Office culture is not what it used to be—or, to be precise, WHERE it used to be. Remember the days of conference rooms, chats in the kitchen, and impromptu meetings in the hallways? Exactly: in-person gatherings and team bonding are rarer these days. As a result, employee social media engagement, in which HR and talent management leaders encourage their employees to engage with or even post about social media posts from their organization, can feel more challenging too. After all, the first part of boosting employee advocacy is getting your employees excited about your culture.
That’s a little harder to do when you’re remote.
However, there’s an unexpected advantage to all of this remote/hybrid work. Online employee advocacy may actually become slightly easier, provided leaders can change how they think about what concrete outcomes they want to achieve. Now that we spend so much time online and working remotely, the virtual space has become far more familiar to all of us. As a result, it’s an ever more vital part of the community—which means that employee advocacy is a way for employees to not only show their company pride, but spend time with their team members.
For more on this topic, check out our post on 11 ways to improve your social media employee advocacy.
Make your expectations clear
Employee social media engagement doesn’t just happen. If you want your employees to share your content, you need to encourage it.
A great way to do this is to make a clear social media policy. Explain why social media advocacy is so important, different ways to achieve it, and what your expectations are. Try to get them excited about it. Most importantly: take time to listen to your employees. Ask them how they feel about engaging with your social media posts, and listen to any concerns they might have.
Another part of this is giving them time to engage. It’s not always practical to expect employees to want to engage with your posts once they’ve already finished work. Giving them several minutes a day to just quickly hop on social media, check what posts they want to engage with, and engage with them is an effective way to boost social media employee engagement.
Boosting employee social media engagement is about getting the (virtual) party started
In any organization, there are the social butterflies and the wallflowers: the people who love posting updates to their accounts every day versus the more introverted employees who still haven’t changed their social media’s default avatar. For HR leaders to encourage more employee interaction, they need to harness the natural enthusiasm of frequent posters as a way of encouraging shyer employees to do the same.
As John G. Graham Jr., VP of Employer Brand, Diversity & Culture at Shaker Recruitment Marketing, explained at our last EMBARC HR Innovators Summit, “I always say, start with the people who are willing, and then the engagement happens. They’re socially active already. They have strong networks. They’re willing to be your front runners. Then other employees/managers start to look left and right, and say, ‘Okay, I guess I can do this too.’”
To encourage more employees to post, HR leaders should vocally commend those employees already engaging with company posts. This positive reinforcement loop will encourage other employees to create their own company-themed posts because 1.) Everybody loves positive attention, and 2.) Most organizations are naturally competitive. By building on organic enthusiasm, employee advocacy transforms from a chore to a contest.
It also doesn’t hurt to throw in some tangible incentives. For example, the company might offer a free lunch to the “winner” of that week’s posting contest, or even some paid time off for an employee who manages to get the most engagement on their company-themed post over the course of a month. Also, managers shouldn’t be afraid to offer some do’s, don’ts, and basic technical training on posting. Just because you’ve mastered the art of embedding photos, tagging friends, and creating those pithy yet catchy hashtags, many employees may be uncertain or simply unfamiliar with the unspoken etiquette of the web. Share the knowledge and reap the rewards!
Craft posts that employees want to share
It may seem obvious, but to boost employee advocacy, you should focus on creating posts your employees will want to share. Some of that will likely happen automatically—eventually, you’re gonna post about something that just happens to align with one of your employees’ interests. But if you want to boost your employee’s social media advocacy, then you should actively create content that will align with multiple employees’ interests.
One way to do this is to create high-quality content that evokes thought, that says something interesting, that shares a fascinating insight that just begs to be shared. The reason this works so well goes back to one of the central reasons employees are sometimes reluctant to share company posts: they consider them uninteresting or largely irrelevant to what they want to talk about. But the more you post about things that are actually objectively interesting, the more your employees are gonna want to share and engage with them, because interesting is always relevant.
Here’s an example of such a post:
Well-being in the workplace = engaged employees.
Engaged employees = better business.
— Qualtrics (@Qualtrics) July 26, 2021
Another approach? Sharing fun company posts. This may seem challenging, especially in the context of a relatively serious institution, but here’s the good news: a bit of positivity and inclusivity will work in any organization. And it can work remotely, too. Like this post:
View this post on Instagram
And, by including everyone on the team (ahem: and tagging them!) there’s a greater incentive for each person to share that post on their social media feed, which increases the exposure of the post and helps establish an organic, genuinely positive company image.
As an example, check out this post by BJC Medical Group:
And lastly, employee spotlights are always an excellent way to increase social media advocacy among employees. Who doesn’t want to share something positive their company said about them or about one of their close coworkers? Plus, as we explained here, such posts encourage engagement from your coworkers’ friends, family, and acquaintances—people who might otherwise not fit into your audience.
Here’s just one example of a great employee spotlight:
And as a final thought: talent managers should also welcome the thoughts and opinions of everyone on their team to create content that people feel represents their interests. Inclusivity is about genuinely listening to other people’s ideas. If given the chance, many employees probably have a post or idea they’d like to share. By making them feel like a valued contributor, HR leaders will start to see a significant uptick in employee advocacy.
Enjoy the limelight, but don’t expect the moon
Trying to increase employee social media engagement can be frustrating. The more you post and the less your employees engage, the more it can begin to feel almost personal. You’re posting, day in and day out. Why are your employees ignoring you?
That’s why it’s so important to manage your expectations. Some posts are always going to be more popular than others. Expecting your employees to engage with every single one of your job posts is unrealistic. And even for the important ones, even as engagement grows, it’s gonna wax and wane a little. Sometimes, employees won’t engage with your post because they’re just really busy, they didn’t see it, or they’re just not in the mood. The key point is to rejoice in the growth. Trust in your instincts and keep posting in good spirits: the engagements will follow.
Give your social media presence a super dose of adrenaline
Wanna know our absolute favorite way to boost employee social media advocacy?
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Want to read about a topic in talent acquisition, social media recruiting, or employer branding that we haven’t covered so far? Share your suggestion in the comments section!