The importance of listening to your social media audience

12 Jul 2018 By Michelle Carvill

Michelle Carvill explains why social media is a relatively untapped resource for employee engagement

As an HR professional, two of your key audiences are prospective employees and employees.

Whether you’re looking to market new roles to attract the right candidates, undertake due diligence on those interested in joining your organisation, or managing engagement programmes to keep the employees you’ve invested time, training and resources in, tuning into social media can help you with every scenario.

For many organisations, social media is the remit of the marketing, communications or customer service teams. Activity is still largely promotional: sharing content, improving brand awareness, engaging with and acquiring customers – or indeed front-line customer support.

Of course, while these aspects are extremely valid uses of the technologies, the tools can be used across the organisation to assist in many other ways.

One such way, which is often underplayed, is listening. And for HR professionals, there’s a lot you can be doing and tuning into, to assist with your employee engagement endeavours.

Employee opinions

Rather than the size of their salary, the stats say that employees value being part of an organisation where they have the opportunity to be heard and make a difference. Social media offers you a great way to tune into what your employees are saying, but also to drive opinion and get them engaged. There’s an opportunity to run regular polls and happiness surveys, or start a conversation about what people think about a certain process and how it can be improved.

Whether your employees are all under the same roof or dispersed around the world, with social technologies you have the opportunity to connect people regardless of location, to join the conversation, share their viewpoint and get involved. The key is to keep the conversations continuous. Perhaps create a central hashtag and encourage the whole team to use it, so you can keep track of the conversation. 

Make it fun

Employee engagement is big business. Your role as an HR professional is to ensure that those you have invested time, energy and resources in remain happy, engaged and productive. After all, happy employees are more productive and more enthusiastic. In just the same way that brands work hard to engage customers via social media using competitions and campaigns, why not borrow some of those ideas to keep your audiences engaged? Whether a quiz, photo-caption competition or face-swap wall, your social channels enable you to engage employees, too. 

Ideas and innovation

It’s often front-line employees – the ones that are dealing with real-world challenges every day – that are the best equipped to think creatively and generate ideas to solve problems. Harnessing the wisdom of the crowd to generate ideas is a key way for organisations to innovate from the ground up. 

Social technologies enable HR professionals to tap into such wisdom and real-world experience through ideas hubs – bringing people together to discuss and share problems and ideas, with the intent of finding practical solutions. It’s often the simplest of tweaks that can make all the difference, but if those ideas aren’t being shared, and there isn’t a forum to do so, they’re likely to get lost around the water cooler.

Michelle Carvill is author of Get Social: Social Media Strategy & Tactics for Leaders, published by Kogan Page

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