Social Media Can Be a Beneficial Medium for Employee Advocacy

The phrase “social media” doesn’t outwardly appear open to misinterpretation: The primary reason users use it is to socialize, even if it’s passively. But as social media continues to evolve, others might say social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest is more for entertainment, vehicles for users to get news, watch viral videos and generally elude the day-to-day rigors of daily life. For a smaller, but important cohort, social media is an opportunity to promote on behalf of their employer. It’s that group that has the greatest, mostly untapped potential to grow businesses.

According to LinkedIn, just 3% of company employees share company-related content, but that small percentage is responsible for driving a 30% increase in the content’s likes, share and comments. Those data points are striking. It means engaged employees—or those who care enough about their employer to promote for it—could fill a void left by time shifting, fragmentation and dwindling attention spans. The key word, of course, is “could”—as most social-media users can’t be bothered.

There’s little question employers should encourage their employees to use social media, but the opposite is true for many. Many, in fact, firewall social-media sites because they know what a time suck they can be. The MSR Group believes, however, that’s a short-sighted approach, especially when every employee has a personal phone just as capable of tweeting or Snapchatting. It’s those type of restrictions that will almost guarantee employees won’t go the extra mile for their workplace.

The MSR Group recommends attaining a better understanding of how current client employees use social media, and what’s preventing them from using it to share positive information about the company. Is it because it’s too self-serving? Is it because it’s not entertaining content? Is it because there’s no incentive to do so? Is it because they can’t use a company computer to access it? Conducting research to get at why they are and aren’t sharing company information is the first step, and then creating a culture where it’s encouraged—and even incented—is another.

Once a company embraces social media—rather than treat it like a workflow enemy—it can begin to help blur the line between workplace and home life and find ways to make it work for themselves, the employee, and all future ones.