June 5th, 2014 by Maria Minsker

Whether or not companies like to admit it, their employees engage with social media during work hours. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing! Thinking back to last year’s CRM Evolution conference (BTW, registration for this year’s conference, to be held at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square in August, is now open!), I remember digital political analyst and social media guru Alan Rosenblatt urging companies to embrace the fact that their employees are on social networking sites throughout the day–that is, after all, where customers are as well.

“We’re always talking about cultivating customer relationships with customers, but what about our employees?” Rosenblatt asked. “If you know what your employees are doing on social media, you can approach them as collaborators and form a mutually beneficial relationship,” he said.

Employees should be strategic partners in social media, Rosenblatt said, and to keep a brand’s social initiative at the top of its game, companies must train all of their staff to be effective and appropriate on social media. They should create user groups to explore best and worst practices, provide tools to facilitate cross-company sharing, and prompt their staff for coordinated actions, like a tweet of the day.

“Once these tools and suggestions are in place, employees can choose to participate voluntarily. They don’t necessarily have to do this, but the easier you make it for them, the more likely they are to become advocates for your brand,” Rosenblatt said.

Turns out, he was right on point. According to recent research from EveryoneSocial, an employee advocacy publishing program,  employees are 38 times more likely to share company content when it is delivered to them via a social media sharing platform rather than through an email invitation to share content. Not surprisingly, the study confirms that by nature, humans prefer the path of least resistance–the easier it is to do something, the more like we are to do it.

EveryoneSocial’s platform, for example, not only allows social media managers to curate content for employees to share, but also enables them to pull from quality employee-generated content and relevant third-party content too. There’s a measurement component as well; the platform’s analytics tools can gather intel on the effectiveness of employee advocacy, with metrics on retweets, shares, comments and clicks.

So: Is it less than stellar that an open Twitter or Facebook tab is becoming a permanent fixture in the workplace? Maybe, but probably not. Sure, there needs to be an appropriate work to tweeting ratio, but there are few people  better suited for being brand evangelists than the employees that represent that brand. Their impact, Rosenblatt said, could be “immense.”

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