Your employees can be one of the driving forces behind content sharing on social media. They can multiply your social reach and boost social engagement. The more enterprising among them may directly help you get more inquiries and acquire leads. There is a real possibility that some of their contacts may either have a need for your product or service or know others who do. Even if they collectively form a sliver of the audience size you want to promote to, they can still support your leads generation and sales efforts in a meaningful way.
The big question is, how can you motivate your employees to participate in your social media campaigns?
1. Make it easy
Expect employees to look upon social sharing as a ‘chore’, at least initially. They will need to read the content and decide what they wish to share. They may likely favor some blog posts over others, or choose to exclusively promote company events, milestones or special offers. Or they may assign specific days of the week for sharing, depending on their workload or even their mood! Given these variables, you want to make social sharing as efficient as possible for your employees.
One way is to enable easy scheduling of social media posts, where employees can make sharing a one-time activity for the week. DrumUp, for instance, not only provides employees their own dashboard for scheduling posts, but also allows them to add their commentary and hashtags to personalize content and make it more visible.
2. Create valuable content
Your employees may hesitate to share content that they don’t perceive to be interesting or useful enough to their fans and followers. The best way to encourage them to post something they’ve not created, chosen or curated themselves, is to convince them about the quality and authority of your content.
Produce top-notch social media content that attracts readership and gains the appreciation of those who benefit directly from it. Get creative with the use of images, memes and videos where possible. Latch on to trending topics relevant to your industry or news that impact the world at large, and enable your employees to publish or tweet out quickly. An app notifying employees about new content can help them update their pages in real-time in order to keep them dynamic, varied and interesting.
Note : A mix of branded and non-branded/third-party content is necessary to indicate that sharing is not always motivated by brand affiliation.
3. Offer an incentive
The enthusiasm to share branded content can taper off after a while. An effective way to create mindfulness about sharing regularly is to link it to an incentive. An employee advocacy program that incorporates gamification and rewards is one option. Companies that use DrumUp run monthly contests tracking employees’ sharing efforts, which are consolidated into a leaderboard. Those who share most actively stand the chance to win gifts, coupons or cash rewards.
Incentives act as a strong motive to share more consistently. They also make the activity seem less of an obligation and more of a contest. Expect interns and younger employees to battle it out with gusto, especially if the prize is too good to pass up.
4. Solicit feedback from employees
A rigid structure where expectations are set only around sharing content and not discussing it, can dissuade some employees who wish to be more involved in your social media campaign. Encourage employees to state their opinions about your branded content and ways to improve it. They may propose suggestions and ideas that could have escaped you or your content team. Creating a culture where employees are free to voice their views constructively – whether offline at meetings or online via emails – has multiple benefits. They will feel a sense of ownership of the campaign and a responsibility towards the outcome. Some may even go the extra mile to advocate for your brand of their own volition instead of being coaxed into it or lured by the prospect of an extrinsic reward.
Advocacy tool DrumUp’s analytics module tracks the performance of each social media post. You can use the results to validate your content team’s strategies as well as the feedback suggested by employees. You can also choose to share the results of your campaign with employees, making it more inclusive.
5. Implement a social media training program
Do all employees in your firm have some kind of social media presence? Those without a Facebook or LinkedIn account will not be able to contribute to brand advocacy. Understand why they’re not on social : is it because they’re not very comfortable using it or do they absolutely hate it?
In the former case, you can extend assistance via a structured social media training program that helps them become savvy social media users. In the latter case, you can explain the benefits of social media and ask them to think about getting on one social network – for starters. Quite possibly, one or two may still be opposed to the idea, in which case, you should avoid pressurizing them to join.
There will also be those who’re on social media but keen to develop their engagement skills and personal brand online. These employees have the most potential to be brand ambassadors. Expect them to understand the value of your social media training program – for themselves as well as for your brand – and consequently be most receptive to learning.
Your social media training program can include Facebook marketing tips, LinkedIn best practices, Twitter tactics, and aspects of automation that save users time. For those who’re interested in optimizing their social media presence and building their credibility online, social media account management and social analytics tools can form part of the curriculum.
Employee social advocacy works well when businesses foster a culture of openness, transparency, questioning and innovation. Unless employees feel inspired and empowered, social selling will be extremely challenging. Additionally, founders and the executive suite must also be part of the social sharing campaign to send out the message that ‘we’re all in this together’.
Image credit : Pixabay