For your business to gain the most benefits from social media, it helps if everyone on your team is on board. Not everyone, however, is equally enthusiastic about social media.
Older employees who didn’t grow up with Facebook and Twitter may be reluctant to get involved. Younger employees may be caught up in their own personal online activities and may need some encouragement to share your vision.
Here are some ways to rally everyone around a common social media strategy.
Ask for Ideas and Input
If you want to engage your workers to participate in your social media activities, it helps to give them some input. Actively ask people for ideas. You can do this at meetings, in office memos and in emails.
People don’t have to be tech savvy or even social media savvy to come up with ideas for content and campaigns. You might hold polls that ask people’s opinions about which topics, tweets, memes or images they like best. The more people feel they are part of the process, the more likely they are to get on board with your program.
Education is crucial to inspire people to participate in your social media efforts. Some people are reluctant to take part in areas where they lack knowledge. Social media also moves at such a rapid pace that it’s easy for anyone to fall behind. For example, someone might know a great deal about Facebook and Twitter but not SnapChat or Instagram. If you make education a priority, you can make sure everyone is up to date.
Naturally, you have to plan your social media education efforts in a way that’s relevant to your own social media goals. You also have to do it in a way that captures people’s attention. If you present tedious videos or hand them long, dry reports, they will not absorb much. Look for concise, targeted and engaging ways to inform your employees. This might include sending them to conferences and seminars or tuning into entertaining yet informative videos and webinars.
Have Well-Defined Social Media Policies
Because so many people today have personal social media accounts, the lines between personal and professional often become blurred. This may make people reluctant to post anything on behalf of your company. It can also cause problems if employees who post in the name of your business have content in their personal profiles that reflects poorly on your business.
Depending on your business and industry, you may want people to have separate personal and business accounts. Some smaller or more casual businesses, on the other hand, have no problem with people merging the two. In either case, you should set clear guidelines about the kind of content people can post.
In addition to potentially offensive content, you probably want to discourage people from posting anything that promotes competitors. When everyone is clear about the policies, they’ll feel more confident about contributing.
Recognize and Incentivize Efforts
Everyone likes to be recognized and rewarded for his or her efforts. You should keep this in mind when you want to motivate people to contribute to your social media efforts. There are many fun ways you can do this.
You might hold contests with rewards such as gift certificates for the person who posts the most creative item every week. Even when you’re not holding contests, you can recognize outstanding efforts on a leaderboard or mention them in your company newsletter.
Balance Specialization and the Big Picture
You have to decide whether to divide your workers into different specialized areas of social media or have everyone do a little bit of everything. For most businesses, it’s best to have specialists but also give people a healthy amount of cross-training.
Social media encompasses so much today that you’ll probably want to segment your employees based on their areas of expertise. You need a cohesive social media strategy as well as some more specific areas. Employees can contribute to different areas of your social media campaigns based on their own experience and expertise. More extroverted employees might enjoy making videos. Others might take great photos. You might have gifted writers who can describe your products in an engaging manner.
If you’re engaged in Facebook or other types of advertising, you’ll have to assign this task to a person or team. It’s crucial to have a clear strategy and budget for advertising. This is one area that requires a great deal of focus. Understanding all of the nuances of an advertising platform can take quite a bit of study. Running profitable advertising campaigns takes a great deal of testing and refining. That’s why specialists handle advertising at many companies.
Another activity that you should not overlook is social media listening. This involves tracking conversations that are relevant to your business. This includes not only brand mentions, but areas such as industry news, mentions of competitors, relevant questions and problems posed by users. All of this information helps you refine your knowledge of your customers and industry.
While specialists can focus on their areas of expertise, you also want to make sure everyone is aware of the bigger picture. It helps if everyone has at least a working knowledge of the various social media platforms and strategies you’re employing. This makes communication and cooperation easier.
Some of the most effective campaigns combine many elements. If you’re launching a new product, for example, you may want to post about it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You may want to place some ads that link to your Facebook page. It helps if everyone working on these different areas share some common knowledge.
Turn Your Employees into Brand Advocates
Ideally, everyone in your business is a brand advocate or brand ambassador. Because social media is so diverse and pervasive, everyone can contribute something of value. It may take some education, communication and rewarding to motivate people to participate to their full potential. Social media has become an intrinsic part of how businesses promote, engage and support their customers. You want to make sure that no one in your business is left behind.