I realized that back in 2008, when I opened my camera store in New Jersey and had to compete against the largest camera store in the world - B&H Photo -- and the biggest competitor of them all - Amazon. I had to acquire customers, and build our brand with little time and even less money. Social media turned out to be the fastest way to do that. But one of the problems I immediately faced was how to get engagement on our posts, when we didn’t have a big following on any of the social platforms.
This is a problem that many entrepreneurs face today.
In many cases, your social media accounts do not have very many followers, connections or interactions. So, if for example, you post on Facebook, your relatively small number of followers will mean Facebook’s algorithm will keep engagement very low. But is there a way to increase your engagement without investing a lot of money boosting posts?
The tactic I discovered back in 2008, and one that I have honed with great success today, is employee social advocacy. Here are the 10 steps I've used to implement and run an employee-driven, post-boosting program, which you can start doing today.
1. At the next staff meeting, it should be announced that you are looking for all team members to promote posts on their personal social media accounts - Facebook, LinkedIn, beBee, Twitter and Instagram -- on a regular basis.
2. There should be an email sent to [email protected] with an explanation of what employee advocacy is, why it is done and what will be accomplished for the company. Ask staff to reply with their willingness to participate. I would not require any staff member to do it that doesn't want to, but let them know there will be rewards for the people who do it the most.
3. In a follow up email, ask everyone to follow and like all of your YourCompany pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, beBee, Twitter and Instagram from their personal social media pages.
4.There needs to be a social leader in the company. It works best if it’s the owner, president or stakeholder. He or she will lead the charge on the personal posting side. Let everyone know who that will be. There can be more than one leader.
5. All participating members need to connect with the social leader. It's ok if someone is not on every social platform. Let them participate where they can.
6. The social leader then creates a post on their personal social media accounts. Use all the social networks if it makes sense for the post’s content. The post needs to be interesting and engaging and include no direct selling. That post should be shared on all company pages by the company page owner.
7. Send an email to [email protected] with all of the links to the leader’s posts asking everyone to share on their accounts with a personal comment added that relates to their friends, fans or followers.
8. When you start this advocacy program, do one post per week until your staff gets use to it. Then do up to three per week, but that is the maximum you should do. The staff will get tired of it and so will your followers.
9. To jump start the program, give everyone who follows No. 2, No. 3, No. 5 and No. 7 a $20 giftcard or something similar. Many, who agreed to do it, won't - especially the first time. A personal note or visit from the social leader asking them to participate again is the way to go here.
10. Create contests, and publicly hand out prizes. The top employees with the most engagement, receives a money prize, extended lunch, day off or something else intriguing. You should post a leaderboard and hand out prizes for the top performers for each month and for the year.
Employee social advocacy is an incredibly cost-effective way to build your brand and business. It also builds employee morale and creates a corporate culture where staff feels like they have directly contributed to the success of the company.
You now have the formula to turn your staff into an engagement engine. Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines now.