Last year, Sabre's Young Professionals Council launched a social media employee activation program.
The employee resource group works on projects like helping high-school girls learn to code and creating employee-to-employee mentorships. With this program, however, Senior Digital Content Strategist Kevin Carrillo says they were looking to bridge a communications gap with social, starting with Sabre's senior-level management and higher.
“We were looking for that trickle-down effect in terms of awareness, website traffic, and influence,” Kevin says.
Now the program has expanded to include the rest of the enterprise, including their offices in Uruguay, India, and Poland.
To roll it out, they targeted a pilot group, launched a first round, went global, and created an online training module.
The social media activation program is a great way to empower employees to build on their personal brand.
Kevin says they started with a pilot group of subject matter experts and employees who were already active in social media. Then, after getting positive feedback from the pilot and first round of training at their headquarters, they rolled it out to their global offices.
Kevin's team partnered with Sabre's online training and development team to create a training video in-house. That way, employees could complete the training on their own. And for their offices in Uruguay, India, and Poland, they hosted live-stream video sessions to walk through the training and answer questions in real time.
The 25-minute training video includes the basics of social media engagement, a deep dive into Twitter and LinkedIn, and content marketing 101.
“The purpose of the program is to show that social media is not it's own entity. Social media is just a newer form of communications — a new channel to deliver content,” Kevin says.
So the training program starts with what that means on an individual level and a BtoB level for brands. Then, it outlines how employees can gain influence on specific platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter. From there, they cover the importance of delivering the right content to the right audience.
The program focused on two types of employee participation: sharing curated content and creating original content.
Social media is just a newer form of communications — a new channel to deliver content.
Kevin explains, “There was a need for both activities in content marketing, because when we're onboarding employees there are some who are ready to get out there and blog for Sabre.com, and some wanted to start a little slower.”
Some employees were ready to actively create content and shed light on their areas of expertise. Others just needed help creating a social presence and optimizing their existing social profiles.
Kevin's team helped by giving them suggested Twitter handles to follow, companies to follow on LinkedIn, and other content related to the company and the industry. The goal was to help employees become comfortable first by listening to the conversations already that were happening.
“The social media activation program is a great way to empower employees to build on their personal brand.”
For example, Kevin says one product engineer for Tripcase, Ken Tabor, started as a subject matter expert they onboarded with the program. Since then, Ken's visibility and influence has grown by the day. He's given several talks now on behalf of Sabre and held a workshop at this year's SXSW.
Kevin says that with close to 200 employees certified through the program, he considers it a success to see employees becoming active brand advocates.
“Each week I'll get an email that says, ‘Hey somebody retweeted me,' or ‘Someone favorited my tweet,' or ‘Someone commented on a blog I wrote' — that, to me, is encouraging.”
Follow Kevin on Twitter and ask about his favorite MMA fighter to watch. Kevin's been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2014.