Social Media in the Workplace: Encouraging Employees to be Active on Platforms.

By: Emily Gibson

Social media is evolving from being a platform for sharing thoughts and experiences with peers to being a strategic platform to connect with a large audience. Businesses are using social media platforms for promoting their brand and communicating with their consumers and clients. Platforms like Twitter and Facebook are the easiest and quickest way to respond to a crisis that has occurred involving your company.

But where do employees fit into all of this? Businesses are now using their employees to help promote their brand. Although this can be very rewarding, there is also a lot of risk. Companies might be hesitant to allow their employees to be vocal on social media about the company because they could be held accountable for the employee’s actions.

A lot of popular brands have implemented policies to help prevent crises while also letting employees have a voice. A good example of a brand that has a great social media policy is Adidas. In their policy, they allow employees to establish an identity with the brand. Adidas, however, is not held accountable if employees post inappropriate material. They also cannot disclose any “sensitive company information” or break any laws pertaining to copyright or referencing.

Employees Create Conversations:

There is a lot of potential to reach clients and consumers through employees. Employees can start conversations online about the brand and also answer the public’s questions or concerns. They can share their experience working for the company and share ideas with students, coworkers and the public. Building a community around your brand is important, and employees can help you do just that.

Employees Represent the Brand:

A paper published on the EmeraldInsight described employees as “powerful brand ambassadors.” The way employees conduct themselves online should be professional and be a positive reflection of the brand. The paper outlines eight key points to create a work environment that allows employees to have a voice, while avoiding potential repercussions. These eight points include:

  1. Research
  2. Internet Access
  3. Strong Commitment from Top Executives
  4. Establish Social Media teams
  5. Implement a Policy
  6. Train and Educate Employees
  7. Integration
  8. Goal Setting and Measurement

Companies need to ENCOURAGE employees to be active on social media. The way ideas are shared is changing, and brands must continue to evolve. Implementing a policy and training employees helps eliminates risk and creates opportunities.

Here is an infographic from Buffer Blog that gives a few statistics of social media use by employees:

https://www.instagram.com/emgibson8/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/emily-gibson-b437a7157/

https://twitter.com/_emilyyrenee_

This Article Has 12 Comments
  1. This is an interesting topic you bring up! I agree that social media is being heavily infiltrated in the workplace and that there needs to be a healthy balance of use time and appropriate content. As a whole, I think it is important to employees to be well equipped with their social media in relation to the brand because they each have their own accounts they can spread work content on that will reach their viewers.

  2. Casi Jackson says:

    Emily,
    I have never thought of employees as “powerful brand ambassadors”, as you stated in your post, but I can definitely see how employees can be a huge part in a brands success. Social media has become so dominant in society, and there are obviously pro’s and con’s to the effect it can have on a brand’s reputation. I can see both the pro’s and the con’s when it comes to letting employees promote their workplace’s brand on their own personal social media. I just hope that their opinions are not controlled by their employers and that they have full freedom to express their opinions fully without censorship.

  3. Mary Osborne says:

    I love the adidas rules! Having a liberal social media policy aligns with adidas’ brand image of “everyone’s a creator.” Other brands that have similar values or brands that are focused on creativity should have social media policies that reflect that. For example if you’re a design firm, you hired your employees because you thought they were smart and creative, it’s important to show that by trusting them on social media platforms.

  4. Ian Burleigh says:

    I think this is a great topic and something that will continue to evolve in the workplace, especially as younger millennial and Gen-Z’s become a larger portion of the workforce. I think you bring up a great point in saying employees can be your most powerful brand ambassadors. Cultivating a culture in which your employees feel empowered to be themselves on social media lends itself to also being a culture where employees will be proud of where they work. This will likely manifest itself in positive posts about the company, building its brand among employee’s networks. Companies can reap many benefits from this – including having an easier time attracting top talent for open positions.

  5. Kirbi Campbell says:

    Hi! I think this is a great topic and point to bring up. I absolutely that social media within the workplace will not only grow and change but it will continue to be a vital resource that will only continue in importance. I love the idea of employees as “brand ambassadors” because it is true, when you work for any company you are then a representation of that company, therefore a brand ambassador if you are involved on social media platforms. I know that is something I think about when I am part of any organization or company, what I post and how I am reflects back upon the company in some sort of way whether you think it does or not.

  6. Julianne Spencer says:

    Thanks for this Emily! It’s important to note what you said about how “Businesses are now using their employees to help promote their brand.” Especially if employees are happy how systematic changes (i.e. Google, Zappos) as well as exciting consumer announcements (i.e. Apple, Amazon). Brand perception is certainly improved when people know that employees are happy, it increases sales, and in publicly-traded companies, it’s been tied to increased market value. This does pose a risk in that sometimes employees post content that isn’t positive, but as long as brands are willing to take on this risk, and have a plan to mitigate it so that it doesn’t look poorly on the brand, then I do agree that we should encourage employees to post about the company they work for.

  7. Joie Ryan says:

    Hi Emily! I think that this is an extremely interesting topic, as social media is continually developing, so is its role in the workplace. I like how you brought up an example through Adidas’s social media policy with their employees, specifically posting outside of work. I think that it is important to give employees their freedom while also letting them establish themselves with the brand.

  8. Daymon Standridge says:

    Emily,

    You bring up some great points about social media and how big corporations are using their employees to help them promote themselves. I think your adidas example is a great one to explain how this should work because there is a lot of trust that goes into allowing all employees to have a voice. By minimizing risk factors, they are maximizing their opportunity for reward within the company.

  9. Nuchwara Youngcharoen says:

    Hi Emily, thank you so much for the post. I very like this topic that you have brought up, since you have tight the social media and the working space. In my opinion, I think it is an ideal thing to do because the companies can utilize their workers to be an influencers of the brand and be an ambassador to present the brand through their eyes. Companies should use this strategy to improve both internal and external engagement.
    In terms of the risk, I believe that they danger of this is the employees might reveal the trade secrets or some confidential piece of information that might bring about problems to their organization as you have mentioned. Moreover, they also would have a risk of choosing the wrong ambassadors that not fully well represent of the brand due to some personal characteristic. This is another risk for the company as well in my opinion.
    All in all, I believe it is a win win situation for the marketing perspective and HR perspective, since this ambassador program would encourage employees to participate in the activities, which inspire them and become a small incentive for the employees to be part of the brand and make an impact to the brand in a long-run.

  10. Molly Mair says:

    This posts makes me think that brands have to be very cognizant of employee attitudes. Disgruntled employees could really do damage. I think the way brands use their employees SM is quickly evolving and will be interesting to see where it goes. I could imagine that it could become hard to manage people while worrying about SM backlash. Not everyone has an awesome job they want to post great things about. For many people, they just want to do their time and get their paycheck. If brands are leveraging their employees SM, I would imagine that brand’s culture is healthy. SM can raise awareness and bring issues to light and if a brand does want to change or is dysfunctional (Uber), SM can be harmful to brand equity. It is imperative that brands think of the worst case scenario long before they co-op their employees SM.

  11. Julianna Bourjeaurd says:

    Hi Emily,

    I really resonate with this topic. As someone who works for a social media management company, my boss constantly asks us to send her photos and posts photos of us working on our stuff. It’s free publicity for 365Day Media and sends a message that employees love their jobs. However, ever since starting my job, I’ve also realized that I had to be more aware of what I do post on social media, because I don’t want my boss to think I am tying anything that could be perceived as negative with the company.

  12. Kaisa Lightfoot says:

    Hi Emily!

    I hadn’t considered the fact that employers could harness their employee interest by encouraging them to use social media to promote the work of the organization. I mean, this makes sense for nonprofits. Especially if employees are in a fundraising role–you have to promote efforts to your networks! But as a calculated approach, I hadn’t considered it. It sounds kind of dicey, though! Thinking about sites like Glassdoor, for instance, employees past or present can be destructive to the brand through their brutal honesty, even if completely true. I suppose that this type of employer-supported promotion would also have to be accompanied by a supportive culture where employees address their concerns with the employer directly–before heading online to gush.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *