Social media is one of the most powerful inbound marketing tools that small businesses have at their fingertips.  You can conduct business with, market to, or gather information from anyone no matter where they are in the world!  Demographics that were once unreachable are now right there, a click away.  

Getting your employees involved in your social media marketing efforts is a great way to expand your reach. Your employees, who are passionate about your business, can become your best advocates and sales tool online.  However, to ensure that you have strong branding, it’s important to set social media guidelines.  

Leverage Key Employees

Don’t try to force your whole team to be active online because some just aren’t.  Find the employees who are already active online and start nurturing their social media involvement for your brand.  Leverage those key, customer-facing employees to help carry the conversation about your business and build your network of connections.

Be Professional

To create a strong, professional brand, first create business pages on each platform you want to target with your strategy.  This creates an easy platform your employees can repost blog posts, resources, and other useful brand information.  This is a simple way to ensure that your employees remain professional when mentioning your business online.  

One of the more popular marketing buzzwords of the past few years has been personal branding.  Just like your business, each person in business can control their online brand and presence.  It’s pertinent to allow your employees who are active on social media to develop their own personal brand.  However, have them add a statement to their profiles that state that their opinions are their own to avoid potential issues.

Watch Your Language

Act like you are speaking to your mom, not your old college roommate.  No cursing, derogatory language, questionable subjects, or improper contexts should be found where you are promoting your business.  All of that is too informal and sometimes offensive to be professional.  Too much familiarity on a business page will make potential customers or contacts shy away.

Be Authentic, Ethical, and Honest

Make sure you are always putting your best foot forward.  Be forthcoming and open about your product and services.  Approach social media as a marketing platforms (because it is) and not just a chatting space.  Being your authentic self is also important.  

Use Common Sense

Social media is a very relaxed and active environment but it’s important to remember that it is also a powerful branding tool.  While it’s good to be in healthy conversations, don’t get involved in heated arguments.  Be the moderate — it’s not an easy job but someone has to do it.  And please, don’t send game requests to potential customers!

Be Strategic

Having an open social media policy will encourage your employees to jump in the conversation about your brand.  They engage with prospective customers online and build their own audiences and connections.  With them, you can reach a wider audience and different pockets based on their own interests and views.  This is why it’s key to hire the right employees.

Work with your team to create a social media strategy and set goals.  This will allow them to take ownership and stay accountable.  Keep your employees in the loop on what content you are promoting on your brand profiles.  You can also gauge how valuable your content is… If your employees aren’t excited or keen to share your content, then your audience probably also doesn’t want to read or share.

Great social media boils down to being a leader online.  The most important advice I’ve received for social media is to share and comment on valuable content to become that information leader.  Instilling good social media habits will lead to more engagement from your audience.  People on social media want to engage in meaningful conversations.  If you are only in that sell, sell, sell mode, you will push people away.  If your employees are active online for your brand, you will start seeing more engagement and mentions about your brand online.  

Social media is a key component to a successful inbound marketing campaign.  Engagement from your team and audience will stretch your reach further than you imagined and improve your social media ROI.