Being in PR and marketing is an instant invitation to participate in your company’s social media program. You’re automatically designated as the “employee social champions” who in most cases will come together and be a part of your organization’s social vision and strategy, development of social guidelines and policies, creation and sharing of content and engagement with stakeholders in online communities.
Now that you’ve embraced your role, it’s time to open up the opportunity to others employees across the organization who can participate in your program. These champions may take on different roles … some will be listeners and conversationalists, and others may turn out to be great promoters and diligent sharers of content. No matter the level of participation, it’s time to build more brand champions on a larger scale. The biggest question, “How do you get your employees to become social media champions for the company?” In many cases, your employees are already participating in social media and simply choosing not to participate on your company’s behalf.
Look for the social media champions in unusual places … they exist in every department of your company. There are many employees who would jump at the chance to participate in your social media program. However, the problem is that no one has ever asked them join in the social communications and/or if they were asked, they may not know how to be strategic about their participation. For every executive that says, “Our employees really aren’t social,” the translation is “our employees really don’t want to be social for us.” You have to build champions and the first step is finding them in areas beyond the communications department.
Here are few ways to find the champions who would gladly raise their hands if asked to participate:
1. Survey the employee population to gauge their knowledge, perception and usage of social media. Use open-ended questions to allow these champions to stand out when they answer questions about their personal experiences. In many cases, the people you think want to learn more about social media for the company usually doubles or even triples in your survey results.
2. Conduct informal interviews with potential champions who stand out in the crowd. Look in your sales, customer service, HR and IT departments for people who want to share their thoughts about their own involvement, channel participation, engaging in conversations, as well as those who willing share their ideas on what the company could be doing to ignite deeper social media interactions for better engagement.
3. Spark ideation across the organization. You can invite your employees to participate in challenges and to submit their social media ideas on how they would increase stakeholder engagement and community growth. You will be surprised at the creative ideas that are generated and which areas of the company generate those ideas. The use of awards, recognition and even incentives will help to initiate more creative idea sharing.
4. Use social media on the inside of the organization. You can invite people to share, collaborate and innovate together. When people come together there is synergy and learning. You will not only find great ideas but also employee champions who will guide and educate their peers.
These are only a few ideas to help you find your social media champions beyond the marketing and PR departments. What are you doing to find your employee social media champions and how are you getting them involved in your social media program?