Social media has taken the marketing industry by storm and companies large and small are leveraging “social” to drive core business objectives.

Consider just a few of the many reasons why. According to CMO, 54 percent of B2B marketers said they have generated leads from social media. What’s more, social media influences 93 percent of shoppers’ buying decisions, #Socialnomics 2014 reveals. It’s no wonder, then, why DashBurts reports 78 percent of companies have a dedicated social media team.

With these and many other statistics in mind, the big question for most companies is no longer whether to engage in social media but how to get employees more involved. From sales and marketing to customer relationship management to branding initiatives, employees can help you drive more awareness—and more profits—to your bottom line through social media.

Encouraging Employees to Go Social

Ingrid Kibler, Social Media Supervisor at HCK2 Partners, a marketing communications firm in Addison, Texas, has worked with global brands and small- to mid-sized businesses alike on the social media front.

According to Kibler, there are several key ways for brands to encourage employees to participate in social media, such as gamification, internal education, and giving employees a way to contribute content.

“It’s important to encourage employee participation because they know the company inside and out, and will serve as the best ambassadors for the brand,” Kibler says.

“What employees should do the on social media front for brand building may vary depending on the company,” she continues, “but a few guidelines apply across the board, such as having a strong professional presence online, sharing the brand’s content via their social networks where appropriate, and reaching audiences that the company cannot reach as a brand, such as LinkedIn groups.”

Some Practical Measures

Kevin Nolan saw success getting employees engaged in social media in three ways during his tenure as the Americas Marketing director at Teleperformance, a leading global outsourcing company that offers customers multichannel experiences. The company has call centers in 13 countries, including eight centers in the U.S.

“I developed a social media policy that encouraged the call center directors in the U.S. to use Facebook to reinforce our message as a great place to work and a job creator in the community,” says Nolan, who is now an account manager at Cooksey Communications, a Dallas/Fort-Worth-based strategic communications and consulting firm. “I would even create ‘public’ versions of internal announcements to protect clients' non-disclosure agreements. Facebook was an essential channel in publicizing job fairs.”

Using e-mail signatures that contain social media links is a simple task every employee can and should do. Social media buttons or links at the end of your signature helps inform customers and partners that you can be reached at different places online, such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

“Everyone has an e-mail address, so I created some icons with the Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn URLs embedded in them,” Nolan says. “All they had to do was copy and paste. Soon every recipient of their e-mail—clients, prospects, community members, et cetera—was visiting our social media sites.”

Go Big on Blogging

Getting employees engaged in blogging is more important than you may think. The discipline of blogging can help employees fine tune sales presentations and general communication skills. Blogging can also unlock teaching that benefits the workplace.

Blogging has long been a staple of social media and although companies don’t want to let any and every employee blog publicly, internal blogs can influence a culture of learning. And subject matter experts within your ranks should put digital ink to digital paper to position your firm as a knowledgeable source in its space. Of course, it also helps with search engine optimization efforts. Here’s a few quick tips to encourage blogging: Give employees a template to work from, let them write about what interests them most and offer a list of topics to get the ball rolling.

“Our company had subject matter experts in key vertical markets—healthcare, banking & financial services, tech support, and travel & hospitality,” Nolan says. “Although these experts were quite knowledgeable in their respective fields, they struggled with writing. So I scheduled quick phone calls to discuss trends in their industry, their views on issues, et cetera. From these discussions I ghost-wrote their blogs and posted them on the company's public website, Twitter, and LinkedIn profile.”

With Facebook, Twitter and other social networks launching huge IPOs and offering shares in their company to the public, and subsequently those shares setting records in price and size, social media has earned its place in business as well as a communication channel. While you focus on getting customers, partners, and other businesses to your page, remember that Davinci also offers great services to help your company keep up with the influx in queries, we have everything from live receptionists to take your companies calls, to live chat service to take inbound chat requests. So do not hesitate any longer, and let your businesses social media strategy go wild on the world.