In today’s marketplace social media advocacy can be one of the best advertising tools in the marketing tool belt. Consumers trust what friends, family, and end users have to say about a product or service more than scripted advertising or public relations spin. Consumers want to know what real people think.

Customers are Watching You

Potential customers are vetting you and they find the good and bad. They read reviews and testimonials shared by other consumers, and it directly affects their purchasing decisions. One bad review can lose twenty sales. And what employees have to say about an organization carries weight.

Your team of employees can have a major impact on social media marketing. The majority of your employees are on social networks daily. Americans between 18 and 64 spend more than 3 hours per day on social media. In that time, they can help your brand—or hurt your operation.

Building a Team 

Training your team to be brand evangelists begins with a social media policy. If you don’t have one—it’s time. Stop Ignoring Your Social Media Policy. But it doesn’t end there. A policy gathering dust in a manual doesn’t do much good. Your team needs advice, reminders, and examples. They need to be trained. To become advocates, your employees need to know what to do and what not to do. And if you believe one signed policy or one or two meetings will accomplish this you may be in for a shock.

It’s About Training

We recently conducted a leadership training session about social media with our managers. We reviewed our social media policy, and examples were shared of how employees can hurt or help a brand on social media.

Then we asked the managers to take the message to their teams. We made it easy. To introduce the idea we gave them a 10-minute meeting to conduct with their individual teams. Please fill free to copy and use this meeting.

Here’s the Meeting—Social Media and our Team

Social Media includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and more. It’s any network open to the public where comments and images may be shared.

Sharing comments and images of employees, customers, and work can be a great way to market our company or…it can get us in a jam. The bottom line is, we can only share what we’ve been given permission to share or what was shared by our customer.
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[title size=”2″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single solid” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]DO[/title]
DO share from company networks and sites.

DO follow the company on social media.

DO submit ideas for blogs, news about customers, and interesting job related stories.

DO share customer created content.

DO be yourself, have fun, and share good news about company—it helps us all.
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[title size=”2″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single solid” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]DON’T[/title]
Don’t be disrespectful or mean to employees, customers, or vendors.

Don’t connect the company with political, religious, or controversial subjects.

Don’t be stupid, such as, mentioning the company and then posting unsavory comments or images. For example, “Hey, I’m on vacation from [insert company name] and this is me at the nude beach!” Really, nobody wants to see.

Don’t let social media interfere with work.

What’s the next Step?

At the end of the meeting we informed our teammates that the marketing department would be randomly handing out company branded apparel and promotional products to teammates who embraced social media sharing of our content.

The, “Social Media and our Team” meeting is a good follow up to reviewing your social media policy. It opens conversation, solicits questions, and identifies advocates. And it can help your organization avoid social media mistakes that lead to disaster—it only takes one social media miscue to lose a client forever. If you’d like advice on conducting this meeting leave a comment.