Essential Tips for Turning Employees Into Social Media Ambassadors

Hootsuite's HR guru says it's time to rewrite corporate policies

While you might not need an expert to tell you your staff is spending time on Facebook and Twitter, Ambrosia Humphrey, vp of talent at Hootsuite, says too many companies think of social media as a problem instead of recognizing it's a great tool for attracting talent and building brand awareness.

A September 2014 study by the Pew Research Center showed that over 70 percent of adults who use the Internet are on Facebook, and 52 percent use at least two social media sites. Humphrey says you can find employees on virtually any social platform, and communicating with them through these networks has the potential to elevate relationships both inside and outside the company.

Here are Humphrey's top four tips for harnessing social media in the workplace:

Don't forget to keep the conversation going

The biggest mistake some companies make is to research candidates on social media, but then discourage them from using the digital platforms after hiring people. "In some cases, [employers are] not letting workers go on Facebook, which is a big disconnect from the employee's experience," she said. Instead, workers should be encouraged to actively participate on social sites.

Share and share a like

Ideally, employees will want to discuss their companies in positive ways on social media. But workers won't do that if the company doesn't share things that interest them. "We live in a world where you are a 24-hour ambassador for the organization you work for," Humphrey said. So, companies should create meaningful content that employees would be proud to pass along. Also, human resources can use social sharing to pass along information: Make social posts that reach workers about corporate policies, instead of just sending emails. 

Make use of your social resources

Companies that recruit through social channels clearly are looking for workers with some social savvy. If an employee comes to a firm with lots of followers, then it behooves the company to have that person engage socially about its brand. That goes back to the point of sharing quality content, and not forcing or expecting socially aware employees to retweet or share posts that don't interest them. "If somebody comes here with 10,000 followers, that currency matters here, and that's an audience we're reaching because that person allows us to," Humphrey said.

Hashtag it out

Socially conscious companies all have hashtags they proliferate on Twitter and Instagram, and Humphrey said if nothing else, it at least creates a hub for conversations. Companies should create a hashtag, and job applicants should engage with it to get the ear of a company. "It attracts conversation, and it helps you find everything and aggregate it," Humphrey said. "A hashtag (#hootsuitelife) serves us really well as an organization with that employer branding."

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