What goes on social, stays on social… it’s no wonder that sales leaders are nervous of letting their teams loose with the brand. We’ve all seen press coverage of employees that use social media to have a rant about something, only to find the brand dragged through a damaging debate or even occupying the front page of the tabloids.
At Tribal, we disagree wholeheartedly with Mr Barnum’s old adage “there is no such thing as bad publicity” so we’ve created a host of tips and tools to help Sales Managers ensure their teams understand their employee social media policy and what their social selling activity is supposed to achieve.
1. Social Hero or Social Zero?
First things first. As the person with whom the buck stops, you need to get a view of the true size of the problem. Don’t forget, some of your people (39% according to Weber Shandwick) may well already be posting positively about your organisation so results, depending on the demographic of your team, are likely to be better than you imagine.
Our social impact quiz takes your team through scenario-based questions to find out whether they truly understand the impact they can have on social media. Once they’ve completed it, you’ll have a clear view of who your heroes are and who needs a little more time invested before they start on your social selling program.
2. Get it right the first time
Considering the number of smartphone owners worldwide was expected to reach 36% in 2018, having grown from just 10% in 2011 (Statista.com), assuming your employees aren’t active during work time is pretty naïve. There should be no argument when it comes to investing time in drawing up a clear and comprehensive employee social media policy. However, key to ensuring understanding is simplicity.
Ways to keep things simple include:
- Using language and phrasing that empowers and inspires your employees rather than coming across as the ‘internet police’
- Writing for your audience – drop the legalese, keep it clear and intuitive
- Make it interesting to read. A conversational tone and lots of references to real-life scenarios will keep your readers’ interest and generate better understanding
Download our employee Social Media Policy e-book for key dos and don’ts when it comes to creating your social media policy.
3. Make it visible
It seems hard to believe, but one way in which organisations fail to educate their employees is by putting their carefully thought-through Social Media Policy in a safe place on the corporate intranet and forgetting all about it.
For an employee social media policy to work, it needs to be visible, easily accessible and continually referred to. Employees can’t hope to learn the nuances of online etiquette if the policy is anything less than a working, living document.
Include the policy in as many different communications as possible. Make it readily available, both online and in print, in as many places as you can. To ensure people are accessing it regularly, consider introducing gamification: set a quiz question each month with a small prize/incentive for the winner. The question could refer to a specific point in the policy and, with the right incentive, will be sure to have people reaching for their copy.
4. Train, train, train
Training shouldn’t just happen at the launch of your policy. For successful adoption and understanding, it needs to be a continuous process. Real-life examples are always the best way to test the reactions of your employees and we suggest different levels of training according to your team member’s ranking on our social media maturity quiz.
5. A tool fit for the job
Part of a successful Social Selling program is the tool that an organisation chooses to house its content. Employees are more likely to become effective advocates if there’s access to good and appropriate content, particularly in the early days of a new approach. Plus, and this is a big reason for getting the right tool, it can protect the organisation and brand by offering a source of content that is quick and easy to use while also being risk-free.
One potential reason for employees to fall foul of internet usage guidelines might be their lack of understanding of corporate messages or brand values. In fact, according to Weber Shandwick and KRC Research, only 51% of employees clearly understand and support the purpose and mission of the organisation, and fewer than 30% of them feel they are being communicated with and kept in the loop.
With this in mind, why not encourage your team members to suggest content that might amplify the brand values and messaging? There’s nothing like a brainstorm or a focus group to give you a clear indication of what people are thinking. If their content suggestions are on the mark, you know they understand what you are trying to do.
You can also track how often users are accessing the tool and whether the content they are sharing is engaging your audience. This will give you yet more evidence that they understand what you are trying to achieve.