How to Get Employee Volunteers to Follow You On Social Media

From recruiting to coordinating to showcasing impact, social media and volunteer engagement are a great match – perhaps because both are inherently social in nature. In this special series of posts based on discussions held at our 2011 Client Summit, we’re exploring the intersection of social media and employee volunteering.

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Some of VolunteerMatch's Twitter followers. (Get your Twitter mosaic at

Whether you’re urging your employee volunteers to use major social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, or setting up your own internal network like Yammer or Jive, getting people to actually use these tools can often be a challenge. How do you get Twitter followers? Why isn’t anyone commenting on your last Facebook post?

In my experience as a social media manager, there are two golden rules for building a following and getting participation in your social media channels:

Your hub for social media questions: Join the “Social Media and Employee Volunteering” discussion on LinkedIn.

1. Integrate

Social media should be easily and quickly accessible for your employees. At the very least, put links up on your employee volunteering intranet pages. But consider going a bit further – perhaps you can include links in your confirmation emails for volunteer events.

If you’re using Facebook and/or Twitter, using tools like the Facebook Like Button and the Tweet Button to enable employees to share their activities automatically has a big impact. The more places employees see the social media options, the more likely they’ll be to click and start using.

2. Incentivize

Sometimes people need an extra ‘push’ to participate. Providing incentives for participation in social media is a great way to build a user base. For example, run a contest to see which employee posts the best pictures from your volunteer event. Have everyone vote, and award the winner with a gift card or some other exciting prize.

By providing similar incentives a couple times each year or so, your employees will stay engaged in social media and be more excited to participate in your volunteer program.

This is Just the Beginning

This is a high-level overview of the complexities involved with getting your employee volunteers to participate in your social media initiatives. Once you master the “Integrate” and “Incentivize” steps, issues will crop up that are more specific to your unique situation, such as “What if my employees are saying negative things?” or “What if my employees break off and start their own social media groups?” or “What if my CEO is disguising himself as an entry level associate and stirring up trouble in my Yammer feed?”

Dealing with issues that may arise, and finding the more advanced and specific ways that your employee volunteers will respond to social media encouragement, will take time and testing. Here are some great resources to learn more about ways you can urge your employees to participate in social media:

And if you have stories and tips about your experiences, please share them in the comments below!

(Click here to read more articles in the “Social Media & Employee Volunteering” series.)

Your New Hub for Social Media Questions

Has this series created more questions for you? Do you have a specific question you want help with? Do you have a story or best practice to share?

Contribute to the new “Social Media and Employee Volunteering” discussion in our LinkedIn Group. Here are the steps to take to join in:

  1. Go to the VolunteerMatch Linkedin Group.
  2. Join if you’re not already a member.
  3. Once a member, click “More” in the navigation menu under our logo, and choose “Subgroups.”
  4. Join “VolunteerMatch Solutions.”
  5. Navigate to the discussion “Social Media and Employee Volunteering,” browse what’s been asked and answered, and contribute your own thoughts.

See you there!

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