Can you tweet your way to more business? Sure, a Twitter social media campaign isn’t exactly revolutionary news in 2016. In fact, it seems like every few months there’s a new thought piece decrying Twitter’s eminent eclipse by Snapchat, Instagram or other trending social media sites. Not so, folks. Not only does Twitter remain a vital partof effective marketing campaigns and customer service outreach, but it’s increasingly become the social media channel du jour for employee advocacy.
Surprised? Consider this: people trust employees, not CEOs. (Just ask Edelman’s Trust Barometer.) While it’s great that your SVP of Marketing or CFO want to get active on Twitter, it’s even better when your associates tweet up a storm. The public considers employees to be a window into your corporate culture. When they tweet about workplace success stories, onsite trainings, offsite events, achievements/recognitions, or a humorous incident at the office, they humanize your brand.
Employees as Brand Ambassadors
Employee advocacy is an intentional, internal effort that encourages your employees to become brand ambassadors for your business on public forums, like Twitter. We’ve been shining the spotlight on best practices earlier this month with insightful posts on how to use Facebook for social media advocacy and general best practices.
There’s a ton of great information available about how to best leverage Twitter for employee advocacy programs. For starters, Twitter is an ideal channel for employee advocacy because all tweets are public and, with the right hashtags, these tweets can be easily amplified across audience segments. But authentic connection takes more than just a few tweets. Zappos and Starbucks are two companies getting it right.
Here’s what they’re doing– and what your business should, too.
Zappos. Zappos employees receive special Twitter training, where they’re encouraged to share updates about what they’re doing at work. To build up enthusiasm for the project and generate buy-in, Zappos even keeps a “leaderboard” tracking which employees have the most followers. Zappos is known for its unique company culture, and the employee tweets shed light on why they consider the company to be so special. Tweets document job interviews in a giant arcade ball pit, interns arriving to a receiving line of high-fives, and even a lunch break petting zoo. See even more fun at: @eyezapp .
Starbucks. At Starbucks, a unique employee advocacy program actively encourages staff to share updates about the brand on their own social media accounts. Starbucks has a Twitter account dedicated just to its staff (known as ‘partners’) that shares everything from inside jokes to success stories about partners returning to school. The account serves a dual purpose, boosting employee morale and giving customers unique insight into Starbucks’ company culture. The account frequently re-tweets employee posts about their job, further amplifying the impact of employee advocacy.
Next Steps: Adopt Their Top 3 Best Practices
- Use dedicated hashtags for improved searchability and amplification. (Zappos uses #ZapposCulture and #Zapponians for company branding and #companyculture to reach a wider audience. Starbucks uses #tobeapartner.
- Don’t be afraid to show your personality. Sure, interviewing employees in a giant arcade ball pit may not be for most businesses, but you can still infuse your company’s personality into posts. Talk to employees about the best way to get personal while staying professional. It could be as simple as this picture from Starbucks that takes an annoying situation – spilled coffee grounds – and turns it into a bit of workplace humor. Remember, at its best, employee advocacy is about more than sharing. It’s about being honest and transparent, even during less-than-fun experiences.
3. Be helpful. While the primary goal for Zappos’ employee Twitter program is to advance workplace culture, Zappos also encourages its employees to share useful company information. Your employees don’t need to re-tweet every company blog post. Instead, encourage them to pull out a quote or two from the post that resonates with them and to add their own unique spin– do they have a project experience that relates? Did they help a client manage a similar problem recently? Make it personal and be genuinely helpful.