You are working on your social media strategy and have determined your target audience, messaging, and how you plan to participate. You have even assigned a resource specifically to manage your social media presence and have begun to see some great results. Now you want to roll it out company wide and encourage your employees to participate. By having your teams participate actively in social media, you can create brand evangelists who will work to create relationships with both customers and prospects.
Additionally, as they build their brands and become influencers in your space, your company will be seen as even more of a thought leader. But it is tough to get people to contribute, and you will need some structure in place to guide your teams in the right direction. Here are a 5 ways to build out your employee social media culture by creating an environment that encourages participation:
1) Get stakeholder buy-in.
This is extremely important if you want your company to actively participate in social media. Your executive team needs to believe in the cause and they need to evangelize it throughout your organization. Participation from social media needs to come from the top down, so it is important that your executives are on board and ready to participate themselves. Promote leading by example and have them active Twitter accounts and make sure they are contributing to your company blog on a regular basis. To get your executive team on board consider presenting to them and including some of the following information:
- Illustrate competitors who are using employee social media contributions successfully
- Highlight how employee social contributions can be used for lead gen, and creating valuable relationships
- Focus on building your brand thought leadership through increased participation
- Create a report that monitors your social media activity and point out missed opportunities that could be used for creating employee/customer/prospect relationships
2) Create a social media policy.
Determine how you want your employees to participate in social media. At Marketo, we have created a Social Media Policy document that outlines what social networks to participate in, how often, and what the ground rules are. Don’t assume that your employees will know how to participate, so that is why a comprehensive guide will do wonders. Make it easily available to all staff through your company Wiki, HR sites, or even develop your own social media microsite. Promote it through introducing it on a company-wide email and consider creating posters that advertise your guide and post them throughout your offices.
3) Show them the WIIFM.
Your employees are busy, and it takes effort and time to create a Twitter account, post on Facebook, post on LinkedIn, and create blog posts. So you have to show your teams, what is in it for them–what are the benefits of contributing to social media? Here are some things you might want to call out:
- Personal branding–get your name out there!
- Building relationships with sales leads
- Building customer relationships
- Helping your company be seen as a thought leader
You might also want to consider incentivizing social media contributions. You can give out prizes for the employee who Tweets the most or contributes the most blog content. Money motivates, so this is a great way to get started.
4) Training, training, training.
This is one of the most important aspects of getting people involved with B2B social media. You have created your policy, shown them the WIIFM, but now you have to make sure they are trained. At Marketo, we created Social Media Month which consisted of weekly workshops on social networks, participation rules, blogging tips, LinkedIn optimization for SEO, and social media photo day! We also did a series of blog posts: Go On Get Your Blog On and Utilizing LinkedIn to Improve SEO and Organic Visibility. By providing a structured format for learning about social networks your employees can be both well-informed and pumped up and ready to be social!
5) Appoint an internal social media lead.
Your employees will have questions and you want to make sure that they have a go-to person who can answer all of them. By assigning one person as the social media spokesperson, you will have a centralized way of monitoring and further promoting employee participation. That person will be the lead in developing additional training, social media events, and curating contributed content. And of course, he or she will always be in charge of encouraging everyone to be social. Something to note is that your point person does NOT have to be a Subject Matter Expert. Your lead just needs to be someone that has a passion for social media and enjoys building internal relationships.
Now that you have started to create your Social Media Policy and internal participation plan, how about creating your full Social Media Strategy? Check out our new updated for 2012 Social Media Template to get more tips on how to create your complete social plan.