A Letter to MDs: 4 Reasons Why You SHOULD Let Your Staff Loose on Social Media.

I understand why some businesses – particularly those with a host of corporate rules – might panic about letting staff loose on social media and advertising their relationship with the company. Yes, it is a concern that 21 year old Sarah could share pictures of a weekend in Ibiza, or respond to a customer query in an inappropriate manner.

But nevertheless, I can’t help but think that companies who restrict employees on social media are missing out on something quite special. I strongly believe that when used correctly, your staff’s presence online can become your company’s biggest asset – not threat.

At the the end of the day, depriving employees of social media is just bad business. This is why:

Reason No.1: Your employees are likely to use social media themselves and therefore be familiar and proficient with how best to use the technology. They also already have a useful network of contacts who could well become future clients of yours – If you have ten employees in your office and they each have 300 followers, you have a direct reach to 3,000 people. And this is just first degree connections, when you factor in friends of friends your reach becomes seriously huge.

Reason No.2: Personality wins on social media, and letting your staff use their experience and charm to interact with people can dramatically help engage users.

Reason No.3: The variety in age and background of your employees will mean they are able to keep your agency relevant and attractive to all demographics.

Reason No.4: If your employees enjoy working for your company and believe in what you do, they can very quickly become the most powerful advocates of your brand.

If you agree with the above, this is how you can start embracing and empowering employees on social media:

– Start by finding out what existing social media skills your staff have.

– Once you understand your staff’s skills, guide them towards engaging in a way that also matches your business’ image.

– Set objectives to enable your staff to identify relevant people online, and make information available for them to share.

– Nominate a social media champion within your agency to rally the rest of the team.

– If you and your employees prefer not to mix business with pleasure, encourage your staff to set up a professional social media profile in addition to their personal accounts.

– Establish guidelines for interacting online but avoid unnecessarily restricting them with a formal policy – the idea is to empower them, not control them.

– If you want more say in what’s posted on behalf of – or associated with – your agency, consider putting measures in place. At Propertyflock we offer a tool that enables managers to review employee’s updates before they are published online. This means you get all the benefits of a socially active workforce, whilst maintaining an element of control.

Embracing social media at all levels of the company can help your business in multiple ways. You can find and attract better quality hires by showing how you embrace and utilise technology; you are able to improve internal communication by encouraging conversations between the company online; you can become more efficient at managing customer’s queries by enabling more people to respond in a timely manner. And most importantly, you help turn your best employees into strong brand ambassadors.

There shouldn’t be a requirement for your employees to endorse you on social media. But by sharing their experiences and blogging about their work they can reach influencers, peers, and potential clients inside and outside of the industry. By doing this, staff can build their own reputation and social media following, while cultivating your brand too. By empowering employees to become evangelists they can interact with people on their own terms, and you can stop relying on flooding people with official (and often dry) company content.

So to all those Managing Directors who are terrified of letting their members of staff loose on social media – understand that you are losing out on a gold mine of contacts. And isn’t that what estate agency is all about? Networking? Relationships? Referrals?

Use social media to your advantage and empower your employees to help grow your business, now and in the future.

Want to spend less time on social media and win more business from it? I run a technology company called Propertyflock and we develop digital tools that help UK property professionals streamline their marketing online. To generate more enquiries through social media, visit www.propertyflock.co.uk to try our software for free.

Image Source: Flickr / CC BY 2.0

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