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Tired of Going it Alone? Here’s How to Get More Employees on Social Media

Blog   /   Social
April 29, 2015

If a Tweet is posted in your office, and no one else is on social media, does it really make a sound?

That terrible joke describes a terrible reality for many social media managers who struggle to get other employees in their companies involved on social. You can spend all day Tweeting and Instagramming, but if the rest of your coworkers aren’t pitching in you will still be missing out on major opportunities for social media success.

The more employees get involved, the easier it is to blow up a new piece of marketing content, get your corporate hashtag trending, or help a client with their own campaign. With more employees on social you can share expertise with your followers, build more personal connections with brand ambassadors, and tackle any customer service issues much faster.

So how do you convince them to start helping? This isn’t about the logistics of scaling social media across your organization (We’ve got tons of content that can help you out with that). This is about sparking interest and making people comfortable online. It’s about making social media appealing and interesting in a work context. And this is about getting people on board without forcing them to get onboard.

Here are a few ways that you can get more employees on social media:

Demystify social media for business

For many people, social media has two different purposes: For regular people, social media is about talking to friends and family, posting photos and playing games. For businesses, social media is about advertising and customer service. In their minds, there’s little to no overlap between the two, and they don’t have much interest in getting involved with the boring, formal version of social media.

If you want more employees to get involved in social media within your business, you first need to demystify professional social networks as a concept. You need to teach people that very simple actions can help your business and help their careers.

  • Keeping your LinkedIn profile up to date is good for your own professional networking, and will also reflect well on your business.
  • Sharing your company’s blog content on Twitter will make you seem helpful to followers while boosting the reach of that piece of content.
  • Follow your company on Facebook will keep you more in the loop with initiatives coming out of other departments at your business

These are not complicated activities, but they contribute to your business’ corporate social media presence in a big way.

You also need to show them that many of the actions they take on personal accounts can be spun to the benefit of your business. Are your employees sharing photos on Instagram from the last work party? Ask them to tag it with your company hashtag. Anyone who clicks it will see a bunch of photos of work functions and activities, which could help you with hiring. We use this approach with our #HootsuiteLife hashtag.

Corporate social media doesn’t need to be formal, dry or boring. Making that clear to your coworkers will go a long way in getting them to help out online.

Train everyone on social media

Social Media Education for PR

One of the biggest impediments to having more employees on social media is a lack of knowledge about platforms, and how to use them professionally. People don’t want to mess up and they don’t want to figure things out on their own. Social media training resolves both of these issues.

Just making social media training available to staff isn’t enough though. Why? Simply put, many staff members won’t ask for help. They might too embarrassed, especially if they have only a basic understanding of social media. Other staff might have preconceived notions of social media and believe it to be a waste of their time. “I’m really busy” might just be the most common reason employees don’t get involved in social, and it’s an easy one to accept since many people actually are.

By training your entire staff on how to use social media, you avoid any potential embarrassment while exposing the doubters to the real power of these tools. You also show them that social media is important to the business and not considered a waste of work time, as the misconception goes.

Make a point of involving executives

 Image by Philipp R.T. Henzler
Image by Philipp R.T. Henzler

While on the subject of this misconception, is there a stigma about social media where you work? Have people gotten in trouble for scrolling through Facebook or Instagram on work time? Are some sites even banned on your work internet? If so, you might see why people shy away from social media for professional purposes. They’re worried about getting in trouble or being seen as a slacker.

So how do you kill this perception. Aside from the above-mentioned training and incentives, make a point of getting your executive team involved on social media. Only 52% of companies report that their executives are informed, engaged and aligned with their company’s social strategy. Is it any surprise then that they might misunderstand the social media activities of their employees?

Have your boss answer public questions on Periscope or Meerkat. Ask them to follow your new hires on Twitter. Set them up for easy social media content curation. Get them on Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr. When the rest of your employees see the brass taking time to work on social media, they’ll be far more likely to follow suit.

Follow and engage your coworkers

This is so simple but so effective. An easy way to get teammates involved in social is to follow them.

Follow them from your personal accounts and your corporate accounts. People will appreciate their company following them on Twitter. It makes people feel valued, while also gently reminding them that their profiles are public anyways. If you found them on social, their coworkers and clients can easily do the same. This realization is often enough to drive people to be more proactive in their social activities and get more involved professionally.

Provide an incentive

If someone is reluctant to spend time on social media, providing them with an incentive might just change their mind. This isn’t bribery; it means giving people an extra push, another reason to consider contributing to your social strategy. Simply following them, as mentioned above, is one type of incentive, but there are many others you might consider:

  • A contest where everyone who shares a piece of marketing content is entered to win a prize
  • Sharing employee’s Instagram photos from corporate accounts, helping them grow their personal followings
  • Hosting an account take-over, where an employee in a different department is given (supervised) control of a major corporate account

The point of incentives is to give people a reason to participate, hoping that they actually enjoy it and decide to continue being involved. Don’t get caught up offering incentives again and again to people who wouldn’t otherwise partake.

Make social media fun

This ties back into demystifying social media for business: people don’t believe corporate social can be fun. As long as that belief remains rampant, you’re not going to get the kind of widespread participation from colleagues that you want.

Don’t just say that social media is fun, show your staff how it can be fun. Use humor, jokes and wordplay in your social media content. These posts will show your staff that you’re open to creative ideas, and they’ll likely perform better since social media users appreciate creative and witty content. If you have a positive or creative exchange with a client or any user on Facebook or Twitter, save it and share it with your company. These interactions are a great illustration of the benefits of being real and personable on social media.

How many Meerkats do you see in this photo? #Meerkat @appmeerkat #HootsuiteLife

A photo posted by Jaime Stein (@jaimestein) on

At Hootsuite, every week we give new staff a tour of the office. We decided to throw at tour on Periscope and the new staff loved it. This set the bar right from the get-go, showing these members of our staff that we’re a social organization and one that liked to have fun.

Other ideas for making social media fun include:

  • Having a company-wide hashtag used to show office culture
  • Creating private Facebook groups where staff can joke around, share private office photos
  • Involving staff in videos and image campaigns for Instagram, YouTube

Ultimately, as a social media manager, staff will look to you to show them how social media fits into their role within your business. The better you are at illustrating the virtues of social media, the more other employees will contribute to these efforts.

Grow your social media reach through employee advocacy with Hootsuite Amplify.

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