With all the restrictions on in-person gathering imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations of all kinds—businesses, non-profits, professional associations, schools and colleges—recognize how critical it is to make sure they have a compelling and engaging presence on social media to supplement what would have been in-person networking or fundraising events.
All too often, however, “doing more social media” is a phrase everyone across an organization believes in conceptually, but rarely do enough people step up to own the responsibility personally.
One of the best practices Denterlein has seen as a solution to this challenge is the designation of Social Media Ambassadors inside businesses: Staff members who are recruited, or volunteer, to make sure good intentions around social media get translated into a steady string of tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn posts and videos, Instagram images, and more.
Often Social Media Ambassadors come from the communications or marketing departments, but strong and effective ambassadors can come from any part of your organization if they have the talent and the commitment. If you have people in accounting or operations who have a great flair for social media photography, or a warm and engaging voice for social media posts, by all means, designate them to serve among your ambassadors.
Social Media Ambassadors add a huge benefit to your organization as the point-person for broadcasting your mission, goals, and activities; reinforcing your brand to external audiences; and fostering a positive company culture. Some key considerations when selecting a Social Media Ambassador:
Identify employees who could serve as ambassadors to generate excitement about new benefits or initiatives, upcoming events, and the overall culture. Be sure to train and vet them carefully.
- Employees will benefit from a small training session on “How to serve as Social Media Ambassadors,’’ where they will learn the tactics of staying on-brand and on-message, avoiding inappropriate posts, and navigating away from the occasional critic or troll. Making sure ambassadors’ personal social media habits do not distract or detract from organization communications is a critical consideration. As Social Media Ambassadors complete this training session and begin to prove themselves, empower them to feel a true sense of ownership of your organization’s social media activities. We have seen that when ambassadors feel they are valuable and trusted, their posts and engagements appear more authentic and drive vastly better engagement than anonymous messages from a corporate or organizational social account.
Know what messages you want your ambassadors to deliver, and how, before you send them forth.
- What platforms would best communicate your messaging? And how will ambassadors best promote and reinforce your desired branding? Who are the key people they must collaborate with internally to get the platforms and messaging exactly right? It is essential to highlight that every post contributes to your organization’s public image and must accurately broadcast the story and commitment to the mission you are trying to convey. Setting clear guidelines on what is expected from social media, including do’s and don’ts, is one best practice. Depending on how large your organization is, having multiple people from multiple levels engaged in social media helps reinforce accountability and quality control for posts.
Social Media Ambassadors will juggle many different responsibilities and play a huge role in your organization’s overall communications strategy.
- Although social media may only be a small branch of an overall communications strategy, Social Media Ambassadors will wear multiple hats as they grow into their roles. They will organize and execute small and large campaigns, develop on-brand content for the organization’s platforms, and share and engage with industry-relevant news items. They will be photographers and videographers making sure key moments and stories within the organization are captured and told. Furthermore, they will make sure that employees participate in surveys, share content from their own social media accounts, and generally support the organization’s social media goals. Ambassadorship can achieve a more authentic and engaging social presence than posts emanating from a corporate or organizational account because, at their best, they reflect real people talking to real people about real people: What team members are doing every day and why they believe their work is important. They might not be the face of the company, but they can be ambassadors that welcome others into your company culture.
Good social media content that consistently reinforces your brand and mission does not happen on its own, especially when you’re not a big enough organization to have a full-time social media manager or staff. When you pick the right team members to serve as your designated Social Media Ambassadors and train them to feel empowered with the responsibility, organizations can take a giant step towards creating a social media presence that showcases your mission and impact, and connects you with new customers, supporters, and partners.
By Anna Grady