One scroll down your social media feeds and you’ll notice that even though many brands strive for a personal approach on their social media profiles, they fail to achieve that goal or secure a genuine connection with their audience.
In fact, 90% of brands use social media platforms to increase their visibility on the market. Their tone is right, the content visually appealing—but their audiences are mainly comprised of millennials and Gen Z, generations that seek out proof that brands are truly what they claim to be.
No matter how approachable the companies appear on social media platforms, by solely focusing their social media marketing strategy on the company’s official profiles, they are missing out on one trick sure to help them connect with their audiences in a genuine way. The secret lies in including their employees’ social media profiles in the company’s social media marketing plan, thus creating the “proof” that the company truly practices what it preaches.
When we created .ME’s brand, we realized the key to its success was first and foremost our employees, the people who make .ME what it is. Regardless of current trends, employees are—and always will be—the biggest representatives of the company’s brand.
After all, it is employees who set you apart from your competition by being the pillars of your company’s brand. They will go the extra mile to create an exceptional customer experience for your clients. However, they will do so only if they love and believe in what they do.
This is why the values of our company have been actively shaped by the personal values of the people on the team: putting a personal and human touch into every business interaction, creating a safe community for consumers, and giving back to the community. Companies should only hire people whose personal values will reflect the business’ values, as employees are at the core of a brand.
Employees who share the same beliefs and values as the company are the first ones to make the brand more personal and accessible to others.
With the “behind-the-scenes footage” they post on social media platforms, they show the world what your brand is all about. The content is raw and sincere and displays the human side of the brand.
When their values are in line with those of the company, employees are the first ones to engage in online conversations and are ready to solve any issues that arise. They are key to the brand-building process and help build the company’s reputation as a leader in its respective industry. Since people are 16 times more inclined to read a post shared by a friend than by a brand, it is vital you engage your employees.
So, what should leaders focus on when coaching employees to organically communicate with customers on social channels?
- Encourage them to be candid.
Rather than forcing employees to share generic communications that were crafted by the company, you should coach employees to organically communicate with customers on their own social media profiles. Let them discover, create and share what they find interesting as a team.
The success of your social media strategy hinges on the employees’ approach. It must be organic and not forced. In most cases, you’ll find that instead of sharing inappropriate or irrelevant content, employees will seek out interactions with customers that are helpful and inspiring.
- Facilitate conversation around brand alignment and messaging.
To yield the most favorable results, organize a team-building session in which employees discuss the most important aspects of the company’s brand and come up with their own social media guidelines about what is appropriate to share. The research has shown that 60% of employees feel that the marketing department does not give candid guidelines on approaching social media. Therefore, companies should create an environment in which the employees feel how important they are to the company and develop a sense of achievement for being part of the team. This will set the foundation for additional training on social media.
During training, distribute and discuss social media guidelines that will help employees navigate social media platforms for the company and in their private lives, too. Take this opportunity to encourage your employees to share and solve a problem together and share their vision for the company. Establish language they should use when interacting with customers, share your thoughts about the company’s brand vocabulary and allow them to share their own opinions.
The training should create a framework and empower employees to create impromptu, informal moments with customers while remaining professional and appropriate.
In order to connect with your customers, it is no longer enough to be present on social media platforms as a brand, but you also must have your employees back you up with content of their own. This shows not only that they love their jobs, but also that they support and believe in the company’s brand.
Including your employees in your social media strategy—only in a way that isn’t forced—is a guaranteed way to highlight your corporate culture through content that illustrates the company’s true essence.
Natasa Djukanovic is the CMO of Domain.ME, the company that operates the “.ME” internet domain. Keep up with Natasa on Twitter at @natasad.