Are Your Employees Part of Your Online Reputation Strategy?
Senior Vice President
Vice President of Digital
Four steps to engage employees in your social media
Why do we use social media?
Social media networks help drive public conversation, share news and entertainment, and help organizations shape and maintain their reputations. They’ve also made our lives more transparent as the boundaries between our personal and professional identities are increasingly blurred. We are constantly connected.
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn are used by brands and individuals alike to share thoughts and build reputation. Each of your employees has his or her own personal social media and individual brand content goals. As an organization, how do you ensure that your staff members understand – and embrace – the role they play in your online reputation?
In this age of transparency, companies are increasingly opening up to their staff about communications strategies, and puzzling over how to include them in those plans.
Employees reflect an organization’s mission and values, and open communication can help them to understand your vision, expectations and goals, and live them in a way that reflects your brand values. Through a four-step process, you can help your employees become your most valuable brand advocates. It’s a simple but profound shift to recognize that your internal engagement strategy is as important as your external social media strategy. We’re all in this together!
Step 1: Form and Share a Social Media Policy
Have a social media policy in place, and make sure that all employees are aware of the policy. This will help employees be clear and confident about what they can and cannot post as it pertains to your organization, as well as their role in presenting a responsible reflection of your organization’s values.
Step 2: Create a Social Media Plan
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
You need an organizational social media plan; it is a vital tool in helping your communications team guide progress toward your organization’s goals. Sharing relevant sections with your staff is equally important. We recommend sharing the content indicated with an asterisk below.
An effective social media plan will include:
Defined goals, as well as key performance indicators to measure success*
Content priorities for each social media platform*
Content creation workflow to make clear who is responsible for content development and how employees can submit content ideas*
Defined cadence and frequency of postings
Monitoring schedule to track what is said about your organization and identify sensitive topics
A social media response matrix to help guide appropriate actions for various situations
Review your plan on a regular basis to ensure it is up-to-date and circulate relevant updates to your staff.
Step 3: Educate Your Staff on Their Role in the Plan
Once a plan is in place, schedule a staff session to share a high-level version, scenarios that illustrate what’s at stake, their role in supporting your digital reputation, and answer any questions.
You also may need more in-depth training for select staff who play a larger role in managing communications and departmental teams. We recommend facilitation by outside experts who can provide an objective voice in helping staff assess various brand messaging and crisis scenarios, developing clear protocol and institutional messages on sensitive issues. PCI’s senior counselors and digital experts are happy to work with your organization to conduct issues management and social media crisis training sessions. To learn how we can help, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step 4: Cultivate an Encouraging Environment
Once your employees understand where they fit into your organization’s brand storytelling on social media, encourage them to participate by submitting content, re-sharing and commenting on your institutional posts, highlighting their accomplishments on LinkedIn and helping them connect with industry peers on Twitter.
Outside audiences often get to know your brand through your employees, so engage them as your best brand advocates. The more you include them in your efforts and encourage participation, the more your social presence becomes an authentic representation of your brand values.
You can also create ready-made posts to share, host continued training seminars and keep awareness of positive postings high. Brand advocacy should be encouraged, never forced.
Use this four-step process to foster enhanced employee engagement so you can grow your brand and reputation together.