Social media use among your employees can be a time suck or it can supercharge your advocacy and branding efforts, depending on your approach.

Most employees say they use social media at work, despite employers’ efforts to discourage them. We know employees are already on social media, so why not engage them as brand ambassadors?

Companies spend lots of time and money on marketing directed toward people outside the organization, but they often ignore the advocates in their backyard. Every employee can be equipped to be a powerful steward of the organization and its advocacy initiatives.

Employees can be your proudest, loudest and most knowledge champions. They know the benefits of your products and services. They know how an issue is going to affect them, their families and their communities. They know your story.

employees social media use

Employees bring a unique combination of expertise and authenticity to advocacy. They can be your most successful communicators if you empower them with your message and tools for sharing it.

Here are some suggestions for getting started:

Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.

Internal communications is simply having a continuous process in place to ensure your employees understand the why and who behind your business proposition.

Your employees know their role in your organization, but they don’t know the big picture unless you engage them in open dialogue. Employees are busy doing what you hired them to do. You must make it easy for them to know your company’s goals and values.

You must educate, empower and excite your employees as brand ambassadors. How? By being genuine about the why of your advocacy efforts, by bringing employees into the creative process and by genuinely listening to and acting upon feedback.

Investing in employee well-being is also critical. A little goes a long way when it comes to showing your employees they’re appreciated. When you invest in employees as internal stakeholders in a big way, they will be more engaged in championing your brand.

Loosen the reins.

Many organizations are intimidated by the idea of trusting their employees to share on social media. Don’t be. If you’re not investing in your employees as brand advocates, you’re missing a great opportunity.

The reality is that others are already talking about your company or brand on social media. Employees can help you amplify your voice. Embracing opportunities to engage others in talking about your brand helps you build lasting relationships with your audience.

You must, of course, communicate guidelines and expectations to your employees, but foster, don’t fear, the use of social media.

Make sharing easy.

Make it as easy as possible for employees to share your brand or advocacy message. Ideas include “share” buttons on web sites, issuing internal calls to action, supplying employees with messaging and graphics, and encouraging employees to be actively involved as the “faces” of the company.

There is a tremendous amount of opportunity for companies to engage in internal advocacy – starting with the employees who keep their organizations running every day.

Employees are too often an untapped resource. Start thinking today about how you can engage your employees, and let me know how I can help.

Karen B. Moore is founder and CEO of Moore Communications Group and author of “Behind the Red Door: Unlock Your Advocacy Influence and Success.”