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Why your entire staff should be involved in social media

Why your entire staff should be involved in social media
By Joe Issid
Monster Contributing Writer

Until quite recently, you would have been hard pressed to find any company looking to hire a social media specialist. The need simply didn’t exist. Nowadays, however, it seems virtually impossible to throw a stone without hitting a few dozen social media professionals. For a domain with no governance or any specific career arc, the barrier to entry is virtually non-existent; literally anyone with a smart phone can call themselves a so-called social media expert.
 
Don’t get me wrong, though. There is immense value in having a well-planned social strategy and companies that have embraced the digital media space will outpace their competitors. However, the most active social companies are not necessarily reliant on a specific person or team of social experts. Rather, the companies that are able to leverage social platforms with the greatest success are those that place a collaborative focus throughout the enterprise; involving a greater number of your employees in your social efforts can be more beneficial than entrusting the entire campaign to a single person or team.
 
Produce high velocity content
The definition of content – and how we consume it – has shifted dramatically in recent years. As recently as 15 years ago, most of us received our content at fixed time periods throughout the day (newspaper delivery in the morning, the 6 o’clock news etc.) that was created by professional content creators (journalists, marketers etc.). Nowadays, we consume content in a completely different manner; the volume of content that we consume through our different social feeds (twitter, Facebook etc.) is immense and quite ad hoc. As such, individual pieces of content have become extremely devalued in recent times.
 
A modern consumer reads and discards thousands of pieces of content per day. As such, it has become essential for content creators to produce digestible – and relevant – content at high velocity. And the best way to achieve this is to have more than just one person responsible for doing so.
 
Extended reach
As the Millennial generation spreads further into the workforce, they come armed with an innate capacity to be digitally social. Being raised on Facebook and twitter can certainly hold some professional value. Now, some employers embrace this skill set and try to leverage it to their benefit. Having a staff of digitally savvy and willing workers can be incredibly helpful when launching specific initiatives. For example, many companies are leveraging their employees’ social profiles when it comes to recruiting. To wit, how many times have you seen a friend advertising an open position within their company on Facebook? Inevitably, these posts lead to discussions about the benefits of working for the company, which only enhances its social influence and reputation.
 
Empower your staff
Truth is many companies shake in their boots when confronted with the idea that their employees are active on social media. Employers have absolutely no measure of control about what can be said about them (often anonymously) on the internet. And any PR person will tell you that this is extremely dangerous for any brand. Some employers have gone so far as to try to prevent their employees from mentioning them online. And we can’t begrudge them for it. However, other employers have taken the opposite stance and have fully empowered their workers to be public brand ambassadors. By encouraging your employees to be active on social media you are entrusting them with the power to control how their company is perceived externally and can go so far as to further business objectives. Trust and empowerment, when attributed appropriately, are very powerful workplace motivators.
 
Increased agility
Of course, before unleashing your employees into the digital fray, a clearly-defined set of boundaries and guidelines needs to be established.  However, you need to be careful to avoid curtailing two extremely important elements: creativity and spontaneity. Brands that are socially agile are able to respond quickly to user feedback as well as to the shifting digital landscape. Having many resources with their finger on the social button can help your company respond quickly and appropriately.
 
The social age is here and it is here to stay. Rather than fight a losing battle preventing employees from using social media, companies should learn to embrace it. Furthermore, rather than placing an entire social media strategy on the shoulders of a single person or team, companies should be looking to involve their entire company in this capacity. Social media is content so companies should be looking at all their employees as being possible sources of positive social content. While it may not an explicit job requirement to be socially active, it behooves an employer to educate their staff how to use these platforms effectively.