How to implement a 'social first' culture

Employees are organisations' strongest advocates - and it's time more brands started to use this to their advantage.

How to implement a 'social first' culture

Implementing a social-first culture should be at the top of every business leader’s to-do list. It’s simple, if a company is a good place to work, employees will want to talk about it. Active and engaged employees make the strongest allies for an organisation as they spread the word on social media. 

This is echoed by Edelman’s Trust Barometer from 2018, which found that content shared by employees, at every level of an organisation, gets eight times more engagement than corporate content – and is reshared 25 times more frequently, too. 

Growth, customer engagement and attracting talent can also be harnessed through the correct use of social media. It provides a platform to highlight company beliefs and values, is an ideal way to connect with potential new clients and partners, as well as engage with prospective employees. 

From an internal communication perspective, if ringfenced properly, social media can become a brand-safe environment for corporate messaging to reach all employees, from the C-suite to customer-facing staff. And when it comes to marketing, social media allows organisations to leverage its own employees, by actively encouraging them to support marketing content and extend the reach of campaigns. 

Case Study: Melia Hotels

An organisation that has seen great success from revamping its social strategy is Melia Hotels International. With more than 380 hotels across 43 countries, Melia is one of the largest hotel resort chains in the world. With such a vast network of staff, the organisation recognised what a valuable asset they could become in incorporating social as a key element of its digital transformation strategy. Melia had a clear goal: to become the hotel chain with the greatest influence across social media – and it was confident its people would help to achieve this.

The hotel chain set out to create a programme that would make its staff the strongest advocates when it came to highlighting the brand’s reputation as a people-first organisation. The group launched an employee advocacy initiative and an ambassador programme, which along with Hootsuite’s Amplify solution, drove more than 142 million impressions on social media in 2018 and attributed to more than 61,000 posts shared by company ambassadors. This also resulted in a significant increase in the number of applications received per job posting, as the perception of the chain shifted from great to class-leading. 

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Digital transformation, digital people
Digital transformation is as much about people as it is about technology. Business leaders need to focus on data and technology to continuously evolve all aspects of the business model, including both internal communications and external marketing strategies. By doing so, organisations can modernise and adapt to markets that are in constant flux. 

It’s the job of leaders to inspire workforces to become active participants in every digital transformation. By including employees in the continuous evolution of the business – coupled with openly sharing the organisation’s vision mission, beliefs and values – employees are offered the chance to take a personal interest in the organisation they work for. 

Companies need to ensure they harness the emotional investment paid by employees, though. Digitally mature organisations which focus on social media as a key pillar of their digital transformation efforts are often ideally placed to reap the rewards from employee advocates. Employees who live and breathe the organisation they work for fall into this advocacy camp, and are often the ones that will proudly fly the flag for that brand externally.

By leveraging the power of human connection, businesses can extend their reach, maximise their potential and increase employee satisfaction levels. Being social is the future of business, and it’s time to embrace it. 

Learn more about how Hootsuite can help your organization tap into the power of employee advocacy.