Over the years, I have worked with companies who block access to all social media platforms within their network.
This move was probably intended to keep employees focused on their work.
However, the marketing, HR, and sales teams really needed access to these networks!
No, I’m not talking about encouraging everyone to go waste their days on YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, etc. I’m also not counting the necessary marketing tasks of running advertising and content campaigns.
I’m referring to those of us in marketing and search roles who don’t have a perceived good reason to be on social media daily – as well as those managers or decision-makers who direct the time and activities of their teams.
Social media has matured into a major digital marketing channel. It shows up in attribution models and customer journey maps in nearly all industries.
While arguments can be made about niche and old school industries, it is hard to ignore.
Using social media at work is a positive thing for marketing and SEO professionals.
We should be encouraging social media use in our companies.
When given direction and focusing on the seven reasons marketers and SEO pros should be using social media, we can leverage its power and accomplish things that wouldn’t be possible from the brand’s profile and perspective alone.
1. Company Branding
The more content employees share about their work, role in the industry, involvement in their company, and engagement in their community, the more a brand can benefit.
As long as guidance is given on how to ensure profiles are tied to the company and the content is tasteful, employees can serve as brand ambassadors on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and more.
We have all been to the stale and sterile profile of a brand that doesn’t showcase what employees are doing and isn’t connected with the people that make up that company.
If your employees are doing awesome things in their circles, make sure they are encouraged and empowered to talk about it on social media.
2. Personal Branding
Years ago, I had a client’s HR department worry that marketing’s encouragement of employees and sales team members to be on LinkedIn and engaging in their industry would make them ripe for recruitment by competitors.
This was backward thinking and thankfully, they learned to embrace the power of what their employees’ personal brands could do.
By building personal brands through sharing content, building larger networks, and engaging others, they found that individual employees were able to establish their own thought leadership and personas in the industry. This could mutually work for the employee’s career benefit as well as the company’s overall profile.
Additionally, they found that their attrition rate didn’t change despite more visibility.
3. Business Development
Not all social media platforms are intended for business development. However, for B2B companies and even B2C when working on deals with wholesalers and suppliers, LinkedIn can be a fantastic avenue for new business.
The mantra “helping, not selling” is key in any social media arena.
LinkedIn (and even to some extent Twitter and Facebook) is much more than a modern Rolodex. It allows for building networks, sharing information, and doing outreach.
While we don’t all think “yay, another unsolicited InMail!”, there is a place for direct messages and sponsored content in informing and reaching target audiences.
I spent hours on a Christmas Eve years ago on LinkedIn going through every search result bookmarking specific candidates I found for a web developer role.
I ended up landing on the perfect candidate through that search. It was far better than was I got from listing the job on all of the job posting websites.
With a hot economy and marketing and search talent at a premium, LinkedIn is a great recruitment tool.
At the very least, it great for filtering candidates as well. The standardized format of profile pages with skills, experience, and recommendations in one place, it can show more than a flat resume document.
5. Thought Leadership
A component of the contribution to company and personal brands is thought leadership. It is a big reason marketers should be on social media at work.
While some people have roles specifically defined to include producing content, it can be beneficial for anyone to create and/or share content.
Even for those that don’t want to write, shoot video, or be on podcasts, they can be (and should be) sharing good stuff in their industry.
The more good information you share, the more followers and connections, and trust you’ll receive.
Many people talk about an 80/20 rule in the amount of sharing versus self-promotion done on social channels.
Keeping in mind that you want to be an engaged citizen in your online community should be enough to help filter out the shameless types of posts that turn off followers.
6. Competitor Research
A great way to see what is working and what isn’t for competitors is to use social media.
Whether using tools or manually tracking follower counts, specific followers, content, post frequency, and engagement, this is a rich source of digital marketing information.
Seeing competitor content and how much engagement it gets can help shape our strategies.
We’re not going to copy off of them, but we can get ideas as to what works and what doesn’t with content that can advise our strategies for using it on social, in search, email, and beyond.
Using competitors as comparables for goal setting and benchmarking is a great way to grow as well.
It is much better than pulling a number out of the air or trying to figure out how much social media and content marketing is enough.
7. Audience Research
Social media is one of the quickest and visible ways to learn about your audience.
Whether running private groups, contests, or customer service channels, you’ll get the feedback (good or bad) that you desire quickly.
Plus, even if you’re not running advertising, if you have ad accounts on the social platforms you can start plugging in specific targeting and learn how many people match the criteria of your target audience.
This is powerful when you’re developing content and trying to determine how broad or narrow in focus to make it.
If none of the seven reasons why marketers should use social media at work resonated, then you might be in one of those rare niches or industries where social just doesn’t impact businesses.
However, for any where at least one of these resonated, I hope you find ways to personally and corporately leverage social media use for the right reasons.
I’m not talking about encouraging employees to watch YouTube videos all day.
I’m talking about:
- Engaging their communities and circles.
- Finding new business.
- Monitoring the competition.
- Learning more about their audiences.
- Ultimately shaping their (or the company’s) content strategy for the better.