Benefits

The 5 Best Social Media Tools For Employee Benefits Communication

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We’re glad to see more companies are starting to use social media! But we’re still surprised by how many don’t think it’s possible or are worried about non-existent privacy concerns.

Companies that aren’t using social media are missing out on an easy and free way to communicate with employees year round.

If you’ve seen our Three Steps to Success, you know that reminding employees about benefits once a year is not enough to get employees actively engaged in decisions about their health and finances. The key to doing this is breaking information into bite-sized chunks and using the right tools — social media is perfect for simple, conversational ongoing communication.

Which is why we’d like to remind you to take advantage of our Social Media Poster and the five tools we recommend for benefits communication.

Blogs

Blogs are a simple and easy way to create web content and self-publish. They also give readers the opportunity to respond with comments and have a dialog with the author.

How to use it for benefits:

  • Leadership communication (send out messages from the CEO in a blog format so employees can respond — make sure to address the comments!).
  • News and updates — almost anything can be communicated in a blog format, giving readers a chance to give instant feedback.
  • Public recognition and employee-driven recognition — let employees recognize each other’s accomplishments or add kudos to an official recognition.

Microblogs

Twitter, Yammer and others are examples of “microblogs.” Microblogs like Twitter let you post only a short update at a time and provide you with more interactivity than a traditional blog.

How to use it for benefits:

  • Send out frequent bits of helpful information and reminders.
  • Pull your Twitter feed into your benefits website or intranet for a free and easy way to keep those sites fresh.
  • Engage with employees — answer their questions, ask for their opinions, etc.
  • Use Benz Communications’ @BenefitsTip to help you with content and ideas for your Twitter stream — it’s our stream of benefits tweets that can be easily re-tweeted or copied or re-purposed for employee benefits tweets.

Podcasts

Online downloadable audio and video clips. Play them on your computer or drop them on your iPod to take home with you.

How to use it for benefits:

  • Post a short video of CEO or leadership speaking about a new program.
  • Quick monthly updates from leadership (cover business results, comp and bonuses, upcoming performance reviews).
  • Create podcasts of enrollment meetings or new hire orientation (especially helpful for remote employees who may not have the opportunity to attend an in-person meeting).
  • 401(k) basics podcast series to get the basics of your plan (even better if you team it with an online forum for when employees have questions!).
  • Create a contest for the best two (2) minute video about a key topic — health care, wellness, 401(k) investing — hearing the message from other employees will encourage yours to act.

Social Networks

Facebook, LinkedIn and many other social networks connect individuals around interests and activities. Whether personal or professional, they are incredibly powerful tools for distributing information and ideas.

How to use it for benefits:

  • Add profiles to your intranet so employees can post a photo, some of their interests outside of work and what they are working on — tremendously helpful for geographically dispersed teams
  • Network employees who are hired in the same month — let them go through orientation together, even virtually, and share their experiences
  • Create a Facebook group for wellness events (especially if you’re doing a lot of online classes or events — get families to join too for frequent updates and information!)

User forums

User forums are moderated online discussions focused around a certain topic.

How to use it for benefits:

  • Encourage employees (and your benefits team) to swap ideas and answer each other’s questions about how to get the most out of your programs.
  • Structure your forum by benefit plan so information is easy to find.

Be sure to download our free Social Media Poster for more tips and tricks.

Speaking of free resources, we’ve been getting great responses to our Inside Benefits Communication Survey! We’d love your input, so if you haven’t already, take the survey! Ten minutes is all you need. We can’t wait to share all the useful data and info with you.

Ready to take your employee benefits communication to the next level? Check out our Social Media Starter Kit. It’s the definitive  how-to guide for benefits communication. You’ll get 43 pages of content and over 50 tips.

Jennifer Benz is Chief Strategist and Founder of Benz Communications, a San Francisco-based consultancy that focuses on custom, comprehensive benefits and HR communications services. Jen is an active member of the Council for Communication Management, the International Association of Business Communicators, the Northern California Human Resources Association and Women in Consulting. Contact her at jen@benzcommunications.com.
  • The Spencer James Group

    Interesting use for social media, thanks for sharing!