By now, most businesses understand and are harnessing the power of social media and the benefits it can bring.

Loyal brand ambassadors are invaluable to brands and businesses. These are the people that are engaging with and sharing your posts. Without these audiences reading and sharing your content, your value on social drops dramatically. With staff, you have a ready made bunch of brand ambassadors who – with the right guidance – can be vital in increasing brand awareness and improving your social media presence.

From sharing company statuses, linking to your site in their bio or including their job title and a link to your company’s handle in their bio, these are all fantastic ways for improving your online presence. People trust information from family and friends a lot more than they do brands. Therefore it’s perhaps not surprising that content shared by employees gets 8 times more engagement than content shared by brand channels.

How you can ask employees to interact on social media

  • Associate with the brand (links/info in bio, status shares)
  • Create a completely separate work account

But what happens when it goes a bit wrong? If you’re a large company or a company without a dedicated social media team, it’s going to be difficult to keep tabs on everyone’s social media activity. Suddenly, you find yourself like Burger King, who in 2013 had an employee post a Twitter picture of himself lying on a mountain of burger buns. Or Taco Bell, who found themselves in a similar situation when a staff member uploaded a snap of himself licking a whole load of taco shells.

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(Image: dailymail.co.uk)

In the worst case scenarios, social activity by employees can be extremely brand damaging. Or, you might find that as well as sharing your company updates and actively advertising the fact that they work for you, you discover an employee is using the same Twitter account to make abusive/racist/sexist/other comments. These are drastic examples, but it’s worth considering.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Offer basic work-related social media training to the whole company
  • Offer extra training to those not used to using social media (who want it)
  • Consider setting up separate profiles for certain company members

Some members of staff may find they’re using their Twitter account for work purposes a lot more frequently that they perhaps first considered they would. For example, have you followed our very own @suzanne_huddled on Twitter? Suzanne found she spent a lot of her time tweeting exclusively about huddled events/goings on in the office – as happy as she was to share this news she understood that sometimes an alternative profile to separate two entities avoids work and pleasure clashing.

Create a social media policy that outlines:

  • The do’s and don’ts of social media use (use more dos than don’ts)
  • What cannot be disclosed about the company

Now, most people will have the common sense not to post on social media about private matters happening around the office. But perhaps something great happens, like a client win, and you may want this to stay within the office for the time being. In this instance it may be worth occasionally pointing out as a boss that certain things aren’t appropriate for people’s social profiles.

  • If people have access to company social media accounts, what should/shouldn’t be shared and what to do if they post something they shouldn’t
  • Importance of having an engaged workforce in the first place who would want to shout about your brand with little encouragement

As easy as it is for the social team to send naggy emails every time they send out a company tweet, how much easier would it be to know you have staff that actively check the company page and engage with it. This is equally about ensuring your social presence is one your staff want to be a part of, as well as employees that are willing to share your content.

  • Don’t over do asking people to share/re-tweet etc. as it loses impact and credibility. Save for big/important news
  • Ultimately should have an element of trust – more benefits than negatives of employees using their social media to talk about who they work for, these are just a few ways to put measures in place to prevent any problems