You may or may not realize it, but half of your employees have likely mentioned your company, policies, products or other employees in some form of social post, unsolicited.
According to Weber Shandwick, 98% of employees use at least one social media site for personal use, of which 50% are already posting about their company.
Your company’s employees are the face of the brand and their social reach is important for their own personal brands, but your organizations brand too. Many companies are open to employees being active on social media or have adopted an employee advocacy program to make that process easier.
But, it’s not as simple as throwing some content together and hoping employees blindly share content. You need the right kind of content that is worthy of sharing and a way to make the process simple.
The simple answer to this question is that employees want to share content that is personally relevant to their interests, values, and career aspirations.
As much as your team members love your company, they don’t want to be blasting their social networks with a sales pitch.
From time to time that type of content might be okay, but employees do not want to spam their social networks. So what type of content should your company be creating?
Rather, they view social sharing as an opportunity to build thought leadership and delight their own audiences with valuable information. Their roles within your organization is a crucial part of their personal journey and story. That’s why it’s important to share a mix of industry-related and branded content.
When it comes to employee advocacy, your employees shouldn’t be forced into sharing — they should feel inspired to become active.
Your brand can encourage sharing by producing the following types of content:
Employees will share what makes them proud. That’s why you should make content production a group effort. In addition your organization’s content producers or marketing folks, you can also encourage employees to share their own thoughts on your company’s blog. Give your team members an opportunity to share what makes them most proud.
It also doesn’t have to be just blog posts, employee-generated content could be in the form of pictures they took or maybe videos or podcasts they are featured in. For employees, it helps them feel connected to their company and people. For your organization, it grows your employer brand to the outside world.
Work has value beyond what we sell. What we build at the office is often an extension of who we are as people. That’s why it’s so important for your company to showcase its extremely human side. Who are the minds behind your brand, and what has been the emotional journey that has led you to where you are now? Your employees are a part of these stories — they’ll want to tell them firsthand.
Great examples of this type of content is shining light on individual employees backgrounds, how your company might be giving back to the community, and other uplifting content. Most social media users are tired of the negativity in their feeds and look for opportunities to share neat stories.
Content consumers are hungry for knowledge. They’re looking to teach and to learn. If you create content — infographics, webinars, and blog posts — with strong educational value, your employees will notice. They’ll be excited to keep the conversation going as educators and ambassadors — from your brand.
Examples of educational content will include tutorials, tips, explanations and other tidbits of industry knowledge that will appeal to your target audience. These pieces of content should remove any blatant sales agenda hidden within.
The fact is, social media is an organic process. If you tell employees what to share, they’ll instantly feel turned off.
The desire to share must come within — however, your company does need to take steps to ensure that team members have enough direction to know why it matters and how to share effectively.
A social sharing program will generally be most effective with an employee advocacy platform. It simplifies the entire process, including reporting, gamification, and organizes all valuable content.
Successful employee advocacy programs are structured without being too rigorous. You want to make sure that you tie your efforts into your company’s long–term branding goals with a framework for measuring results.
What you don’t want to do is micromanage the day to day sharing activity of your team and force sharing certain pieces of content. Give employees the space that they need to share what they want, when they want, and how often they want.
So how do you provide employees with enough direction without completely turning them off?
One example company to follow is Cisco, a company that actively encourages team members to participate on social media. What Cisco realizes is that employees need guidance, not boundaries. Since the very early days of social media (2010) Cisco has given its employees a comprehensive social media policy.
Successful social sharing happens when organizations positioning their employee advocacy programs as a way for the employee to build their own personal brands and profiles in the social space.
Employees love the idea of being positioned as subject matter experts – and having the company support to successfully do it. Emphasize the direct benefit that employees should expect to see – visibility inside and outside of an organization as well as the opportunity to become a recognized subject matter expert.
Whether you utilize employee advocacy or not, your company should have training and information sessions.
You want to address questions like:
Everyone has a different level of social media and social sharing understanding. Help your employees grow professionally, teach them best practices, and emphasize the value of getting involved.
Show that your social media or marketing team is available as a support system to ensure their professional growth and knowledge.