While social networks provide an opportunity for companies to increase visibility with their target audience, there are risks that can in some cases jeopardize the brand image and business. Being able to establish a company policy or charter for the use of social networks by employees and initiating an Employee Advocacy project can be of key strategic importance. Companies can boost the efficiency of social media use, control any potential mistakes and reap the benefits of a well co-ordinated digital strategy.
The company, the employees and social networks
Companies are capitalizing on social networks such as LinkedIn to develop their web presence, capture new leads, strengthen their competitive position and win new customers. They are investing more and more resources in digital marketing, and are rightly aware that their growth drivers can be found on these platforms. But the business model of using social networks can have its limitations, because obtaining significant visibility requires investing a lot of money in advertising, sponsored ads and other messages that can be considered intrusive by the targets. As a result, the returns are poor quality and the message does not reach the right leads unless the company puts its money where its mouth is.
In a more cost effective solution, the company can count on its employees to develop their visibility across social networks. Employees can relay job offers on their personal accounts, publish the latest sector news or market insights, photos from the latest events and seminars. All with a mutually beneficial result for the company and their own personal branding.
Employees and “bad buzz”
On paper, it all looks easy! There are, however, considerable risks and barriers attached to the use of personal social media accounts for your brand communications. From a French perspective, the most convincing example is without a doubt that of Le Slip Français, the now well-known brand of underwear made in France. The company had to manage a bad buzz crisis because some of its employees had the bad taste to disguise themselves in blackface at a private party. Except that, after publishing the photos on social networks, they were recognized as members of staff for Le Slip Francais.
Another risk of poorly strategised communications on social networks is that an employee who thinks they are doing the right thing can sometimes circulate sensitive information that the company did not want to disclose.
Another barrier to effective social media marketing is the fact that some employees don’t dare to express themselves at all, not feeling authorized to do so, fearing that they will be slapped on the wrist in case of a mistake. While for others, the increasingly blurred boundary between work and private life makes it harder for them to take any initiative.
Create a charter for the company policies and guidelines in the use of social networks
How can we remove such barriers and limit the risks of clumsy or even negative brand communication? The right approach is to set up a company charter for the use of social networks, a social media ethics guide and user manual. It is not a question of restricting employees, but of giving them the keys to effective corporate communication. In short, it is about providing clear information that makes them responsible rather than limiting them, inviting them to think before they act and being in line with the company’s values. The creation of a charter for the use of social networks in companies is what large groups such as Capgemini, among others, have decided to do. It is also incorporated into the company’s internal rules and regulations, thereby exposing employees to possible sanctions in the event of serious breaches.
While the charter allows for the mitigation of certain risks, it is not supposed to be restrictive as it can also provide incentives to the employee ambassadors. Indeed, it invites employees to participate in the digital brand image of the company on social networks.
Supporting good practices by deploying an Employee Advocacy tool
Although a charter for the use of social networks is essential, it cannot be the only lever and tool used in the development of an effective strategy for online visibility. Implementing an Employee Advocacy solution, as we provide for brands operating in a variety of industries, allows companies to adopt a 360° approach to the problems and to reap substantial benefits.
Limber offers the possibility to make each employee an ambassador for the brand, an ambassador who has at his or her disposal a simple and efficient tool for publishing content that has been previously approved by management. Content of all kinds: articles, videos, podcasts, white papers, job offers, etc. are made available as part of a well thought-out and organized inbound marketing and content marketing strategy.
For very active social media users within your team, an Employee Advocacy tool is ideal for satisfying their need for great publishable content, with curated and validated company communications. And for those who are just starting out, the solution is ideal to give them a foot in the door and prevent them from being put off by the volume of content or the doubts involved with publishing across social media.
With Limber, everyone is a winner: the company sees its visibility increased tenfold while maintaining control, and employees benefit from improved personal branding, higher implication and job satisfaction and, through gamification, rewards for the top ambassadors.
Our Employee Advocacy tool ultimately makes it possible to tap into a highly effective strategy around collective influence.