Turning Employees into Brand Advocates: Gaining Followers through Employee Socials

Employee socials are a great way of getting your workforce excited about the brand they work for. Too long have companies overlooked their employees. After all, why would they care about selling something to the people already working for the company?

Nevertheless, studies have shown that employees have far more credibility among the public than smart-mouthed marketers and corporate executives.

Turning employees into brand advocates through employee socials can be done, and this guide will show you how.

How can I use employee social events to build my brand in 2017?

  • Be honest with yourself when determining how to use work events to grow social-media numbers.
  • A party at a fashion brand with a majority of hip millennial workers is going to have a very different social vibe than one at a medical practice, but both can lend themselves to compelling content.
  • Do your homework when planning the event—you want your employees psyched about sharing an adventure on social media (not dreading standing around the break room sipping a warm beer with with Phil from accounting).
  • Be smart: Create a hashtag for your event, designate a photographer to catch candids and portraits all night, and give prizes to the employees who do the best job promoting your message.
  • If your business is on the more serious side—medical, as mentioned, finance, or law—give your followers a concrete reason to follow you. For example, offer free services or charity donations in their name if a follower goal is hit.

What is an Employee Social?

An employee social doesn’t have the sole goal of turning your employees into people who are excited about the product. An employee social is absolutely anything that brings people together. This can include a picnic, a lunch, or yes, a social networking event. Anything that gets people talking can be categorized as an employee social.

Target your socials to your workforce, though. Remember that millennials in the workplace will want something entirely different to a worker from the Baby Boomer generation.

Keep the Message Consistent

A good example of what you don't want from an employee social

A good example of what you don’t want from an employee social

Keep in mind that you don’t want your employees to send mixed messages. You are hoping that your workers will spread the word about the brand themselves. They may not refer directly to the products but to the company culture. And in a world where customers care about every aspect of a company, this is a vital part of your appeal.

Across social events, you want to keep the message consistent. You want brand ambassadors to all be saying roughly the same things.

Let’s use an exaggeration as an example. You shouldn’t have one networking event based around loving your customers and then have a second networking event based around the idea of milking them for everything they have. The messages are contradictory, and this will filter down to your employees.

Make it a Social Media Festival

Nevertheless, to gain followers you can’t keep employee socials behind closed doors. You have to make it a social media issue. Do this by making people feel like they’re a part of it. You could announce your employee social at the beginning of the week, for example. To help there messages stand out, and build greater anticipation for your event, try a retweet package on them. Those extra retweets will go a loooooong way to helping i stand out, and push for more real retweets.

When it comes to social media, visual content is king. Images should be in abundance. You may even want to assign someone photography duties. They should capture as many candid images as possible, with the occasional posed shot. Try to keep things light-hearted, even if you happen to be running a business in one of the more serious sectors, such as real estate or accounting.

Send images live as and when the event happens so your existing followers feel a part of it. Steadily taper off the images a few hours or days after the event finished. The tail end of the event can be as valuable as the action happening in the middle of it.

You may want to assign someone to social media during the event, as well. Live images are always appreciated, particularly on platforms like Instagram, where the average image has a shelf life of only a few hours.

Gauge the Reaction

employee-feedbackThere are so many events and so many images you and your employees can possibly publish. The problem is you have no idea how well they are doing, especially when it comes to accounts outside of your control.

The way to do this is to gauge reactions to your brand during the event and in the days that follow, as you wait for employees to post their photos online. You can only look directly at the company social media accounts, but a sudden spike the evening after an event should tell you all you need to know about how people are reacting to the day.

Gauging the reaction shouldn’t stop at social media either. You need to figure out how employees felt about the event.

The last thing you want is to become the company that holds regular team building events, and they often figure as dreaded days in the workplace calendar.

This is why you should issue anonymous surveys after the event to find out what employees really thought. Most importantly, you should open the floor to suggestions for the next team building or social event. That way you’re more likely to create something people actually enjoy.

A Part of a Grand Marketing Strategy

Understand that while employee socials can generate more followers, they cannot account for everything. They represent only a small part of your marketing strategy. You must figure out how it fits into your overall marketing strategy.

Conclusion

Finally, keep in mind that employee socials are meant to be fun. In your pursuit to turn it into a marketing opportunity, don’t lose sight of the fact that your employees should be having a good time. You want the morale boost and the team spirit as much as you want more followers on Twitter and Instagram.