We’ve heard so many times that businesses struggle to stop employees from going off-brand, or posting something unprofessional, when creating employee-generated content. It’s a big risk and a real fear faced by many businesses.
This can often stop them from encouraging employees to generate their own content, which is a shame, because it’s one of the best ways for businesses to grow on social media.
Further problems are created by the fact that even if employees are professional and competent, they may not have the time to share insightful posts on LinkedIn.
Employees who have the most to share are usually the ones who talk to your customers the most, like salespeople and tech experts.
These employees are highly knowledgeable and have many insights to share, but they’re often not confident with writing LinkedIn posts, let alone blog posts.
They’re also very busy, which means that dedicating time to creating content and social posts is the last item on their priority list.
So, how do organisations provide the support and encouragement employees need to turn their valuable insights into content and embrace social selling and employee advocacy?
Training And Enablement
For any employee engagement or social selling programme to be successful, it requires training. Then, and only then, will employees know what the benefits of social media are for them and their role, as well as how it relates to the overall business goals. Effective training will demonstrate what the bigger picture could look like and how they play into it.
Training also helps them to understand social media etiquette, and how to stay on brand with the content they publish. It’s impossible for you to monitor everything every employee posts, especially as a programme grows.
The more engaged and in-depth your training is, the less likely you are to hit hurdles and the more likely you’ll be able to trust employees to stay on brand.
It can help to give good and bad examples, then explain why they work or don’t work, and why they’re on or off brand. Bringing training to life with real-life examples is a fabulous way to highlight the importance of mitigating risk on using social media in the workplace. It’s also important to demonstrate that effective social posts can be both professional and personal, so it’s good to clarify that being ‘on-brand’ doesn’t mean communicating as a corporate automaton!
Try to give a variety of examples, too. A LinkedIn article or a blog post is very different to a standard LinkedIn post, so some people may initially struggle to apply the rules of one to the other.
Everyone learns in different ways, too. Having a variety of training techniques is one way to ensure that as many employees as possible understand what’s expected of them. For example, you could share a recorded webinar, or host regular interactive live webinars where employees can ask questions.
If you have employees approaching social media from different levels, you could work with them to find out their current social media maturity and provide customised training for specific groups and levels so they can advance at the right pace.
Interactive quizzes, with examples, are also a useful way for employees to process and remember things. A written guide for them to refer to when they need to double check something can also help.
Additional Skills For Social Media
Teaching employees how to generate content ideas, and how to write, is an important part of getting them to create content.
We may be trained to write at school, but academic writing is very different to writing for social media. It won’t get you very far on the internet in most industries.
It can help to show employees examples of the writing styles that do work, and to remind them to be themselves. Some people struggle to write in their own voice because they’ve only ever been trained to write for academic purposes.
If this is the case, you could suggest they dictate what they want to say instead. This helps them to turn off the filter and inner critic that many people have when they write.
Pieces that are dictated often come across more natural and casual sounding, making them perfect for social media. They’ll still need some editing, but the employee’s voice will be a lot stronger.
If they’re more comfortable, you could even encourage them to focus on videos or podcasts instead of written content.
Offering one-to-one support, where a more experienced social seller, employee advocate, or marketer can provide feedback on content or ideas before an employee posts something will also help them to understand what’s appropriate. And it will continue to grow their writing and marketing skills.
Learning by doing can be one of the best ways to develop new skills. And it will get individuals to understand how the rules for creating employee-generated content apply to them and their role.
Becoming confident with sharing content, writing social posts, staying within brand guidelines whilst also minimising risk can initially seem rather overwhelming for employees when they begin their social media journey.
However, when organisations provide effective training and enablement, this gives employees an excellent foundation to learn the benefits of content creation, how to write for social media, brand guidelines, and social media etiquette. This will give your team the skills they need to embrace social media in the workplace whilst also staying on brand.