How to Use Social Media for Benefits Communication

Posted December 28, 2016

Social media is a great tool for interacting with your customers, but it’s also valuable as an employee communication platform. Using social media for benefits communication provides a quick and easy way for employees to learn more about their benefits.

The key is having a plan. “When communicating about benefits, HR teams and benefits professionals should think like marketers,” says Ryan Glushkoff, senior director of marketing at PlanSource, a benefits and HR technology company. “That means developing well-thought-out campaigns using multiple communications channels: emails, live meetings, text messages, posters, carrier pigeons, skywriting; anything and everything that might get employees’ attention. And that of course includes social media.”

Here are some tips for getting it right.

Pick the Right Channels

Familiarize yourself with the different social media channels to help you clarify which platform is best for which message.

“There is no need to reinvent the wheel — the vast majority of employees today are already on Facebook and many regularly use Twitter and Instagram, so those are good places to start,” Glushkoff says.

You can create groups accessible only by employees to protect privacy.

“I recommend that my clients create an employee-facing page on Instagram,” says Tina Hawkins, founder of Yarber Creative, which helps companies use technology to communicate with employees.

She says it’s a useful platform for sharing photos of employees enrolling in, learning about or enjoying their benefits. Hawkins recommends featuring photos from as many worksites as possible.

Allie Mason, the social media manager for Employee Benefit Services of Maryland, an employee benefits brokerage, says she likes to use a combination of Facebook and LinkedIn. Facebook is good for general health ideas such as posts about exercise, while LinkedIn is more for targeted messages such as the importance of reviewing company benefits, she says.

Develop a Content Calendar

Tweets and Facebook posts might not take that long to write, but without an editorial calendar your messages are likely to be all over the place. Managing your social media postings through a monthly or weekly calendar will help add value by keeping your messages timely and relevant to your audience.

Mason says having a content calendar is the most important thing for using social media for benefits communication. It helps you peg content to events and holidays, and gives you a place to keep reminders about upcoming benefits deadlines.

“There is nothing harder than a blank sheet in front of you,” she says. “The hardest thing is coming up with content that works well with our audience, so the best thing to do is to think about our audience and think about certain pain points in their lives that all lead back to employee benefits.”

Don’t Forget About Visuals

Social media is all about optics. No matter the platform, people are more likely to pay attention to your content if you have a photo or illustration with it. Include visual features in your benefits communications on social media.

Visuals could include photos of employees reading their benefits materials or versions of the enrollment materials, Hawkins says. In the text accompanying visuals, share information that promotes the value of the employee benefits offered.

Measure and Respond

As with all marketing efforts, measuring your campaigns and responding to what works will help you succeed over time. Use social media analytics to determine what works and what doesn’t.

“Pay attention to what posts resonate well among your followers and go with that,” Mason says. “If industry articles and helpful tips work, post engaging articles that your followers will stop what they are doing and read. Come up with thought-provoking questions to grab their attention and draw them in. Just posting an article won’t be as beneficial as an article with a catchy caption.”

Mary Ellen Slayter is CEO and Founder of Reputation Capital Media Services. She has more than 15 years of experience writing about HR and financial services as a journalist and marketer. Any opinions expressed within this document are solely the opinion of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of Ebix or its personnel.