Getting your employees to become social media advocates can be a great way to amplify your reach and acquire new customers.
According to Brandwatch, 1,000 employee advocates can reach 1 million customers, drive 50,000 social engagements, and create 5,000 unique pieces of content. Consumers care deeply about endorsements made by their peers and will listen to their friends if they show love of a brand. However, your employees posting content about your restaurant on your behalf might make you nervous. In fact, the first thing you may have thought when reading this blog was, “doesn’t that put control of my brand into the hands of someone else?” Yes, and no. It has been said that branding is what people say about you after you’ve left the room, and in this way, having employees as social media advocates can be the biggest brand endorsement yet. You may own your restaurant, but your customers and your employees create your brand.
Concern: Your employees might not fully understand your restaurant brand identity or brand personality
Communicating brand messaging effectively while maintaining a personal tone is not a natural skill for everyone. If your employees’ posts sound forced or insincere in any way, it can harm your efforts. If an employee has a negative experience at their workplace and turns to social media to vent their frustrations, they could damage your reputation.
To solve this, set guidelines and put official processes in place to make sure they understand how to use social media to help, not hinder your brand. Make sure all your staff is on the same page about organizational goals and objectives, so you can all work as a team. Whether your organization decides to post about events, shout-outs, company milestones, individual achievements, or other topics, ensure your staff is trained on how to identify and publish content on their LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook channels.
Even if an employee at your restaurant or bar is a stellar bartender or server, they may still need some training on how to effectively express their views, use appropriate language and tone, and build the brand in a way that is aligned with your organization’s overall brand strategy. Having a weekly meeting to discuss social media activities can help your employees feel confident about what they are posting and to ensure that a consistent message is being communicated.
Concern: Your employees will spend time on their phones instead of working
While Social media usage, by staff, achieve positive results for your brand, you don’t want your employees using every excuse to check their phone and spend their time on social media instead of focusing on the customers in your restaurant. Training and teaching your employees rules about deciding who, what, and when to post is of vital importance. Keep a content calendar with important dates posted in staff areas, so that all your employees understand what’s on the social media menu.
Some restaurants and bars launch their social media advocacy program with a small select group of employees who demonstrate social media savvy, are energetic, and truly passionate about that restaurant. Identify and select a few employees at your restaurant to start with, whom you know will take the added responsibility seriously and won’t let it get in the way of serving customers or performing other tasks.
Concern: Shares and posts from your employees will sound forced
Authenticity is a huge concern for restaurants, and for a good reason. You do not want your employees to feel obligated to share content, because if they aren’t committed, then their posts will likely sound insincere. There are many reasons why, even a great employee, wouldn’t be eager to join your social media advocacy program. Perhaps they don’t want their friends seeing them post updates about their work. Perhaps they don’t want their personal social life involved with work in any way. They may have different views about privacy in this regard and may elect to keep their social media away from their job entirely.
Make sure when you hire employees that they are aware of the social media advocacy program and policies. Communicate clearly what is expected. If people aren’t on board, do NOT make it mandatory participation. Instead, consider a social brand ambassador program that incentivizes employees to leverage their networks and achieve thought leadership amongst their peers.
For more information about leveraging social media advocacy for your restaurant or bar, contact us at Absolute Marketing Solutions today. We can help you identify concerns with social media employee advocacy and craft a custom solution that works to amplify and accelerate your restaurant’s visibility on social media.