beer Store, ambassadors are encouraged to go out to different retail locations and share their observations on what’s going well and listen to what isn’t, from the perspective of a neutral party. They take pictures of the teams and individuals to celebrate their successes and cultures. Every quarter, these “ambassadors” meet with management and make their recommendations on how to improve work culture and employee experience. They are thanked by going to ball games with the President. This opportunity to be heard and seen in the workplace creates a strong engagement amongst ambassadors and employees – both the ones doing the observing and the ones who are getting feedback – which they then share externally through social advocacy. Over the last couple of years, the company has seen a massive jump in engagement and pride and there is no doubt that this grassroots training and program has been a major reason.
3. Build a content library
Before you launch your employee brand ambassador strategy on social, build a 12-month content calendar, ask ambassadors about career and culture stories they would like to share, conduct photoshoots and run storytelling campaigns and get them to take pictures of moments and people they would like to share with the world. Once you get that done – start creating a content library that is mixed in with branded content. Your employees will love having the library as a resource, whether it’s amazing photography that makes your employees look and sound as great as they are or posts that convey the importance of the work they do and the impact they are making, having choices to share on social media gives your employees choice and the ability to personalize their social media shares.. Keep in mind that you need a blend of different types of content and the more visual, the better! And remember it should all be reinforcing the EVP and Employer Brand strategy.
4. Measure Everything.
The more you measure your social media activities, and the responses to it, the more you’ll be able to keep refining your outreach. Tracking your likes, shares, and comments, and which content generates engagement is a great way to find out what’s resonating with your audience – and what isn’t. It will also help you see what stories your employee ambassadors connect with most. Test with applicants to find out how many have seen the content, better yet, applied because of these shares. How have referrals jumped as a result of the program and how has awareness of the EVP internally grown as a result of this program. Other tips include making your Instagram links trackable, keeping count of the number of followers you have, and tagging employees in posts. With every month that passes, you’ll have more and more rich data to inform what you do next.
While not everyone is familiar with social media or how to get the best out of it, the power of social media for building both employee engagement and your employer brand is growing. Investing a bit of work up front will make all the difference to the success of your social media employee engagement. Let us help you create a social media strategy for your employees that will inspire them and support you. Call us today at 647-308-2352 to learn more!