The likelihood is that anyone who reads this has experienced social media in some form. According to Business2Community, 90 per cent of people aged 18 to 29 regularly use social media and Pew Internet Center found that 52 per cent of these use two or more social media sites.
According to further research by Yesmail, 91 per cent of retail brands are now also using two or more social media channels to connect with their online audience. The point is that social media is huge – and any business that isn’t already on social media is running a major risk of alienating its audience. It may be hard to believe, but there are still plenty of businesses without a social media presence.
It’s clear that social media can play a massive part in the success of a business. Recent reports have found that as much as 98 per cent of your employees are using at least one form of social media for their personal use. For a successful social marketing campaign in 2016, you need to find a way to connect your business with your employees’ social media profiles.
With that in mind, here’s how social media can benefit both you, as a business, and your employees.
Research by Cisco found that, on average, employees have 10 times more followers than the brand that they work for, which shows the need for businesses to use their employees’ social media presence as an asset.
Your employees’ personal social accounts will be much more personable and less business-orientated than the brand’s account. Their followers won’t be looking to them as a company and will therefore treat them more like a person. This means that their opinion will come across as being more genuine than a business account.
You should use this to your advantage and encourage them to share your content. According to MSLGroup, brand messages travelled 561 per cent further when shared by employees, versus the same message being shared on the brand's social channel. Research found that the messages were being re-shared 24 times more, too.
The type of followers that the business and its employees have will also be pretty different, so this offers a great opportunity for cross-appeal.
Social media can be a great tool to engage with people and the same can be said for your very own employees.
A great example of how a business can use social media to engage with their employees is to look at how L'Oréal turned its employees into a social community and realised that its employees were the best brand ambassadors it could ever have.
The brand created hashtags for use on Instagram and Twitter, encouraging its employees to talk about their working lives and to discuss the things they did together as a #LorealCommunity. By sharing their experiences, the employees had the opportunity to win prizes – rewarding their interaction.
While we may not all have the budget and exposure of a brand such as L'Oréal, it’s a great example of how your employees really are your best asset and we should all be using them as such.
We live in a world where digital is becoming more and more important. With that in mind, word of mouth and online recommendation have become some of the most vital marketing tools for any business.
According to BrightLocal, 88 per cent of customers will trust an online review just as much as a personal recommendation and nearly 9 in 10 consumers will read an online review to determine the quality of a local business.
A report by Forrester found that only 15 per cent of people trust posts from companies and brands on social media. So, if you really want to get your message across to consumers, you may want to think about how your employees can play a part.
Encourage your employees to have a key role in your activity – a really easy way to do this is to get them involved with your blog (if you have one) and ask them write regular posts. Once it’s live, you can share it on social media using their name and handles. They’ll be more inclined to share it with their followers, and readers will be more likely to check it out.
If you’ve not already gathered, the effect that social media has on a business is huge. If you’re not actively present on social media then it’s essential that you get on board now. But remember, it’s not all about promoting your services or products – it’s about engaging and connecting with audiences, including your employees.
When you appreciate your employees, you’ll find that they will turn into brand advocates. Those who are happy in their job are more likely to promote the company in a positive manner. Ask them to work with you on your social marketing and the benefits will be reaped by both business and employee.
Ben Martin is a creative director at the PR and creative agency Peppermint Soda.
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