No matter how great an actor you are, the people who interact with you can tell if you don’t like your job.
They can tell if you don’t like your clients, or your customers.
And it feels awful to interact with employees who hate their jobs.
It just sucks when you get a waiter who serves up a side of disdain with your cheeseburger. Or when you get a customer service rep on the phone who’d clearly rather be telling you where to stick it than listening to you explain what’s wrong with the your new gadget.
It’s definitely true in person. It’s true on the phone. And it’s true with employees on social media.
Social: The Future of Customer Communication
Even if your company doesn’t interact with clients much on social media right now, there’s a good chance people at all levels of your company will be communicating via social more in the future.
One IBM study from 2012 came to the conclusion that social media will be the number two customer interaction method within five years.
The growth in customer communication through employees on social media is real, whether or not you buy that particular projection. That’s why it’s a good idea to get into the habit now of having your employees share your content on social channels (as AT&T has been doing), and why it’s important to help them have an understanding of social customer service principles.
Your employees can be your most powerful brand ambassadors.
Education for Employees on Social Media
A study from the Altimeter group from late 2013 found that employee education on social media was one of the top three social media priorities listed (notably, right behind “create metrics that demonstrate the value of social media”). And 45 percent of companies surveyed in the same study said they planned to develop internal social media training.
Of course, plans and intentions don’t always translate into reality.
Even the curmudgeons out there (cough, Clay Morgan, cough) have to admit there’s something to this idea.
Social media is not just about your brand’s social media channel—it’s about your people.
In fact, depending on your business, your brand’s social channels may be among the least influential of your social media outlets.
Your CEO’s LinkedIn account or your number one sales person’s Facebook page may be more powerful than your company page.
Educate and Support
You need to ask what you’re doing to educate and support your employees on social media.
- Do people at all levels have a clear understanding of your brand positioning?
- Do they understand the importance of disclosure?
- Do they understand the ABCs of social media?
- Do they get the basics of online customer relations?
Because we can tell when we’re interacting with someone who doesn’t like their job, there is a danger. You need to have people on staff you can trust. You have to start with culture.
Here’s the beauty: We can also tell when we’re interacting with someone who legitimately likes what they do. Someone who believes in the mission at hand. Someone who’s on board and cares about the outcome.
That sincerity translates when you’re talking about employees on social media, too.