There is a big benefit to educating and encouraging employees to use social media. Each employee that comes into contact with someone on social media could be a potential customer. Educating your employees on social media best practices is very important, because if all goes well the end result could be something like this:
People build relationships
The best part about social media is that it allows you to connect with people that you might not have had the chance to connect with before. It’s all about building relationships, and your employees should know that too. Failure to understand this will cause your employees to be too salesy, which could be a big turn off. Instead, employees should build genuine relationships and be representative of the brand. Genuine relationships build trust, which will lead to more opportunities.
People trust people
Dave Humphrey and I haven’t met in person yet, but one day I hope we get the chance. But we did get to meet on Facebook through a mutual friend of ours, Ann Tran. Recently Dave reached out to me on Facebook with some questions he had about some products of ours and I tried to help as best as I could. To make a long story short, the end result of our conversation on Facebook was a 35K sale, and some valuable feedback for our product team.
“I actually met you through Ann Tran. I was first drawn to the cool NYC photos, then I admired your posts about your family (especially the culture), and from there I think a level of trust was established. That was the key.” ~ Dave Humphrey
But before you jump to any conclusions, know that Dave and I were connected on Facebook for months before this last conversation took place. And just to be clear, we never spoke about Sony before either. The opportunity arose due to genuine social interaction, interaction that was built on trust.
Lesson for brands
I feel the lesson here is quite simple. Instead of blocking employees from using social media, teach them to be brand ambassadors. Instead of always looking for other people to represent your brand, tap into the passionate people that live and breathe your brand every day. Don’t spend your time worrying about what could go wrong, instead spend the time to educate them so that things go right. Teach your employees the value of building and nurturing relationships and your brand will reap the rewards down the road.