How to get your coworkers to share company news on social networks

by Angus Nelson on Mar 13, 2013

sharingOk, picture this…

Your company receives fantastic news!!!

The press release is crafted, released, and, as the tremendous marketing guru that you are, you forward this great information to all of your company’s employees for them to shout from the rooftops!

… then, crickets.

Your exciting news does little to motivate your team into sharing with their personal social networks, a far greater reach than the one, singular channel your company runs on.

And that’s the thing.

Your brand has only ONE channel on any given social stream

Unless, of course, you’re a behemoth enterprise company diluting your way into a multiple personality disorder.

The number of channels through which a company’s employees can reach, however, is significantly more diverse and potentially more powerful. Not necessarily in sheer numbers, but by the likelihood of being trusted and seen.

According to the recent 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer, employees rank HIGHER in public trust than a company’s PR department, CEO, or Founder. Your company needs it’s employees to be socially successful, er… successful at being social.

In fact, there’s no more powerful social curator for your company than an enthusiastic employee. The people who love their job WANT to talk about the company, what it’s doing, and how it’s making a difference. They WANT to brag about the company they’ve identified themselves with.

Your Coworkers Have a Powerful Voice

So why, then, has your company ended up with all of the deadbeats?

You’ve begged, pleaded, and maybe even bribed. And short of paying off a number of individual’s mortgages or selling your soul to get their help, how do you incentivize fellow employees to embrace your social mission?

Get social

The power of social is relationship. And chances are, you don’t have as much invested in your fellow employees as you think you do.

Sure, you’re great in the virtual world. The regions of fiberoptic outside your four walls may be your wheelhouse. But here, in the office, you’re probably feeling a little small and fatigued.

Your co-workers are not obligated to share anything from you

If you fail to remember this aspect, you’ll be perceived as that narcissistic son-of-a-bitch, always talking about yourself, YOUR thing, and never caring about others or listening to what they have to say.

Nobody likes that guy at the cocktail party…

nobody likes that guy at work…

no one likes that guy…

ever.

“To have friends you must first show yourself friendly.”
~ Jewish Proverb

Recently, a community manager asked me what she could do to help her co-workers “play their part” (a really charming attitude). So I kindly asked her, “Have you ever thought of using social to reach them?”

“Well, of course, I tweeted them the links over and over… and still, no response.”, she snapped. I could feel her impassioned frustration, but that’s not what I meant.

I went on to ask her, “When’s the last time you had lunch with any members of your company’s engineer, design, or financial team members?”

She said, “never”.

And herein lies the fact many social managers struggle with: connecting internally is the same as connecting externally.

No one enjoys feeling obligated or coerced into anything

Simply barraging someone with content will never get them to like you or your message. Even if it’s a co-worker who loves their job. They just don’t like being harassed.

However…

Everyone loves being valued and appreciated.

How to win over your coworkers, expand your company’s social reach, and still love people in the process:

 1. Have coffee or lunch with other members of a team within the company.

Get to know them, learn what’s happening in their world.

2. Ask questions about successes in their department.

Everyone wants to feel heard and understood.

3. Later, post a shout out about specific individuals of this department, thanking them for their creativity, brilliance, and/or hard work.

Celebrate with them, rewarding their contribution and value.

4. Continue interacting with members of each department and develop relationships.

Life is all about relationships… so is social media.

5. Retweet, share, and re-post fellow workers posts when possible.

Sow the seeds, model how it’s done.

6. Be patient, check-in periodically, mutual trust and respect grows.

Everything takes time.

7. THEN… ask co-workers, very nicely, if they would, occasionally, share company content.

When they do, thank them openly as often as possible.

You CAN inspire your co-workers.

It may look a little different building a community within your company versus one outside, but the principles are quite similar.

Be friendly, listen, and show value… and get those lunch plans coordinated.

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Post Author

@angusnelson is the Community Manager for Addvocate.com and you can join him over at LinkedIn. He's a social business strategist, an author of Love's Compass, and speaker on issues regarding relationships and manhood. On a personal...

  • http://twitter.com/sierratierra Lisa Kalner Williams

    Yes! The social in social media explained.Nice piece, Angus.

  • http://twitter.com/angusnelson angusnelson

    Thank you Lisa, an often forgotten element. :)

  • http://twitter.com/runtzka Karen Runtz

    Right on! And the workplace will be a better place as well, which should lead to more motivated employees and bottom-line results.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.conklin.311 Lisa Conklin

    And if your company blocks social media?

  • Chris Lamb

    Here is an interesting solution that shows a way to make sure employees know what social content to share and makes it easy to do. http://youtu.be/V-bfbKSeaXM

  • http://twitter.com/angusnelson angusnelson

    Lisa, that’s a problem. However, there are some products that people can tap into when they get out of the office, but you need buy in. Check out @addvocate :)

  • http://twitter.com/angusnelson angusnelson

    Absolutely Karen… seems so commonsense, huh? :)

  • http://socialfreshacademy.com/ Jason Keath

    That does put a wrinkle in it.

    iPhones?

  • http://www.silverbridgesocialmedia.com/ Elana Winfrey

    Angus, I sum up what you’re saying to: you have to truly be a ‘social business’ to expect employees to rave about you on social media. Be engaged and appreciative off-line, and they will talk about your business in a positive light online for sure.

  • http://twitter.com/AmandahBlackwel Amandah T. Blackwell

    Hi Angus,

    Loved the article! I laughed when I read the part about how the community manager expected her co-workers to share the company’s tweets because she shared the links with them. It brought me back to my corporate America days. I could see my co-workers rolling their eyes. :)

    Here are my thoughts…

    Some employees separate business from personal. They’re working from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., 40 or more hours per week, for a paycheck. That’s it. Coercing them into tweeting on Twitter or posting something on their Facebook pages won’t work. It will just make you the target of juicy office gossip. Here’s an example…

    My co-workers used to moan and groan when we had to support a charity chosen by our organization. Some of them didn’t like the charity for one reason or another. They DID NOT want to participate in any activities, let alone donate money to the charity. People did their best to put on fake smiles and happy faces. But I could tell they were upset.

    I agree that managers, supervisors, etc. need to take an interest in their employees if they want them to share the company’s tweets, pins, etc. This seems like a no-brainer, but obviously it’s not. Our colleges and universities better step up their leadership programs within their business programs. They better start teaching students what it means to be a community manager and how to get employees on board with social media, especially sharing company links on their personal social networks. If not, it will be business as usual.

  • http://twitter.com/W_Goddard William Goddard

    Great post and some really good tips here! I work in the B2B space and it is always a challenge to get employee buyin from my clients to contribute to the outbound messaging. One question I always ask is ” How many people have gone to my website?” Always a few raise their hands…I then say, “I don’t have one. I get all my business including your companies, through social media” They are usually floored. I then go on to explain that for me, social is a way to start the conversation and not where it ends.

    Thanks for sharing the article and will definitely share the advice

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.brady.583 Brian Brady

    Ha! Mulitple personality disorder, a good chuckle this morning thanks Angus. The ah ha moments are always the simple ideas, great article.

  • http://twitter.com/jenillustre jennifer illustre

    Great tips and tricks. Hope it’ll work at our company without consciously trying too hard to do so.

  • http://twitter.com/angusnelson angusnelson

    Absolutely Elana!

  • http://twitter.com/angusnelson angusnelson

    Well said, “business as usual” is the mantra of a bygone era… things are changing and those philosophies will be changing of the companies wont stay competitive.

  • http://twitter.com/angusnelson angusnelson

    “social is a way to start the conversation and not where it ends” – completely on point. Well said William!

  • http://twitter.com/angusnelson angusnelson

    Thanks Brian. If we aren’t reminded of the basics, we’ll miss out on the whole. I try to stay simple-minded about marketing… or maybe I’m only simple-minded, hey wait! :)

  • http://twitter.com/angusnelson angusnelson

    Yes Jennifer, keep it natural. If you try, you’re faking it and everyone will pick up on it anyway. Be your glorious, wonderful self.

  • Fatima

    thank you for sharing the tips, they are awesome can’t wait to implement on monday:)

  • fatima

    I had a similar situation where I had asked one of the girls to like our company page and she said, “I do not like mixing business with facebook which is personal.” After explaing the benefit of just liking the page she was okay with it

  • Richard Horvath

    Great job Angus, so many people forget that a connection can start offline and then just as easily translate to a digital experience.

  • Adamstown

    Selling my soul sounds easier

  • http://about.me/josephmanna Joseph Manna

    One of the things we do well is to let employees have free agency over the content they produce on their social channels. For major company news and announcements, we provide a few suggested Tweets to make it less difficult to think about what to write.

    As a result, we get a lot of the digital natives and some of the not-so-natives sharing our content and creating conversation across their networks.

    This is a game that is not won by force, but won via recognition and a shared understanding in the big picture.

  • http://blog.instantcheckmate.com/ Jessica Ruane

    Love this!! I write the company blog for a tech startup, and it can definitely feel like you’re an island sometimes. I find that the easiest way to get my co-workers to read the company blog, is to write funnier posts. Luckily, I have a lot of creative freedom over what I can write on the blog so I’m able to do this. Thanks so much for this article. It’s nice to know I’m not the only copywriter who deals with this!

  • Anna Pham

    This is a very interesting topic Angus, thanks for raising it. I think your tips make sense but sometimes it is hard to do in practice since in some culture, people tend to seperate their life and work which makes it hard for them to share news about company in their social page.