The 5 Key Elements of Authentic Social Media Engagement

Employee advocacy and social selling have clear benefits for companies. But the success of your social media programs hinges on the quality of your employees’ interactions.

If employees on social media are going to grow their personal networks, build relationships, and drive sales, they need to engage with their followers, and they need to do so authentically. That way, your buyers and customers can see value in their interactions with your employees.

To get to that place, there are five key elements that your employees’ social communications should possess.

1. Consistent

The world of social media is fleeting. One day, there’s a buzzworthy Twitter account that instantly garners attention. Then, after a few days or weeks, the updates become more sporadic, and soon, they stop all together.

In a world of “here-todays-gone-tomorrows,” it can be hard to gain someone’s trust. But consistency over time helps.

People like routine. Think about it. Some people take the same route home every day. Others read the New York Times every morning. Still others check their Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn feed every morning to see what others are saying.

When you are consistent on social media, your followers notice, and they even get excited to see what you’re going to share next.

To maintain consistency, it’s important to create an editorial calendar. Here’s a workbook that will help you build your plan.

2. Relevant

Relevance means knowing who your audience is and what they want to hear about. If you don’t post with a specific audience in mind, chances are good that you’ll have a running monologue on Twitter or Facebook, with little or no feedback from others.

That’s no fun.

Before posting anything, think about your audience. Ask yourself, Will my followers find this post interesting?

3. Credible

Only with credibility will buyers engage with your social media updates. Credible updates have a higher rate of comments, shares, clicks, and retweets. On the flip side, if you haven’t established credibility, you’ll have a lower rate of engagement.

To establish your credibility, your updates need to be both consistent and relevant. But, more importantly, you need to think before you post. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you have the facts right?
  • Are you trying to be humorous? If so, could someone misconstrue your sense of humor?
  • Have you spelled everything correctly in your post?
  • Have you read the piece of content that you’re about to share? Do you think that it’s good?
  • Does the piece of content come from a reputable source?

Credibility is not just about what you say; it’s also about what you link to.

4. Human

It was fun watching IBM Watson triumph on Jeopardy. That said, robots lose their novelty quickly for most people. On the contrary, holding a conversation with another human being never gets old.

And that’s the beauty of employee advocacy and social selling. Your employees – real human beings, with real names and faces – get to interact with your buyers, who are also real, flesh-and-blood human beings, with real names and faces. So, your employees’ social updates should sound like they come from humans, like they have individual personalities.

There are different ways to convey personality on social media. You can use punctuation like exclamation points. You can use emojis and emoticons. You can choose your words carefully – to make your online words sound more like your speaking voice.

Whatever you do, remember that regurgitating headlines doesn’t sound human. It sounds robotic. Add some of your thoughts to the article.

5. Strategic

A good advocacy program will have a strategy behind it. You will have a plan for discovering content, publishing it, distributing it to people on your team, and measuring the effectiveness of your efforts.

Your employees will know, for instance, which networks they will use for professional purposes. They will be trained on the nuances of those networks, and they will understand how to construct their professional brands. Furthermore, your program’s managers will define the right set of metrics so that your team can find the content that resonates with your buyers.

Intrigued? Want to learn more about employee advocacy?

In the past, simply having a presence on social media was enough for many companies. But social networking sites are changing, and so are buyers. Potential customers want to hear messages tailored specifically for them, and they want to hear those messages from someone they can trust.

To maximize the potential of social media, today’s marketers have to change their strategies. That’s where employee advocacy comes in.

We wrote The Rise of the Employee Marketer, an ebook, on the subject. It explains why your employees trump more traditional forms of social media marketing. Check it out!

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