Maximise the UK’s £1.4bn Twitter time
I keep hearing an old refrain that I was reminded of in an article in today’s Financial Times – “Twittering Workers Cost Businesses £1.4bn.” Oh yeah. All that time spent on social media at work. Shockingly, the article found the average person spends 40 minutes a week on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook (my casual observation is that this is an understatement) and valued the time wasted by employees at £1.4bn per annum.
I believe this research has the wrong spin. We should be talking about the potential for UK businesses to use their talent pool to spread positive messaging about their brands.
Just think… what do people do when they spend time on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc? They communicate, recommend, discuss and share thoughts. After all, everyone works for a brand, however big or small the organization. Customers will only continue to buy if they feel good about the service they’re receiving. So, it’s vital to tell everyone how good the company you work for is.
Your staff are going to take up time on social media whether you like it or not. The first step towards getting a return on your investment of time and money is to empower your staff to use social media to help your business.
Here are my tips to spreading the word on your organization:
* Find out who wants to be involved and own the project.
* Identify some true, positive things to say about your workplace.
* Discuss it – social media is about engagement, so talk about it!
* Set up official social media accounts across the major platforms.
Now, here are some starter points to make social messaging work for your company:
* Post true and positive messages about your company.
The logic of this strategy is twofold: If it’s positive, customers will like it. And if it’s not true… well, don’t lie.
* Encourage your staff to update their status in a work-related way.
Broadcast it, Retweet it, Digg it, the more honest positive reviews you have online, the better. Social media is about noise and engagement. If it’s not out there, no one will find out about, respond to, or be engaged with your product.
* Follow/Friend all your colleagues as a matter of course.
Friending your colleagues first encourages them to build an online social network that reflects the company’s real life one. In addition, it creates a powerful motivator for employees to advertise their company, connect and share ideas with one another.
* Encourage messaging about your achievements.
Social media is a great platform to increase awareness. Why not publicise positive performances in the workplace? If you do your part to encourage your employees, they are also more motivated to respond in kind. Who knows, all that extra visibility might even get some of your best people a pay rise.
* Drive traffic to your company’s website by encouraging the broadcasting of relevant links in posts.
Simultaneously enhance both your company’s visibility AND its reputation. Also, your website becomes associated with quality links and quality content – a great reflection on your brand.
* Communicate collaboratively with colleagues, suppliers and customers.
This strategy can help your business to increase productivity and provides an additional platform upon which you can build strategically to grow your business.
* Connect with thought leaders to get pushed industry information.
You don’t have to read the book, buy the magazine or attend the conference to connect to best minds in your industry. Using social media, get these ideas instantaneously and monitor the industry response.
* Contribute to idea formation in your industry by posting your thoughts and innovations.
Social media can help make you a leader in your own right. If your colleagues understand they can have an accessible, instantaneous and cutting edge stream of business-relevant information, they’ll return, link, comment and subscribe. Everyone wins.