Social media can boost a brand in myriad ways. It can help attract more fans, followers and customers. It can be a boon to organic search results. It can showcase your culture, attract smart employees and enable you to tell your story on a more organic, human level. And yes, it can help fatten up your wallet.
But not every company has the right people to evangelize for their respective brands on social platforms. If you’ve tried to “get everyone more social” (and failed repeatedly), it’s time for some soul-searching. There are some who argue that you simply need to segment your staff according to skill set, educate them and assign them roles accordingly.
That’s all well and good, but the problem may run deeper than that. So, why are your employees failing as social media brand ambassadors? Here are four (difficult to acknowledge) possibilities:
- They’re not happy – I don’t know about you, but if I’m not happy with something I’m highly unlikely to publicly sing its praises. Is your culture hobbled by internal politics? Are incentives sub-standard? Are workloads oppressively huge? Start answering some of these questions before chiding your team for failing to tell their networks about your company’s products and services. People like talking about things they love, with very little prodding.
- They don’t know what your company stands for – Are you just one of hundreds of companies doing the same damned thing? Have you articulated to your team or included them in the discussion about what sets your company apart? What flag can you rally around? What’s the secret sauce? Don’t know? If your team hasn’t bought into your vision, and doesn’t understand how your company can make a difference, your social media mission is doomed from the start.
- They don’t understand the value of social media – Please refer to the first paragraph of this post. Social media can do a lot of things, but it can’t explain its own value to the uninitiated. Take the time to explain the opportunities and show examples of it accruing positively for other brands. There are social media tools and there is social media strategy; they aren’t the same thing.
- They want to keep their professional life and social media life separate – This one is a common concern and one that should be handled delicately. After all, a lot of what happens in social media lives on for years (if not indefinitely), so there’s a legitimate reason some folks are squeamish, and you should respect that. Don’t force the issue, but do make clear that saying smart things and showcasing work they and you are proud of can actually HELP in later years when searching for new opportunities. More and more hiring managers go directly to Google when they get a resume, and if they don’t see content creation or socially savvy results about the candidate, they may pass on the spot – especially if you’re in the PR or marketing worlds.
According to marketing extraordinaire David Meerman Scott, “Today’s marketing and PR is about content creation. Your personal brand is also about content creation… If you don’t care enough to build your personal brand then why should a company employ you to create a brand for them?”
Ultimately there are reasons why people will and will not represent your brand well on social networks, and it’s important that you put in the time to understand the drivers. But the biggest hurdle to all of this is making sure you have happy people – happy people who share your vision and who want to make a difference.