One common misconception that many employers make is that employees will be distracted and less productive if they are allowed on social networking sites. And that can be true if they are playing Farmville or just chatting it up with their friends—but there are ways companies can take advantage of their employees using social media that can benefit the company.
Here are five things you can ask your employees to do in order to be more productive on social media.
- Clean up their profiles.
The first step in ensuring that your employees are going to be more productive on social media in a business sense is encouraging them to create more professional social media profiles. For most employees, the biggest challenge will likely be Facebook and what they share with the public.
While companies can’t control what their employees share on their social media pages, companies can ask that employees consider changing certain updates to private so that their public personas seem more professional. That way, they can connect themselves to the company, and their network can discover the company’s page through them.
- On Facebook, employees should list the company as their current employer and make sure that the company’s Facebook page is linked to that entry and visible to the public.
- On Twitter, employees should include the company’s Twitter handle in their Twitter bio.
- On LinkedIn, employees should have the company as their current employer and make sure that the company’s LinkedIn page is linked to that entry and visible to the public.
This way, as employees are using these networks, they are also simultaneously getting exposure for your company.
- Focus their energy on areas that pertain to your business.
The next step is to talk about what employees should do on each social network to help get more exposure for the company. For example, on Facebook and LinkedIn, employees can join groups using their personal profile and look for opportunities to engage in discussion with the company’s ideal customer base—especially discussions that might lead to mentions of the company’s products or services.
On Twitter, employees can search for tweets referencing keywords that show a user is searching for your company’s products and services and respond to them.
They can also branch out to sites like Quora where people are asking questions about your industry and answer them, hopefully in a way that naturally leads to a link back to your company’s website or a piece of content your company created. Speaking of content…
- Share content for the company.
If your company is creating content—blog content, video content, podcasts, presentations, webinars, etc.—then your employees could be using their social media time to spread that content with your target audience (i.e. your ideal customers). The more employees you have out on social media, the more opportunities they will find to share your content in groups, in discussions and in Q&A.
You should also encourage your employees to go beyond social media and see what kind of results they can get out of engaging in forums. Consider them social media groups, without social media networks attached to them—communities filled with passionate people who want to discuss a topic that ideally relates back to your company, your products and your services.
While self-promotion is usually frowned upon in the forum posts themselves, you usually get a forum signature that appears beneath each post you make in a forum. That’s where you can link to your company’s latest blog post, website or featured promotion. All of which leads us to…
- Mention the company, its products or its services.
The more your employees are on social media, the more they will identify the right times and places to mention your company, your products and your services. Those times might be publicly, in a post or in a group, or those times might be in a private message. Either way, so long as they are spreading the word, they are doing their jobs.
- Guard the reputation of the company.
In addition to helping promote the company, employees can be on the lookout for things that threaten the company’s reputation. Negative reviews, blog posts or even simple comments in groups can sometimes go undetected by reputation monitoring software.
That’s why it’s good to have people actively pursuing communities where potential and current customers are talking. It will give your company an edge and the ability to nip any negative talk in the bud. It will also give your company a chance to find out what people don’t like about your competitors and potential utilize that information in your marketing materials or updates to your products and services.
How do you encourage your employees to engage with social media? Share in the comments below!