Imagine this scenario: you hear through the grapevine that one of your employees has a surprisingly large social media following. Like a lot of young people, they dedicate time and energy to take great photos for Instagram and writing funny jokes for Twitter. They have thousands of followers—more than your own restaurant, actually.
Ok, now tell us: does that make you nervous? Do you start to sweat a little?
What if they post something inappropriate? What if that reflects badly on your restaurant?
The truth is, you can’t control your employees on social media. That’s just a fact. Your employees are individual people and they are allowed to have social media accounts that share their opinions. If you don’t want them to mention your restaurant or indicate that they work at your restaurant, you need to make that clear to them.
( Click here to read our tips for handling employees on social media
But we want to present a counter argument: why not leverage your employees social media popularity? If they’re running a great Instagram account—such as a lifestyle brand dedicated to how they live, filming videos and taking fun pictures of them and their friends—that’s a perfect opportunity to use the fact that they’re your employee. It doesn’t have to be scary. Here’s our reasoning.
Your Employees Should Post About You
Firstly, we want to remind you about brand ambassadors. These are individuals who increase awareness about your brand, present a specific image, and are extremely passionate. Basically: they’re your number one fans.
Remember what we said about brand ambassadors being your employees? Yeah, you want your employees to be your number one fans.
( Click here to read our post about brand ambassadors
Secondly, you shouldn’t dissuade employees from posting about you on social media. Obviously, there are some caveats to this. If your employee has a questionable social media account that doesn’t mention their location or any specifics about their life, it isn’t a good fit. It is up to your employees to decide if they want to be part of your social media plan.
( Click here to read our post about social media policy
However, employees that run great accounts with large followings can be a great way to reach new customers and extend loyalty to your brand.
There are a few ways to go about this.
- Train employees to be responsible on social media. While social media is becoming more accepted, and people aren’t likely to be fired anymore for sharing their opinions on social media, there is still a line that can’t be crossed. If you feel an employee’s account is genuinely a bad fit, make that clear—and encourage them to clean it up for their future opportunities.
- Encourage posts in pre-shift meetings. Talk about your social media policy and how employees fits into it. Talk about brand ambassadors. Build trust among your employees so they aren’t just employees, but genuinely fans of your restaurant. Social media is about authenticity.
- Repost great photos and content from your employees.
- Pick a specific, unique hashtag for employees to use. We like this Hashtag Generator.
- Keep an eye on what employees are posting. If an employee doesn’t want to share their social media handles with you, that’s their right; they are under no obligation to involve you in their life, online or offline, outside the restaurant. But if employees do, keep an eye on things and talk to them privately if you are concerned.