Join Us in the Social Employee Revolution
The American dream claims hard work will lead to eventual success right? That may have been true once, but for this generation success is more often dependent on connections with influencers. That’s where platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn come in. They offer a new channel to build relationships with the big wigs who can skyrocket your career unlike any other in history.
We all know building social influence can be a very slow process. However the process can be supercharged by partnering with a well-known brands by joining, as Mark Burgess coined it, the social employee revolution.
The Undercurrent of the Revolution
Before you garb yourself in Phrygian cap and begin tweeting Vive la Resistance #socialemployee, let’s take a few moments to explore what social employee programs entail. Burgess’ set the framework for the social branding tactic in a 2014 TedTalk entitled: The Rise of the Social Employee. His expertise in this matter is a culmination of years of experience working in senior marketing and advertising positions.
Burgess, who currently teaches an online social media marketing course for the MBA program at Rutgers University, explains that a social employee is a social media expert who is empowered by the company to become a “change agent.” He or she is given training, guidance, and permission to integrate their “personal brand and their professional side.” And through this integration, the employee utilizes the business’ authority to act as an ambassador for the brand.
Essentially this is a push for brands to start encouraging their employees to engage genuinely on social. This will ultimately lead to a win-win situation for both brand and employee in the long run which we’ll dive into next.
The Tangible Benefits
The beauty of the social employee program is that there are tangible benefits for both the company and employee. The company is given a large pool of individuals who are engaging in genuine advertising for the brand. Social employees are particularly powerful because “90% of social users do not trust traditional advertising,” but “78% trust recommendations from peers.” Empowering employees have far greater advertising potential than investing money in a television advertising campaign.
1 out of every 6 job seekers land a position with the help of social media
The employee is made more employable. They are given time at work to build their social media influence. When they eventually leave the company, they will have a stronger personal brand and a portfolio of skills on their social media platforms. This is incredibly powerful because 1 out of every 6 job seekers land a position with the help of social media.
The Pitfalls We Must Avoid
Becoming a social employee can be a game changer, but individuals should not rush into a social employee program. There are two main pitfalls that can transform a social employee experience into a nightmare.
Inability to be genuine – Social employees should be “believers in the mission and the vision and the values” of the company they plan on representing. Until the employee leaves the company, they will be a living, breathing representative of the brand. If they don’t believe in the mission of the company, it will be very easy to accidentally tweet a comment that doesn’t align with the brand. The comment could potentially twist potential customer’s perception of the brand. The moment management notices, the social employee probably won’t have a job there much longer.
Deciding who maintains ownership of social accounts – Don’t sign up to be a social employee, unless the company has given you permission to retain ownership of your social accounts after you stop working for them. Companies unfortunately have a history of trying to claim the rights to social media accounts employees have worked on while at work. In 2012, a Pennsylvania company took over a former employees social media account, changed the name and picture on the account, and tried to claim all of the relationships the employee had developed.
Even though the former employee eventually reclaimed the account, the experience cancels out any potential benefits of becoming a social employee. Why become a walking, talking advertisement, when the company might betray your trust by attempting to wrangle your social media accounts away from you?
Individuals can increase the chances they will achieve personal and professional success by joining the social employee revolution. Many company like Dell, AT&T, Domo and Cisco have set up programs that simultaneously allows the business to benefit from peer recommendations and the employee to build their social influence. Just be sure that before you sign onto a social employee program, you are the right fit for the company and the social employee policy is the right fit for you.