Here are a few common rallying cries:
“We need to get our employees on social media”
“We need to *activate* our employees socially.”
“We need our employees to tweet this sale.”
While those all sound extremely fun and exciting from an employee perspective (can you sense my sarcasm?), there are a number of creative ways companies could rally the troops when it comes to social media involvement on the company’s behalf.
We just don’t hear about it that often.
What we do hear are ineffective tips like this:
“Get your employees on Twitter! Ask them to retweet all your corporate tweets.”
They’re generally not that helpful because they’re not specific enough.
With that in mind, consider these five creative and specific ideas for companies to consider when they think about “activating” employees from a social media perspective.
Have fun with selfies at company events.
Mock selfies all you want. They’re the most popular form of self-expression on the Internet. Why wouldn’t companies take advantage of that?
At our recent PRSA Classics banquet here in Minneapolis, I remember a contest during the show in which people were encouraged to take selfies using a certain hashtag for a chance to win a prize (a ride home in a limo, I believe). I was astounded how many people participated. For your next company event, could you use selfies as a fun way to get employees involved socially? Maybe it’s for a community event where employees are volunteering? Perhaps you could “regram” employee selfies from your corporate Instagram account. Regardless, just have fun with it.
Hold “Twitter Takeover” days.
What about assigning one day a week or month where you allow one employee to take over your corporate Twitter handle? Scary, perhaps, but imagine how it would open up trust among the masses. With a simple set of guidelines in place (since you already have your social media policy to “protect” you), employees would tweet about their experiences during the day working for your company.
It would give followers a whole new perspective into your company. Don’t underestimate the good will this would build with employees.
Use Instagram video to capture community service.
Going back to those employee volunteer events: Could you use short-form video to highlight the work you’re doing in the community? Capture some of the more poignant or light-hearted moments at these events. (Just be sure you have permission before posting video that shows any identifiable faces from the community.)
Ask employees to highlight “summer Fridays.”
In the summer, many companies offer summer Friday hours. So, why not ask employees to share how they’re using their time away from the office to recharge and refresh? Consider aggregating all this content on your site or regramming through Instagram.
Ask employees to write handwritten notes to customers and take photos.
Don’t underestimate the power of a handwritten note. We hear that more and more in today’s digital environment. Ask five employees to write one personal note per week to customers. Ask them to send the notes, but also ask them to take photos of their notes, blurring or hiding customer names, and post through your social channels. This way, you share with a wider audience and you also get one-on-one, intimate communication with your customers.
What creative and specific ways have you encouraged your employees to become more active in social media on your company’s behalf?
A version of this article originally appeared on Arik Hanson's blog.