How To Leverage Social Media for Employee Engagement

Social media is a must-have tool for marketing and communications teams, allowing them to follow and engage in online conversations about their organization, competitors, and key issues through hashtags and keywords on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Reddit, to name a few.

Companies have long followed these conversations to gain an understanding of how outside audiences, like customers, suppliers, influencers, or reporters, view their organization or brand and better tailor their marketing strategies. However, this is just one piece of the puzzle.

Despite mastering how to engage with external audiences on social, many organizations are ignoring their own internal audiences. And often, that is where the most relevant work-related conversations take place.

An effective social and digital media strategy takes the pulse of both external and internal audiences to ensure communications strategies are aligned. IRI’s multidisciplinary digital team turns social media data into digital media intelligence, ensuring that our clients stay up to speed on the social conversation, identifying shifts in sentiment before they turn into damaging stories, and turning positive posts into new opportunities.

An Inside-Out Approach to Social Media Monitoring

All employees, whether full time or part time, fully remote or hybrid, interns or leaders, are part of your internal audience. But these internal audiences can be overlooked when it comes to the social media conversation. This can be a major omission because of how much influence employees have on your organization’s reputation. Think about it: they can be your biggest advocate, or your most vocal critic.

Not only do employees often share their views about their employers on commonly used social media platforms like Twitter and Reddit, but they also share their opinions on company-review sites like Glassdoor and Indeed (though these are, of course, anonymous). And while your company might have a stellar Facebook marketing strategy, your employees may be most active on another platform, such as Reddit. It can often be the most critical voices within your organization (or those who have recently left) who shout loudest on social media. This means that the conversation happening on public platforms may not always be representative of the full employee experience. If your current social media strategy is not working to capture the entirety of the digital conversation, you may be overlooking critical information and missing an opportunity to proactively respond to concerns or promote wins.

Staying up to date on what your employees are saying on social media will give you a better idea of how your organization is perceived, voices you will want to amplify, as well as provide helpful insights into ongoing employee relations issues that should be immediately addressed, like concerns about workplace safety, labor organizing, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives.

Using Social Media to Prepare and Respond to a Workplace Crisis

Having a team dedicated to following mentions of your organization online – across all major platforms – can help you properly prepare for employee concerns before they become full-blown issues or effectively react to worries already out on the web.

At IRI, we recommend taking a proactive approach by using digital media intelligence to prepare for any potential workplace problems. Our team uses the following strategies to prevent a negative mention from turning into a full-scale crisis:

  • Prepare a social media policy and escalation guide to define what warrants a response and how to respond on social media before a crisis occurs.
  • Identify strengths and blind spots in your digital footprint by performing regular organizational communications assessments including social and digital news sweeps for specific topics relevant to your organization.
  • Build a trusted executive social media presence to establish personal connections and engagement with employees and key stakeholders.
  • Collect positive stories, celebrate key milestones, and champion issues that matter to your employees with proactive online engagement.

Or maybe you’re already knee-deep in an active crisis and are looking for some new ideas. The following strategies help take back control of the narrative:

  • Increase the frequency of your social and digital media reporting and closely track trends.
  • Establish an online presence or website showcasing your organizational values to better shape online search results.
  • Refocus the conversation and elevate the positive in your own social media posts.
  • Develop a counternarrative by boosting positive articles about your organization and negative articles about your opponents.
  • Incorporate paid advertising tactics to share highly targeted messages with the audiences that matter to you the most.

So, what’s our key takeaway? Digital media intelligence is crucial, and all stakeholders and platforms, both internal and external, must be included in your strategies.

At IRI, we believe every business is different, and each requires its own holistic and customized approach to communications. Whether you need an internal communications assessment, guidance in developing your internal communications strategy, digital media intelligence, crisis communications services, social media strategy, media relations, or media training, we have expert communications consultants who can quickly provide a specialized solution. Contact us using the chat on the right to discuss the next steps, or give us a call at (313) 965-0350.

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