When did you last check your Instagram and Facebook accounts?
Let’s face it: on average we spend 5 years of our life on social media.
It is more than the total time we dedicate to eating or taking care of our personal appearance.
According to the study How people use social media in 2018 by The Manifest, social media have become an essential part of our daily lives.
86% of the respondents use social networks at least once per day, and 72% more than once.
The following social networks are the most used, show an increasing trend compared to 2017 and are used at least once a week:
Facebook (82%), YouTube (75%), Instagram (53%), Snapchat (39%), Pinterest (38%) and Twitter (36%).
“Social media play an important role in everyone’s life. People use them to communicate, search for events, find shops and brands, consult weather forecasts. They provide people with assistance in their daily activities. “
Josh Loewen – director of digital marketing for The Status Bureau agency
We all realise that we are increasingly connected, living a reality in which the online world is one with the offline world.
In order to fully understand social media’s influence, just take a look at the Live Stats website, which shows the number of people using the internet and social networks in real time: the figures are impressive and they are constantly increasing!
The data collected by Statista confirm how important social media are nowadays.
This is the current situation:
- There are more than 1.6 billion users on social networks worldwide;
- More than 64% of users go online to access social media;
- Most of the time online is spent on social networks: the most common activities are keeping in touch with friends and family, reading the news and consulting different kinds of content;
- The enormous popularity of smartphones and tablets has increased the use of social media: according to 60 Second Marketer, there are more people who own a mobile device than a toothbrush;
- Social media marketing and social commerce are both promising sectors with attractive revenue potentials;
- Most social networks depend heavily on user-generated content (created by users), especially Pinterest and Instagram
Statista also provides forecasts for social network use worldwide between 2010 and 2021. The official forecast for 2021, which is not too far in the future, is for more than 3 billion active users, accounting for almost half of the global population.
Employee engagement: the reason why social media are good for companies
If they are used in the right way, social media can be a good opportunity for companies: they represent a step forward in understanding the current complex and hyper-connected situation, as well as improving employees’ engagement, turning them into brand activists.
“An employee with a high level of engagement is a worker who cares about the future and success of his company; he is actively involved in everything that happens and is therefore willing to make a positive contribution”
Italian employee – Employees Rising survey: Seizing the Opportunity in Employee Activism
Companies that understand the current social reality will receive significant benefits.
In fact, the constant connection on social media and the increasingly blurred distinction between work and private life constitute an important asset for improving employee engagement with their workplace.
Employees’ engagement is really fundamental for a company’s success: it is the keystone in achieving an above-average performance and for gaining an advantage over your competitors.
According to research undertaken by Gallup: How Employee Engagement Drives Growth, the benefits of a high level employee engagement are:
- 10% more customers,
- 21% increase in productivity,
- 22% increase in profitability,
- 37% less absenteeism,
- a 25% to 65% reduction in labour turnover,
- 28% reduction in contraction,
- 48% reduction in incidents relating to safety issues,
- 41% reduction in product defects.
They are all valid reasons as to why company managers should maximize the involvement of their workforce, which means finding ways of increasing engagement and making them become an active part of the brand.
According to the report Employees Rising: Seizing the Opportunity in Employee Activism by Weber Shandwick and KRC research,
33% of employees spontaneously share positive news about their company on personal social media accounts.
They do it without any support or encouragement from the employer.
It is a good starting point, right?
Online surveys were submitted to 2,300 employees, aged between 18 and 65, who worked for at least 30 hours a week in corporate organizations, with more than 500 employees, in various cities throughout the world.
Here are some interesting results from the study:
- 88% of respondents use at least one social media for personal use;
- half of them upload messages, images or videos concerning their employer on social media;
- 39% share positive comments about their employer online;
- 16% share negative comments about their employer online;
- 14% published some content about their employer on social media…and then regretted it.
In a world that is always connected, you can no longer avoid sharing your business on social networks just because you are afraid of a negative post by one of your employees.
Anyone who wants to express criticism online will find a way to do it: the number of social platforms is huge. Certainly, it is impossible to fully control all the comments about work, the boss and the organisation.
Therefore, an intelligent and realistic move is to build a solid online brand on social media which reflects the company’s reputation offline.
Employee Advocacy: what is it and why is it so important for all companies?
Every company should be very interested in Employee Advocacy, the promotion of the company’s message by its employees.
Social media has a broad online reach because they possess an immediate, fast and transparent method of communication. They are a means of communicating with the employees’ network: friends, relatives, followers can all be reached with just a single posting.
Everything the employee shares about the company has weight and consequences: it can increase credibility, create added value, and stimulate further communication through, for example, word of mouth.
In short, social media contribute to the creation of the company brand, the personal brand of those who work for that company and they provide an idea to external people about what happens within the organization.
Social media are considered to be reliable and are used as a reference point by the majority of consumers.
According to a report by Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising, carried out on a sample of 28,000 internet users from 56 different countries, 92% of consumers trust earned media, that is, online content created spontaneously by users themselves, such as comments to blogs and forums or posts on social media pages.
Not only is this type of advertising much preferred, but it is also considered more reliable than other forms, such as commercials or paid banners.
For this reason, businesses should commit themselves to understand their target market on the most popular social networks, like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. This is a way of gaining an understanding of consumers’ habits and tastes, and a means of getting in touch with them. Above all, companies will become more interesting and will stand out from their competitors.
This goal has become more achievable thanks to Employee Advocacy: if an employee feels really involved in the company in which they work, they will show their engagement on social networks. They will defend their employer from criticism and act as a supporter, both offline and online.
Companies cannot afford to miss out on the opportunity of building their own group of supporters, especially considering the fact that this phenomenon will certainly grow in the future.
So what are the levers that can increase employee engagement on social networks?
The report, Employees Rising: Seizing the Opportunity in Employee Activism, identifies 4 main components that should be included in business applications:
- Internal communication
- HR (Human Resources) – Development for employees
- CRS – Corporate Social Responsibility
The leadership lever seems to be considered the most important by the majority of employees interviewed: giving the right value to employees’ ideas and opinions, the ability to make the workplace enjoyable, the good reputation and reliability of the employer, the ability to listen and respond to requests presented by employees are critical factors for the creation of employee engagement.
The internal communication lever works when, through frequent communication, employees feel they are kept informed of what is happening within the company. In practice, a company should ensure employees discover changes and news as soon as is feasible, and certainly not from external sources.
The human resource and employee development lever are based upon the number of opportunities that employees have to develop and learn new skills. Being given proper training, together with all the tools necessary to carry out the work in the best possible way, is considered important for increasing employee engagement.
And finally, there is the Corporate Social Responsibility lever. According to the employees interviewed, companies should treat all employees in the same way, regardless of their ethnicity, sex, age, and culture. In addition, it is widely appreciated when business managers have an active role within their community: it shows that they care about social issues, such as protecting the environment and improving its condition.
How gamification increases employee engagement, including on social media
The benefits resulting from a high level of employee engagement are clear, but what methods can be used to improve it? In fact, most companies struggle to engage their employees.
And this is where gamification comes into play: gamification is able to make workers more active and productive by applying the mechanics of a game to the workplace.
Everybody likes games, especially when motivated through friendly competition between colleagues, by rewards and awards given in real time. All this is associated with the possibility of sharing achievements at work on social media.
The merger between gamification and social media allows companies to increase the engagement of their employees through the use of technology.
In fact, social media and mobile devices are able to make the workplace a more collaborative, interesting and engaging environment for workers.
Applying social and gaming logic leads to the creation of winning applications in terms of engagement, productivity and brand advocacy.
In addition, generations of Millennials and Baby Boomers – those who will be the workers of the future – have a good knowledge of social media and gaming apps, which they use on a daily basis on their personal smartphones.
According to Gartner, gamification strategies for companies will become as important as Facebook, eBay or Amazon. What is the reason for this?
The peculiarity of gamification lies in it being able to induce real changes in employees. By creating friendly competition among colleagues, underpinned by constant support, employee engagement can be increased much more than by using other methods.
What kind of content works on corporate social media?
Companies often tend to share a long and detailed analysis of the services and products they offer, press releases and annual budgets, completely missing the purpose of sharing, which is also a form of social entertainment. It’s ok to be professional, but not boring!
One way to improve the level of employee engagement is to share relevant and interesting content for them.
For example, corporate team building events, parties during the holidays, goals achieved by the company and the team, news and improvements, social activities.
It is always important to take into account the feedback from employees: communication must be open and equal, one should never create monologues, imposed from above. It’s all about work, this much is clear, but it is important not to lose the “social attitude”.
Companies can not afford to underestimate the importance of their employees’ engagement. The combination of gamification and social media can really make a difference in achieving the company’s long- term goals and employee well-being.
Here is the link to schedule a free call with our experts, who will be happy to discuss any ideas, further details and answer any questions you might have.