Do you wish your small business was more active on social media, but you don’t have time to handle it all yourself? Letting your employees represent your business on social media can be a good way to create an authentic social media presence, help your employees develop reputations as industry experts and attract more customers.
But if you’ve heard horror stories about employees posting negative things about their companies on social media or tweeting personal opinions under the company’s account, you might be scared of letting your staff loose on social media.
With a little advance planning, training and follow-up, you can use your team to expand your social media outreach without fear. Follow these steps:
1. Set goals and share them. Employees need to know what your goals are on social media. These could be long-term goals, such as generating leads and cementing relationships with existing customers, or short-term goals such as getting more customers into your restaurant or store for a special event. Knowing what you want to do will help them tailor their social media efforts.
2. Show them the ropes and the rules. You’ll need to provide some social media training. For older employees, this may be showing them how to get comfortable on social media. For younger ones, it may be how to engage with customers and the public professionally. Put your social media policy in writing as part of your employee handbook, and make sure everyone understands it. For example, you should ensure employees know not to share the company’s confidential or proprietary information; not to use vulgarity or obscenity; and not to post derogatory comments about the company, customers or other employees.
3. Make it relevant. Employees’ social media interactions and outreach should relate to their roles. For instance, if you own a dog grooming business, the groomers could share tips for keeping dogs clean between groomings or recommended products to use, while the marketing person could share specials, discounts and events at your location.
4. Encourage sharing. Some employees are shy or get nervous about creating their own social media content. But every employee can help your business’s social media presence by sharing content from your company. Make it easy by sending employees links to tweet or post content to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or whatever social media platforms you use.
5. Make it rewarding. Use analytics to see which employees’ social media posts and tweets get the most results such as driving users to your website or encouraging engagement. You can reward these employees with prizes, bonuses or simply recognition. Holding contests between departments or employees is often very motivating.
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Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.