How and Why Brands Should Mobilize Employees on Social Media

In the grand scheme of things, social media is still a new communications channel. For the last 10 years or so, brands have struggled with whether or not they should get their employees (beyond the marketing department) involved. Restricting employees from discussing the company on social media was once commonplace. Today, many companies encourage employees to get involved, albeit within a directed structure.

In a recent podcast, James Moat, Director of Global Digital Communications at Avery Dennison, discussed how the brand’s social media strategy evolved over the last two years and why their “Get Social” initiative to mobilize employees on social media is so important to the brand.

Emergence of Earned & Shared Media

In the digital space, owned and paid media (websites, advertising, etc.) have held sway for 20 years. But in the last five to seven years, earned and shared media have created huge opportunities for both B2B and B2C brands. However, taking advantage of that opportunity can be expensive, especially if the brand is outsourcing all of its content creation.

By training and mobilizing employees on social media, brands can develop internal sources of content that ring true to users.

Educating & Mobilizing Employees

Whether a company has 10 or 10,000 employees (Avery Dennison has 25,000+ worldwide), mobilizing them on social media can amplify the brand’s story and reduce content costs while simultaneously boosting engagement and developing relationships. Users appreciate having an authentic interaction with an employee whether they’re discussing personal interests or business matters.

In addition to marketing, social media has become a key component of talent acquisition and customer service for many brands. Avery Dennison actively develops employee-produced content that resonates with existing and prospective customers and employees.

But before associates are mobilized, they must be educated about the brand’s social media initiatives and how each individual fits in to those initiatives. Each participating employee will require training on how to use a given social media platform professionally—whether it is Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or some other popular platform.

Providing employees on social media with a repository of content assets they can share will make their participation less burdensome and increase the likelihood that their experience will be successful and enjoyable.

Identifying the Audience

As with any communications program, identifying the people with whom you want to converse is a vital step. Various studies have pointed to the existence of seven different types of social media users.

  1. Creators
  2. Conversationalists
  3. Critics
  4. Collectors
  5. Joiners
  6. Spectators
  7. Inactives

The first three categories include the people with whom a brand can expect to realize the most engagement and develop the strongest relationships.

Another key for identifying the audience is the 90-9-1 rule, which states that 90 percent of all content is created by one percent of users and the next 10 percent of all postings are from nine percent of users. That means that 90 percent of all users are creating less than one percent of content.

While each brand can form their own approach, it seems likely that their ideal audience will be made up of Creators, Conversationalists and Critics who fall into the top one percent of contributors. This audience can be further divided into four primary categories.

  1. Customers
  2. Shareholders
  3. Communities
  4. Employees

Employees may seem out of place here because we are talking about mobilizing employees to amplify the brand’s story in social media, but it’s equally important to make sure the company story is told to employees as well.

3 Keywords to Success

As James says in the podcast, it is important to keep the process fun, engaging and simple for participating employees. Giving them the appropriate education and resources can help them become passionate ambassadors for the brand on social media, and that is an initiative well worth the effort.

On This Social Business Engine Podcast Episode You’ll Discover

  • How Avery Dennison started using social media with a strategy in place, and the two lenses they approached it from.
  • How “Get Social” is a centralized employee resource and ambassador program to mobilize employees as advocates.
  • Why Avery Dennison aims to educate employees on the basics of social media, and what they share to train employees to leverage social media personally and professionally.
  • Why James says, “The power of social media can be so big for any company on the B2B or B2C side, regardless of size.”

Featured On This Episode of the Social Business Engine Podcast

You can listen to this podcast now by clicking here or, you can listen through a podcast player on your mobile device through iTunes or Stitcher. Subscribe to the Social Business Engine podcast to get weekly updates delivered to your inbox.

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