How Social Media Turns Your Employees Into a Secret PR Army

By Ryan Holmes | 3 years ago | 7 Comments

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By Ryan Holmes, HootSuite CEO

Let’s do some math.  Say you have 1,000 Twitter followers. Your daily tweets reach those 1,000—if you’re lucky.  Now let’s suppose you have 1,000 employees, each with an average of 1,000 followers.  If they start retweeting your updates, you could suddenly be reaching 1 million followers.

Leveraging employee PR power is no groundbreaking concept, but its potential is higher than ever thanks to the proliferation of social media.

Step one is to get your employees collaborating more effectively in the workplace.  Better teamwork and access to a steady flow of company news are essential ingredients for cooking up an educated and passionate workforce. After all, for your untapped PR army to get out there and show the world your brand, they first need to become your best, most loyal fans.

Close-up of toy infantry soldiers recreating a battle scene

Our tool, HootSuite Conversations, is an internal communication platform that makes this possible. Think of Conversations as your very own social network, enabling employees to form groups and talk amongst themselves in real-time. Old hierarchies and departmental walls break down.  Information is shared freely instead of getting cooped up in email inboxes. And it all happens securely and privately.

Best of all, appropriate messages and updates can be amplified at the click of a button to Twitter. Employees can share product news with their own followers, extending your reach well beyond office walls. And all of this happens organically, within a single dashboard where messages are read, composed and – when and if the time is right – pushed to Twitter.

Real-time messaging, Twitter, and Facebook are anything but distractions in the workplace. When used in the right ways, they are the next generation of productivity tools and the key to tapping the PR army that’s already on your payroll.

(Toy soldiers image: Horia Varlan)

This post was originally published on the LinkedIn Influencer blog, a new resource that brings together regular insights from hundreds of thought-leaders around the globe. To find out how you can follow world leaders, educators, industry experts and others (including HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes), read this post: “How to Follow Richard Branson, Barack Obama and…Ryan Holmes on LinkedIn

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Hilarious and nonsensical. I like how certain commentators see social media as some form of magic PR/brand/marketing tool to crowbar on their bullshit.

Your employees are probably less likely to be "on message" than anyone. Any of them that start regurgitating the sort of blatant company like that you're talking about would have as much credibility (and ultimately folllowers) as any other obvious lackey.

Just give it up. Yes, people can be stupid, but not that stupid, and not en masse.

Kristen Jensen
Kristen Jensen

This works very well in the food and beverage industry. It is not just the staff that are the soldiers but your repeat customer as well.

Parham Baker
Parham Baker

This is quite true, and especially when you link your blog, your facebook business page and twitter together so any post on blog or FB gets tweeted. This really sees an exponentiation of your marketing effectiveness. There are a number of great mobile apps too to assist in this like hootsuite. I like to monitor my twitter account real time with TweetDeck, so I can keep my finger on not only my clients and vendors, but employess as well.

Will @ EventMobi
Will @ EventMobi

Awesome tips, Ryan!

We employed that strategy almost by accident as all of our team members at EventMobi are fairly active on Twitter and as a result retweet, share and discuss online with one another (even though we're literally shoulder to shoulder).

This has worked very well for us in terms of our hiring (spreading our internal culture) and just sharing our content and getting on the maps of influencers, garnering press that we might have not received had we not been active on Twitter.

savita sharma ( @savydi )
savita sharma ( @savydi )

Nice placing " PR Army" ...Good Idea.. Implementation is imp..with this the Internal Communication/Views can also be shared.. Thnx

Andy Au
Andy Au

Hi Simon,

Some companies are much better equipped to activate employee advocates than others. First hand, I've seen it used to great success right here at HootSuite.

The workforce here is inherently geared towards social media though. I suppose it starts with educating and trusting your employees. There's certainly something to be said about having earned media in terms of credibility, but we're not selling snake oil here.

Check out this article about leveraging employee advocates as brand advocates.