Social Media is one of the fastest growing marketing segments our economy has ever encountered. The industry reaches new depths of innovation on a daily basis, and as a result, it’s critical to stay ahead of emerging trends and continuously expand our knowledge of the factors influencing those trends.

Providing dynamic resources to fill this need has always been a priority for Sprout Social & Bambu, so in order to hold ourselves accountable to this standard (and to each of you), we decided to try something a little different this year.

Enter: Sprout Sessions.

In collaboration with experts from all walks of social media, marketing and business, we hosted Sprout Sessions: Summer Social 2017 – a  series of 10 web-based sessions over 5 days focused on helping brands elevate their social strategy and authority. Many of the topics we tackled put a spotlight on employee advocacy and engagement, and here’s a sneak peak at what we learned.

P.S. Check out the full round-up of takeaways below, including each session’s recording so you can get the full experience!

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10 Takeaways From Sprout Sessions 2017 With Tactical Steps for Implementation

Download our full guide featuring tactical takeaways from all 10 presentations at Sprout Sessions, along with video recordings to each!

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Aligning and Amplifying Content Across A Global Workforce

Monica Norton & Alison Massie | Zendesk

Employees are connected to 10x more people than their employer’s brand on social media. By activating employees as brand advocates and empowering them to share brand messaging on social, employers can harness the collective power of their team to amplify their message and more effectively reach key audiences.

We know that employee advocacy and engagement are two extremely important components to a happy, productive workforce. However, for those who have yet establish this type of program, it can appear as an overwhelming task to tackle.

This is where a simple shift in mindset can make all the difference.

Tactics to Try Today

  • Start With a Strong Foundation

Employers looking to grow advocacy from the ground up have the opportunity to do so manageably and on a strong foundation built to scale. Start by identifying who your internal advocates might be, and outline available resources that will empower them to take action. From there, you can further develop and refine each area on a cadence that best matches your team’s growth.

  • Understand the Full Range of Potential Benefits

Employee advocacy programs are becoming an increasingly effective way for organizations to identify and connect with influential groups in their workforce. Employers who keep a pulse on this component often have an easier time cultivating engagement and productivity among employees, not to mention increased brand awareness and ultimately, improvement on the bottom line.

Developing & Implementing Social Guidelines That Liberate–Not Confine–Your Brand

Katy Gelhausen | Tito’s

When working within the confines of a regulated industry, develop brand guidelines that speak to who the brand is. Focus on content that captures a more broad, aspirational theme. Aspirational content is key to a progressive and engaging presence on social.

If you set the stage for your team to view industry regulations as a guide for the development of your brand and amplification, you’ll create a strategy set up for success and growth. There are endless ways for brands to creatively thrive while still staying compliant, it just requires the right mindset paired with a tactical approach.

Tactics to Try Today

  • Don’t Let Complexity Consume Your Strategy

Develop a social strategy that incorporates a progressive take on engaging your social team to see guidelines as a framework, not a barrier. Being creative and curating content that inspires isn’t always easy in regulated industries – but this doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

Compliance may add a layer of complexity, however you can help your team navigate the ins and outs of working within those confines. For example, think about conducting routine brainstorms with your whole team to enhance your storytelling strategy with your internal guidelines in mind.

  • Define Success Ahead of Time

Measurement can often be impacted when it comes to success on social in a restricted industry. In this case, it’s important to define what success looks like for the brand. In other words, it may be more of a focus to find the “right” engagements as opposed to fast, ongoing engagement. Knowing what success is for your brand and communicating it effectively will help you level set expectations while avoiding shortcomings when it comes to presenting metrics.

  • Create Brand Guidelines That Enable Instead of Suffocate

Brand guidelines shouldn’t feel restrictive. Almost all brands have guidelines for their presence and engagement on social, so being in a regulated industry shouldn’t make the pressure feel insurmountable. Brands with guidelines simply need a different approach. Try to focus on who you are as a brand, what your customers are up to, and take advantage of your strengths.

Turning Your Social Media Policy From a Liability to an Advantage

Greg Tirico | Bambu by Sprout Social

47% of employees are already using social networks to connect with customers. Social media provides an incredible opportunity to foster brand awareness and employee engagement—regulatory standards don’t have to impede on an employers ability to take advantage of these components, it simply requires a different approach and viewpoint when it comes to social media policies.

Tactics to Try Today

  • Be Proactive

Your employees are already having conversations on social media, so by proactively addressing this through education on best practices or industry regulations, you’re able to mitigate issues before they even have a chance to surface.

Corporate social media policies, while necessary for many businesses, can come across as dry and aren’t as frequently utilized as they’re intended to be. Additionally, if implemented incorrectly, they can leave employees feeling discouraged or uncertain about sharing company content on social.

  • Use Policies to Embrace Social Media

Using policies to deter employees from being active on social is a dangerous place for companies to find themselves—social media should be embraced at all levels of any organization. Employers (especially those navigating compliance and regulatory challenges) need to shift their mindset from associating social media policies with prohibiting employees, and instead adopt them as an opportunity to enable employees with clear guidelines, message consistency and credibility.

  • Develop a Strategy

In order to gain as much value as possible from social media and your policies, you need to first and foremost develop a strategy. How do you want employees speaking about your brand? What messaging is off limits? What regulations should they need to be aware of? However detailed, your policy needs to be clearly communicated and available to your workforce for reference at any time.

Put simply, employees want to help spread your message to as many people as possible—it’s up to you to make sure they’re given the resources to do this responsibly.

Dive into the rest of the rest of the presentations from Sprout Sessions 2017 and uncover takeaways that might be just what you needed to take your social media program to the next level.