Sharing is Caring: Why you should add internal comms into your social media strategy

Are you one of the 91% of businesses on social media?

Probably so.

Here’s an important question you may not have asked yourself: Should you make your employees part of your social comms strategy?

There’s a good chance you’re thinking a definitive “no.” But there are two trends that may make you reconsider your answer.

Employees don’t know what’s going on in the company

In the early days of social media, most businesses took a strong anti-employee participation stance with their social strategy. The problem is, the ways in which people prefer to receive news is changing – and that includes your employees.

According to one Gallup poll, nearly 75% of employees feel like they are missing out on company news. A second study shows that almost a third of employees ignore company emails. You may think the company-wide emails and newsletter are getting the word out, but these stats show those efforts may be more of a “check in the box” than an effective internal comms strategy.

On the other hand, more than 40% of adults get their news via Facebook, according to the Pew Research Center’s latest social media report. Not to say social media should replace those other vehicles, or be a platform to share not-yet-public company updates, but social media can be a complementary way to reach your employees where they are.

Employees can be a second way to boost your content

As we’ve shared over the last couple of years, sites like Facebook are making it harder for brands to reach their audiences without some amount of social advertising dollars. Personal accounts, on the other hand, do not face these restrictions and can expand your company’s reach exponentially.

Before you start mandating all your employees to share all of your content, a few guidelines, if you will.

  1. Encourage, but don’t force: People are naturally protective over their personal social media accounts. While you can – and should – encourage them to share certain company posts, don’t mandate it.
  2. Remind them of the dos and don’ts: A “please share” mentality does not replace or negate the need for a formal social media policy. Before you deploy the troops, make sure they understand good social media behavior like when and how to respond to a negative comment.
  3. Incentivize them: Some people may need more than a “please” to start sharing company content. Offering some type of reward (e.g., gift cards, free lunch, PTO) for those who share the most content can be a great way to get employees on board without forcing it down their throat. If this sounds great in theory, but you’re worried about having the bandwidth to track it all, apps like Dynamic Signal do a great job at automating this process.

Internal communications always has been somewhat of a red-headed stepchild in the PR world. But employees are some of the best brand assets a company has, and getting them engaged and empowered on social media can not only boost their understanding of company news, but also help you in your social media efforts.

Greg Surber

Greg Surber, APR, is a public relations strategist through and through. He works on a variety of accounts, leading research projects and content strategies, but he also has extensive experience with more traditional PR efforts including national and trade media relations campaigns.

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