Aristotle was spot on when he said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” This holds true when we look at the benefits of employee engagement in the socialsphere. Why not leverage your organization’s built-in social media army to evangelize the brand? Encouraging employee engagement across social channels on behalf of the brand seems to be a hot topic in social media these days.

Fast Company recently published how Cisco employees are contributing to the brand in their article, The Social Employee: The Secret Sauce that Cisco, Southwest Airlines and Adobe Use to Win.

Now the question is what are the steps for successfully encouraging employees to participate on behalf of a brand? In a recent Let’s Chat #Ciscosmt Twitter Chat we heard from Cisco’s Petra Neiger (@Petra1400) and Salesforce.com’s Jennifer Burnham (@JennyDBurnham), on ways to engage employees. In addition to their insightful tips, here’s my take on 5 steps to successfully encouraging employees to participate in the socialsphere:

Step 1: Training

  • It all starts here. Educate your employees with social media best practices, checklists, playbooks, toolkits, etc. Help your employees feel comfortable using social media on behalf of your brand. Interested in social media training? Check out our complimentary Cisco Social Media Training Program and follow the #ciscosmt hashtag. To request customized one-on-one team training sessions, email ciscosmtraining@external.cisco.com

Cisco Social Media Training Program Opportunity:

Step 2: Stretch Assignments

Once your employees have participated in training and are comfortable using social media best practices, create opportunities for their participation across multiple social channels. Leverage the masses to assist with social media campaigns, launches, events, etc. Even if social media is not their main role within your organization, develop these assignments as a great way to increase your program’s reach in addition to allowing employees to test out their new skill sets.

Step 3: Recognitions

badge 3 badge 2 badge 1

What motivates your employees? Is it a milestone badge, management recognition, or perhaps a prize of some sort? Knowing this will help you to motivate additional employee participation. Along the way, create incentive programs to entice your employees to participate. Adding an element of gamification and rewarding beneficial behaviors can go a long way.

Step 4: Provide Content

Make it easily sharable! Not everyone is cut out to be a content curator. For those individuals that may be starting out in social and are tentative about what is okay to post/tweet/share on behalf of the organization, leverage approved content and arm your employees with the types of content they can easily share and engage their audiences with.

Step 5: Track Engagement

As employees are sharing their content, have them include a hashtag and keywords to easily track your employee engagement. Additionally, share the impact of their participation with employees. This will be another motivator to continue to participate in social activities.

The result: Success! Your employees will become social brand advocates and evangelize your brand across their social channels ultimately increasing the reach of your brand voice. How does your organization encourage employee participation in the socialsphere? To keep up-to-date on the latest Cisco social media training tips follow @CiscoSocial and the #ciscosmt hashtag on Twitter.