As employer brand moves higher on businesses’ agendas, the role of social media in externally pushing an employer value proposition, or EVP, has skyrocketed. A social media presence is now vital to brand awareness and engagement. LinkedIn members have an average of 500-999 connections, according to the platform, and with most of those being professional connections, the power of the social media post becomes clear.
An organisation’s employees, then, become hugely valuable in promoting the business to your target audience. They become your own social media marketing, which will become evident for businesses that undertake social listening. In this piece, we’ll look at the channels your employees might use to post, what they might post about and the fine line between authenticity and staying on brand.
The social media platforms your employees might use and how they use them
There's a different social media platform for every need. Today, there are 35 platforms that boast 100 million active users. Your employees won't be on all of them. But it's safe to say an employee who uses social media is likely to be on a number of those listed here.
The social network for a business audience. In B2B marketing, this is where you want your employees to be posting content about your business. LinkedIn is the platform to use if you're looking to get ROI from your content, and is almost always included in a business's content marketing strategy.
On LinkedIn you'll find posts relating to business activity, from comments on full year results to sharing photos of the latest charity day, and even a CEO's blog post. People are increasingly using LinkedIn to share insights into their personal life, while still relating them to their professional life, such as returning from maternity/paternity leave. During the pandemic people responded well to seeing the ‘real’ life of their professional peers, and this remains the case on LinkedIn. However, algorithm changes mean the platform is now favouring professional content, so things are evolving.
X (formerly Twitter)
The platform that was previously a popular choice for quick bursts of opinion is seeing a wavering fan base due to its takeover by Elon Musk. With blue ticks (which previously confirmed authenticity of high-profile accounts) now available to purchase and celebrities previously banned for offensive content now allowed back on the platform, people are being careful about whether or not they use this platform. Many are instead turning to Threads.
If they do, however, you're more likely to see a social media post about a company event - this isn't where your employees will be baring their souls.
Instagram posts tend to focus on beautiful imagery, so if what you do can be considered truly creative you just might see an employee post something about your organisation, but it's unlikely. Your employee is much more likely to post an Instagram story relating to company culture and activities. (An Instagram Reel - a bit like an Instagram story, but with the ability to be much longer, and public rather than just for your followers, is less likely to prove successful.)
There’ll most likely be a generational divide among your employees when it comes to which use Facebook, and businesses are identifying Facebook as a less useful social platform these days.
If your organisation is on Facebook (it's not a must these days), the types of social media posts you should be putting out centre around business updates, and it's unlikely your employees will share these on this platform, whose original purpose was largely sharing photos of family and friends.
Enabling the creation of great social content
The above provided a quick run through of today’s most popular social platforms and the sort of social media posts you might see from your employees. But all that hangs on the employer and its establishment of a workplace that naturally creates opportunities for these kinds of posts.
Be the organisation that you want to be seen as on social media.
If an organisation runs very few team days or events, you're basically cutting the Instagram story out of the equation completely. Equally, if you don't offer a competitive maternity, paternity and adoption packages, you're unlikely to see LinkedIn posts about how much a new parent appreciates their employer.
'Employer brand washing’ is an absolute no-go.
So, if social media is an important part of your employer brand or wider marketing strategy, it might be that a conversation with the HR department is needed to ensure these social opportunities are provided, to in turn reach your target audience. However, it has to be genuine and your employees must feel that change is afoot. 'Employer brand washing’ is an absolute no-go.
Lead with your people
Everyone knows it. People-led content performs best. It's your people that your extended social media network is interested in, so create opportunities for people-led posts, and make sure your people are front and centre in your own social marketing strategy. Chances are, an employee will react to a post they're featured in - in turn, their friends and family will react too, which is extending that post’s reach. If your employees are especially engaged, this could result in a swarm of user-generated content for you to use in your own marketing, or even a great content idea for a single social media post, not to mention an increase in social media followers.
Your own social media posts
The ‘repost’ or ‘share' is a powerful tool in your employees’ arsenal. If an organisation creates high quality content (such as having a team dedicated to content creation across social channels) its employees are much more likely to share it with their audience - particularly on LinkedIn.
Some of it comes down to leading by example - if an employee sees its employer putting out a social media post, a social media-savvy employee will naturally think about creating their own engaging content. But even if an employee isn't minded to create their own content, they might be happy to share something their employer has created. But if the content doesn't exist in the first place, there's nothing for the employee to share.
That being said, flipping this on its head, some platforms, like LinkedIn, have an employee advocacy offering, whereby you can create a post for your employees to then share.
Social media guidelines
Depending on the size of your organisation, social media guidelines might be a good idea - something we're expert in supporting our clients with. If you're actively encouraging your people to post about your organisation on their own social media profile, you run the risk of an individual linked to your business posting inappropriate content.
In most cases, the guidelines will merely act as a 'stop and think’ tool. Knowing these guidelines exists, employees will do a quick sense check of a post before posting. Equally, if unexpectedly an employee posts something that doesn't align with your company’s values, you've got a clear policy you can refer to.
Crucially, though, social media guidelines can act as a training handbook for employees who want to increase their activity on their own social media accounts, but might not know how to. From clearly listing your organisation’s social accounts for employees to engage with, to providing best practice for getting started on the different social platforms and successful posting, social media guidelines could encourage employees to engage more with your business.
A final word on social media
Social media crosses the line between personal and professional, which makes anything around it complicated to moderate, guide and enforce. But leading by example will be the start you need, for engagement, growth and brand awareness. Get active across social channels, and lead by example.
To find out how Wardour can support with your social media content and campaigns, email us at email@example.com.
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