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A STUDY BY LINKEDIN and research firm TNS in 2014 confirmed that 81 percent of small businesses use social media, but a much smaller percentage of those companies have figured out what roles their employees will play in their social media strategies. Whether they know it or not, your employees play a part in your company’s social media strategy. After all, it’s likely that they are already regularly involved in social media — and since they spend more time working than engaging in any other activity, there’s a high likelihood they occasionally mention their job online. So, while they may not be attending your social media strategy meetings, they are definitely influencing the outcome of those strategies. Of course, paying your employees’ paychecks doesn’t entitle you to control what they do or say away from work, so avoid putting a heavy-handed social media policy in place. Instead, engage your employees in a dialogue about the role social media plays in building the company brand and how they can help. If you’re persuasive, you can create a veritable army of brand ambassadors. There are passive and active roles your employees can play in your company’s social media strategy through their own personal profiles on sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn — but active participation requires more training and coaching. Clearly defining your employees’ roles in your social media strategy can maximize their effectiveness. There are four key roles they could play. The Messenger is responsible for publishing messages about your company, whether that means formal press releases, blog posts, newsletters or more informal commentary on your team’s current work. The mere act of talking about what you do reminds prospects and customers about your core competencies, as well as the depths of your product and service offerings. Messengers can be in primary roles by generating content, or they can play secondary roles, reposting the content generated by others. The Scout is responsible for listening to commentary about your brand. Scouts scour social media sites looking for your company name and key words related to your business to learn what is being said, then sharing those findings with management. Some scouting parameters might include your company name, the names of your management team, and your competitors’ names. The Spokesperson is anyone who’s responsible for responding to online commentary for your brand. You might have several employees in this role, but these employees need to be coached on the tone of your brand personality and how to navigate tricky issues. The Sales Agent rides the social media wave, looking for prospective customers who are talking about your industry. If you run an HVAC company, for example, your Sales Agent would search Twitter for people in your market asking for recommendations for an air-conditioning repair. The Sales Agent would recommend your company and connect that person with a customer service team member. Because your company’s social media presence needs to be authentic, encourage employees to assume the roles they feel most comfortable with. Remember to acknowledge and reward employees who invest time and creativity in your company’s social media strategy — possibly with an invitation to the next strategy meeting.

Due to the dynamic nature of social media, this content may vary from evolved best practices.

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RedRover Sales & Marketing

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