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Engaging Employees as Brand Ambassadors via Social Media
Tuesday, June 5, 2012 PRSA Webinar
Jaya K. Bohlmann, APR Founder and principal consultant, Designing CommunicationRobert PhilipsDigital ConnectorGolinHarris Public Relations
How many organizations on this webinar ask their employees to: ◦ Follow their social media pages? ◦ Share content to their online networks? ◦ Blog? ◦ Have a formal process/policy?
Many organizations today struggle with empowering and allowing employees to engage in social media while also protecting against potential risks to corporate reputation. False Intimacy Creates Business Risk
Build Awareness Share Company CSR News/Stori es Crisis Brand Social media rising inMitigation Brand Preference importance with the critical shift from one- way communication to Brand and RELATIONSHIPS with Drive Market stakeholders Sales Insights Increase Customer Loyalty
Benefits & pitfalls of employees participating in social media on behalf of the organization How you can engage your employees and empower them around social media through: ◦ Dialogue ◦ Knowledge sharing and training ◦ Shared, collaborative structure and approach ◦ Policies ◦ Strategic framework with business goals at center Best practices gleaned from Sodexo’s employee social media program
Social Media Monitoring and Response Process• Measure/benchmark share of voice and engagement• Understand key drivers of discussion• Identify top-tier influencers• Unearth specific, short-term opportunities for engagement Positioning Employees to Participate and Engage• Identify and train social media brand ambassadors• Define processes across operational organizations, as appropriate• Create culture that rewards employees for participation Drive Social Media Conversations• Identify owned-channels to create conversation• Determine the appropriate existing social channel to develop a presence
Decentralized workforce and corporate structure Many people on social media- not coordinated Many company brands, products, positioning statements, personal experiences externally seen by many audiences (huge overlap and brand muddiness) Cultural support (“collaborative,” “innovative,” “experts”) Visibility overall increases Legal and IT security alarmed! Public Relations sighs.
Social media means we have to give up control and channel our professional expertise to the areas of education and empowerment. We have an opportunity to expand the work of PR beyond our teams to engage the entire workforce of our organizations as brand ambassadors.
• Specialized expertise• Credibility through their role @ your company• Some existing visibility & stature in industry• A unique or provocative point of view• Ability to let personality shine through• Will take guidance from communications function• Time to participate• Willing to monitor
Not a social media strategy – a PR strategy! What is the employees’ role and accountability? What is PR’s role and accountability? What are we trying to accomplish overall, together? How will we measure it?
Smaller, core group of social media and organizational influencers ◦ They already are using social media ◦ Are influential within the company; have authority based on position, expertise or resource control ◦ Are willing and interested to participate and contribute consistently Broad-based, enterprise-wide group of employees ◦ Anyone PR thinks should be involved!
Online writing and engagement (can use local university professors, agency support, PR team to lead trainings) ◦ How to write for social media ◦ How to keep audiences engaged (timely response, creative content) Media Relations 101 for all employees ◦ Media relations in general Social media webinars ◦ Specific to your organization’s social media properties (how you’re using it, why – business purposes, how employees can be involved and get information from those)
Issues and crisis response Leverage subject matter experts for creating blogs, responding to blogs Provide the training Regularly engage them Ask them to participate in monitoring Call on them often! BLOG RESPONDERS
Create formal and informal internal groups of social media influencers and doers PR to initiate and lead Present latest trends in general; anything from monitoring Discuss recent organizational successes (corporate blogs, Facebook and other social media platforms) Mostly, discuss problems, issues, needs and wants of the group and offer group solutions (and corporate level ones if necessary)
To follow your social media pages and/or share the content: ◦ Feature content that would be of interest to employees ◦ Offer giveaways ◦ Develop rewards program (i.e., GaggleAmp) To encourage employees to generate branded content: ◦ Ensure the social media strategy is relevant to them ◦ Facilitate their participation & trust their judgment ◦ Tie it into their goals and objectives
Blogs Boards/Forums Communities TwitterProvide 1-1 Ask group moderator how the Ambassadors become Follow and engage withfeedback/ideas via brand can provide valuable members of online influencersemail support communities/groupsAdd to social Post commentary to an Proudly display your Promote content postedbookmarks existing thread membership elsewhere on the corporate twitterShare with others via Start a new Brands-related Promote events;email thread participate in other influencers’ activitiesDigg or rate Link to/reference specific Connect with orsubmissions forum posts in brands online “befriend” other dialogue, official channels influential membersLink to/reference Become guest moderators to Answer questions askedtheir content shape dialogue by other community members; pose new onesPost public comment Sponsor relevantwith an official POV boards/forums
Most best practice companies have employee policies related to social media use To create one in your company, follow a systematic approach and be patient with the following steps: ◦ Work with HR, IT, Legal, Marketing ◦ Inform executives ◦ Get an executive champion ◦ Take your time ◦ Get all the right buy-in for your organization ◦ Publicize and educate the new policies
Ethical conduct and legal reminders What constitutes “confidential information” at your organization Boilers and disclaimers to include in any personally owned social media Contacts in PR for clarification or situational assistance Clearly state what’s at stake if policies are breached (as HR policies, the same sanctions should hold) PUBLICIZE AND TRAIN RE THE POLICIES COMPANY WIDE Source: Intel Social Media Policy
FTC Guidelines applies to “endorsements” ◦ Disclosing material connections ◦ Disclosing typical experiences ◦ Marketer liability for false info Marketers best served by insisting on full disclosure of relationship by all participants Monitor conversations closely, participate to correct misinformation
When requests come in to start a new social media tool, evaluate by asking: 1. Purpose (should be measurable and business-related) 2. Intended company business benefit 3. Potential risks to company and how mitigated 4. Intended audience (demographics, size) 5. Weekly time required for maintenance and related staffing 6. Budget needs and availability
Bring Shape, Deliver Ideas Facilitate Message Comms Dept Business Units Ambassadors Spot SM Trends Set SM Messaging Serve As Visible Rep. Focus for Brand in SMIdentify & Prioritize Influencers Manage Ambassadors Deliver Responses within Company Unearth Specific Prioritize SM Guidelines Engagement Engagement Ops Opportunities Provide Expertise, Shape Suggested Serve as a Source Build Influencer Responses Relationships Contribute Content Share Best Practices, to Brand Channels Measure Impact Successes
Enterprise-wide, clearly stated, shared goals and strategy (PR-led, collaborative, inclusive) Social media policy and guidelines are crucial–internal & external ◦ Create an oversight process (user friendly, helpful) ◦ Publicize widely internally ◦ Train thought leaders and other internal influencers Admin management redundancy critical Measure results; recognize successes Ethical conduct and transparency are musts Constantly benchmark and improve Share what you learn!