By Helle Tyllesen

October 9th, 2014

Even though the responsibility for social still (mostly) lies within the marketing team, we nearly always find that social efforts work best when other roles are included. The personal examples of how your employees interact with your customers, and brand as a whole, is the fuel that drives social media success. After all, social media is about people, and people love an authentic story.

Taylor Guitars are an example of a company doing this well – their instagram feed features real people interacting with staff at their stores and roadshows, and their #playeroftheweek campaign celebrates individual customers. This content is generated because staff ‘on the ground’ have been given permission, encouraged, and given the framework within which to contribute their own stories.

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[Image from Taylor Guitars’ instagram feed]

Call it an internal social media ambassador program – social media club – whatever works for you. If you haven’t started connecting with other teams to inject these stories into your strategy then you’re potentially losing some golden opportunities for social media reach and engagement. I have five tips and tricks to get you started.

#1 – Who to include

Identify employees who are eager to share and preferably have an interest in social. They don’t have to be a manager, in fact, you’re better off with someone closer to the everyday action. Think of the customer service agent in Taylor Guitars – he’s talking to customers on an hourly basis and can easily identify the story nuggets that will work best on your channels. Note: if briefed properly.

It’s important to make sure that ambassadors understand and agree to take on this role. Tell them what you need and how things work, so they know what to expect and can act on your behalf.

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#2 – Develop a framework for sharing stories

Once you have buy in from your group of ambassadors, find out a way to share content ideas. You might want to start with a framework which could be as small as a regular ‘things that struck me this week’ update, or as extensive as a document with space to upload images and text for social channels.

The dream is having your teams contribute content directly within a social media management platform, assigning approval to the social media gatekeeper. Developing your own framework is a good place to start.

#3 – Communicate frequently

Make a habit of talking to your ambassadors often to find out what’s going on in their world. Call them or speak to them in person, try not to email. Most people don’t have time to jot down stories or long-winded info in an email, so the parts of the story that work well on social are often left out. You could even arrange to meet at a certain time of the week or month, depending on how much time you have to allocate to this, but try to do something other than sit in a meeting room. Have a coffee together, go for a walk, try a different approach from normal work gatherings.

You want your ambassadors to be relaxed, open to sharing new ideas and trying creative approaches. It should also be fun.

#4 – Share results

Remember to share success and good experiences with your ambassadors, when they have pro-actively reached out to offer content ideas. Also celebrate their contribution internally, it will drive ownership and excitement around social. You know, give to get.

#5 – Employee advocacy #FTW

Your reach and engagement will go much further if you encourage your ambassadors to share your company’s social content. Plus, people generally trust a person more than a company, so having a staff member share posts really comes across as authentic. Here at Falcon Social we are working on a tool to allow staff to share your content more easily – register to find out more.

We’re finding that companies are looking to include more and more team members in the social strategy, and this just the start. By nurturing a small group of social media ambassadors, you open the cracks in the wall between your brand and the consumer. And that’s a great thing.

Social Storytelling with Harvey Nichols.

Learn how Harvey Nichols manage 700,000+ fans across 8 countries.

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