Your best, most influential promoters are closer than you think.

It’s no secret that inspiring your customers to rave about you on social media is a great way to build your small business’ reputation. But many business owners aren’t tapping into another group of promoters—their employees.

By inspiring your team to advocate for your small business on social media, you can build a strong, positive presence for your brand online.

Your employees are reservoirs of company knowledge and champions of your small business’ culture. When they share on social media, your employees can help both attract your ideal customers and recruit stellar team members that fit seamlessly with your culture.

Let’s turn your team members into brand advocates on social media. Here are 5 strategies for helping your employees bolster your social presence:

1: Create a Culture Worth Bragging About

Before you ask employees to post about your business on social media, make sure you are doing your best to create an environment where they love to work. Ask yourself some key questions:

Would you be excited to come to work in your business if you were not the owner?

If not, is there anything you can change that would create a more positive experience for your team?

Even making a few small tweaks to how you run things can amplify the level of genuine enthusiasm your team has and set the tone for positive posts on social media in the future.

Try something new, like:

  • Creating a communal workspace
  • Gifting them useful company merch
  • Asking team members to choose a charity to sponsor, or
  • Catering lunch in the office on Fridays

Give your team something to brag about on social.

2: Start Bragging About Your Team.

Employees may be shy about posting about their workplace on social media if they don’t see you doing so, too. Get the ball rolling by sharing news about your team on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter on a daily basis.

If you’re more inclined to snap photos than write posts, open an Instagram account and share pictures from company events and daily life at your office.

Whether you announce an employee of the month, include a team shot at a fundraiser for a local charity or post words of praise for an employee who just ran a marathon, you’ll give your team something to comment on online and share with their followers.

And, bonus, you’ll boost morale along the way.

3: Tap Their Ideas

Social media platforms are changing quickly which means that some of your employees may be more privy to the next Snapchat or niche sites in your industry than you have time to be. Engage your team by asking everyone for ideas on the best channels to post about the company and how to post on them. If an employee has special expertise with a particular platform, ask them to help you craft a plan for building out your presence there or even let them take over an account for a day to help followers get to know your employees more intimately.

Many small businesses don’t have the budget for an in-house social media specialist. Your team can be instrumental in helping to share the load and fill the social void.

4: Facilitate a Monthly Brainstorm

Set aside an hour once a month where you encourage employees to think up relevant posts about your company for different platforms together. If you run a professional services firm, Twitter or LinkedIn may be a good place to post relevant articles. At a more customer-focused business like a restaurant, you might focus on Facebook or Instagram.

Offer a prize to the employee who comes up with the best post of the month. It’ll be a great way to build up your social content calendar and to highlight team wins.

5: Embrace recruiting sites.

If you’re trying to attract talent, encourage your employees to post reviews about your business on sites such as Glassdoor. Many job hunters (and prospective customers) check out the reviews carefully when deciding where to apply – and where to buy.

Before you ask your team to post reviews of your workplace, you want to be sure you have a pulse on employee engagement.  Give everyone a chance to rate your company culture and voice concerns through an anonymous survey.  If you receive negative feedback, you can make changes to boost employee happiness before sending them out to review your workplace.

Then, build out your Glassdoor profile with photos of company gatherings and other events that really showcase your company culture.  We recommend asking employees to review your business anonymously so they feel they can be candid. The more genuine the comments, the more valuable they will be in attracting your ideal candidates.

Asking employees to share open job postings through their personal accounts can be another effective way to spread the word and to tap into a pool of qualified candidates who may not know about your business yet. If employees love where they work, they’ll be more eager to share openings with friends and followers.

Putting together a plan for engaging employees as advocates on social media is a great opportunity for you to take a step back to survey the current state of your business. When executed thoughtfully, employee engagement on social can be incredibly valuable for driving traffic to your website, attracting talent and most importantly, boosting your company morale.