A Significant Opportunity on Social

As marketing teams look to increase the reach of their social media efforts, they’re dropping millions into boosted posts, influencer programs and ad campaigns. However, a highly engaged and largely untapped market is waiting for them: their own employees.

Bambu by Sprout Social conducted a survey to better understand how employees are using social media at work, their roadblocks for sharing branded content and employee advocacy opportunities for the marketing department.

From Working to Networking

Social media permeates every aspect of our world and nearly 7 in 10 people check social networks while they’re at work.

While 18% of people admit to using social for less than 15 minutes a day at work, nearly 20% say they spend more than an hour on social media every day and 10% say that time exceeds two hours.

Graph Daily Time On Social

Digging a little deeper, we surveyed people and asked when they find the time to scour social media. While about 40% said during lunch and intermittently throughout the day respectively, a surprisingly large 11% of people said during bathroom breaks.

Graph When Employees Use Social

But a change of perception—driven by your marketing team—to actually embrace this typical time on social can make some real impact on your brand’s bottom line.

Strategy Suggestion

Employees are going to use social media while they’re at work, whether you like it or not. Instead of fighting it, harness that time spent and encourage behaviors that benefit your brand. Urge your team to spend that time cultivating a personal brand with company news, product updates and thoughtful third-party content. While doing this, make sure you’re communicating what's in it for them: how positioning themselves as an expert can benefit their individual sales goals, opportunity for career advancement and position within the marketplace.

The Cost of Unused Efforts

Carving out allotted time and appealing to your employee’s use of social is, quite simply, a smart strategy. While two hours may be a little much, companies can and should encourage their employees to spend a sensible amount of time on social to advocate for their brand by sharing company news and information via their personal profiles. If marketing departments recognize and harness their employee’s time already spent on social, they’ll reap the benefits of increased reach and improved impact for their initiatives.

Unfortunately, nearly 60% of people aren’t given ample guidance from their marketing department on how and when to advocate for their brand and more than half of people actually feel discouraged to use social media at work.

Furthermore, 52% don’t think that the marketing team makes it easy for them to advocate for the company on social media.

Graph Advocacy Training

This lack of guidance and support to employees erases an ongoing opportunity to improve the reach and efficiency of a brand’s marketing efforts. Employees act as a personal face of a brand’s messages; therefore, their posts are more likely to be read and the chance that your intended brand message will resonate is greater. In fact, people are 16x more likely to read a social media post from a friend than from a brand.

True, some people would ignore their friend’s social post (20%), but an even greater 36% would ignore a brand’s social post. Additionally, 81% of people said that they would rather see a friend’s social post rather than a brand’s.

Graph Friends Vs Brands

Strategy Suggestion

So what does this all mean for your brand? Instead of fighting social media use or regulating it to bathroom breaks, use that time to your advantage. Provide your employees with an easy way to digest and share company content. Curate a robust and targeted stream of content for your employes–one that includes a mix of company content, third-party thought leadership and interesting materials for your employees. By doing so, you’ll not only ensure a more engaged staff, you’ll boost the power and efficiency of your marketing efforts.

About the Data

This survey was conducted by Survata, an independent research firm in San Francisco. Survata interviewed 1000 online respondents between July 21, 2016 and July 23, 2016. Respondents were reached across the Survata publisher network, where they take a survey to unlock premium content, like articles and ebooks. Respondents received no cash compensation for their participation. More information on Survata's methodology can be found at survata.com/methodology.