Social media might conjure thoughts of hip, young influencers running an Instagram account for fashion brands.
GE Power recently showed how an industrial company can obtain strong results by letting employees control its social media accounts.
The company temporarily replaced its name on its social media profiles with the employees’ names and faces, and four GE Power employees temporarily took over and “owned” the company’s Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn profiles. The employees—three engineers and a welder—took turns giving behind-the-scenes insights into how the company builds, tests and repairs its gas turbines.
The takeovers drove the most positive engagement for GE since 2017, Adweek reports. It reached second place on LinkedIn’s weekly top performers list in the business, industrial and manufacturing category that week, and it achieved a 1.9% click-through rate, Adweek reports.
Eighty percent of the comments across all platforms were positive, with the largest number coming on Facebook, followed by LinkedIn and Instagram. GE Healthcare, GE Renewable Energy and GE Aviation will schedule their own employee takeovers of social media accounts later in the year.
“We knew we had a particular challenge to humanize GE in a way that we’ve never done before,” GE director of brand marketing Lindsay Stein said in an email to Adweek. “The creative speaks to that—the need to be transparent and to shine a light on the people who continue to drive this company forward.”
Marketing experts agree that social media takeovers can boost engagement, attract more followers and put a human face on an otherwise faceless corporation. To complete a successful takeover, follow these steps:
- Set goals. Align your objectives with your organization’s business goals, and select metrics that track those goals. Follow the SMART approach: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.
- Choose employees carefully.Look for proven advocates of the company and its products. They should also be well-spoken with good conversational and writing skills. It is almost always best to select employees who do not have management responsibilities in the organization. Among those to consider are willing and enthusiastic employees with their own active and interesting social media accounts.
- Set expectations. Determine how long the takeover will last, how many posts it will entail, and what topics will be covered. Provide the company’s social media policies and any do’s and don’ts, such as rules on profanity. However, be careful about setting overly strict limitations. The point is to feature a person’s voice and perhaps their own content, digital strategist Jenn Chen writes for SproutSocial. Tight oversight may ultimately produce content that sounds like corporate marketing copy and defeat the purpose of the employee takeover.
- Grant control. The need to release passwords varies by platform. Facebook allows administrators to assign editor or moderator roles to others; Instagram does not. The degree of takeover control also varies. In a limited takeover, the employee or outside influencer might only supplement the content. In a full takeover, the social media manager releases the password. They may feel more authentic but pose greater risks, although some say companies should trust their own employees. Consider a secure way to transfer your password such as One-Time Secret. “It’ll be great to change your password after each takeover as an additional security measure, too,” says Alfred Lua at Buffer.
- Promote the takeover. Announce your plans on the network and other social media networks, as well as through owned media such as the company blog and newsletter. “People who follow your company on Twitter, Facebook, or Snapchat might not follow your company on Instagram. Cross-promotion keeps all your followers in the loop,” Lua says.
- Review performance. Examine follower growth, engagement rates, views, click-through-rates and other metrics in social platforms’ native analytics and website analytics. A subscription social media analytics servicewill provide a more detailed and comprehensive view by combining data from all media into a single dashboard.
A version of this post first appeared on the Glean.info blog.