This week thousands of workplace leaders gathered in San Diego for IFMA's annual World Workplace conference. It was a jam-packed few days full of inspiration, education and collaboration for the greater good for the FM industry. This year's theme was "The FM Story is Ours to Share", fitting since storytelling has long been part of our society's culture, and part of World Workplace's goal is to spread awareness of the industry. Storytelling is how we connect to other beings, how we learn, warn and often how we relate to other people. Sharing stories may begin at childhood, but it never truly stops. Social media is continued proof that people actually seek out the experiences of others, and they want to know more about the people around them. Social is the perfect opportunity to share your workplace's story with the world, and you can tell it the way you want it to be told.
Your workplace has personality, just like your coworkers, your children and even your dog. Personality isn't often described as good or bad, but it varies widely between people, places and things. Someone's personality is usually how we decide if we like a person or not, and if we want to spend more time with them. The same can be said for businesses and workplaces. Your workplace personality is going to make an impression on someone's perception of you and your company, and this emotional connection, whether positive or negative, can be difficult to reverse. Certain office cultures are going to appeal to certain people, and others are not, but you do have a say in the type of story your office shares with others. Here are some steps you can take to tell the most captivating story you can about your workplace through social media.
Chapter 1: Show Don't Tell
We'll spare you the cliche, thousand words quote, but you know powerful imagery can often be the turning point when trying to tell a convincing story where words leave off. Look at the most successful social networks, as different as they all are, what is the one thing they have in common? You can add pictures to your posts. This is because it's been proven time and time again that pictures help people grasp an idea faster and more completely than words alone. So what types of images exactly are you supposed to be sharing? Those that explain who your company is and highlight your culture.
Here are a few ideas to get your started:
- Photos of office renovations
- Pictures from workplace events or parties
- Office volunteer opportunities
- Employee or office achievements
- Introduce new team members
- Visitors to your workplace (kids, customers, dogs)
- Open positions in your company
Chapter 2: Gather Your Best Characters
The most memorable stories are told with enthusiasm, and often include variations in pitch and tone to add interesting depth to the characters and plot line. While your main "narrator" voice should remain consistent, it's always a good idea to introduce a few new characters to the mix.
Where can you find these characters? Hint: they're sitting in your office. Encourage your employees to post about your workplace on social. Have them interact with the content you post, share the latest position opening or simply share photos from the last office potluck. It's best to let them go about this at their own pace, but having a few genuine posts from current employees sprinkled throughout your own social strategy about why they love working for your company shows you practice what you preach.
Chapter 3: Highlight Important Paragraphs
There will be parts of your story that will be more important than others. Maybe it's a shift in the "plot" like an office move or perhaps when a new "character" is introduced when someone is hired to your team. These are the moments that really need to shine, and deserve at least a solid post on your social media pages. Your workforce is not only what makes your company successful, but it's what makes your workplace memorable and relatable. So when thinking of areas to highlight, try to select the events that impact them the most.
Your attention to your employees will be clear to them and the other audiences you are trying to reach. Telling your story is just as much for those on the outside as it is for those on the inside. Social can be used to foster community and engagement within your employees if done correctly. When selecting moments to share, be sure to include ones they would want to relive, and people on the outside would want to be a part of.
Chapter 4: Match Branding to Your Cover
Think of the "cover" of your story as your company's mission statement, where you are and where you've been and what you as an organization hope to achieve. Your social media posts should fit under this umbrella so people will have no trouble associating the two together. Each social channel is different, with it's own audience and aesthetic, but overall each of your pages should have an main theme that connects them to one another. The content of your story should periodically relate back to your company's mission statement, so everything comes full circle. Be sure to keep in mind what you're hoping to share through your posts. Are you trying to tell potential employees why they should work at your company? Do you want current customers to know what new features you're working on? Define your goal and your content ideas will have a much better sense of direction.
The method in which we tell stories will continue to change as technology advances, but their place in our lives doesn't. When used properly, social media can be a powerful platform in which companies use to tell their story the way they want it told. Remember to define your voice to fit your company culture and help others see what you see when you come to work everyday. We promise, it's definitely a story worth being told.