1 Staff member + 1 Facebook account + 1 positive post about your business = 100s of potential new customers.
Chances are every member of your staff has at least a Facebook account. Many probably have Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and other social media accounts. Staff members’ private social media accounts should remain just that – private, and under their personal control. However, there’s nothing wrong with encouraging your staff to promote your business on those accounts, as long as you allow them to make decisions about how and when to promote, and give them good reasons to want to promote to their friends. Some staff may opt to keep work and personal accounts very separate, and you should always respect their right to do so.
Firstly, the rule of good content always applies. If you want your staff to share company content, make sure that content is good. Staff may be proud of your brand and your product, but cringe when they see the terrible photo you posted – make sure your content is high quality and worth sharing.
Secondly, encourage your staff to generate their own content, to share on their own accounts and on the company account. Working on a big project? Encourage staff to share photos of the team at work and tag them with the company name. When they do, comment on the photo thanking them for all the hard work they’re putting in. You can go a step further and generate some great content while sharing fun team-building exercises: hold a ‘silly hat’ day at work and award prizes to the staff member whose hat gets the most ‘likes’. This content builds up an online image of your company that encourages trust and affection for your brand. And your staff identify as an integral part of that brand, so it’s a win-win.
Finally, when you’re in the customer service business, the best thing you can do is encourage all of your staff to engage online, via personal and company platforms, with your customers. Put a human face on your online presence, and benefit from a larger team handling online engagement.
Should you ‘friend’ your staff on Facebook, and other platforms? Generally, we advise allowing staff to friend you if they’d like to, but not instigating the request yourself. You may all be quite friendly and share social occasions outside work, and then it makes sense to be friends on social media, but if you’re a large company and don’t communicate much about your personal lives, friend requests from the boss may be seen as an intrusion. But do encourage all staff to ‘like’ your company’s Facebook page and profiles on other platforms, and ask them to list your company as their current employment in their personal profiles if they’re willing to do so.
If you’re concerned your staff will share negative posts about the company, you should consider whether there’s a human resources problem at the root of this. People generally don’t say negative things about their place of work unless there’s an issue there. If there are strict company guidelines about communications, work out something that everyone will feel comfortable with, and make sure everyone is happy with the guidelines.