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Working With Employees to Enhance Brand Reach on Social Media

Several marketers have stressed on the benefits of involving employees in your social media marketing plan – it increases your reach many times over, adds credibility and influence to your brand message, and helps build relationships between employees and potential customers on social media.

Companies all over the world are beginning to use social employee advocacy and employee advocacy platforms to strengthen their brand voices and cut through the crowd on social media.

To understand how entrepreneurs and marketing leads approach the tactic, I asked professionals across different industries the following question.

How can employees be roped in to amplify the brand’s reach on social media and online?

 

The answers were interesting, with some professionals sharing their experience and others their ideas on how employee advocacy could be implemented. Read further to see what they said.

Marcus

Marcus Miller
Head of SEO & Digital Marketing at Bowler Hat

Expert tip:

Focus on creating content that helps your audience achieve their goals and then encourage employees to share it on social media and on communities, wherever it matters.

Employee advocacy is a real simple way to amplify the brand’s reach on social media and around the web but it does require a little bit of planning to get the best results. Ideally the whole approach would be built upon a solid strategic starting point such as a digital marketing plan built using the SOSTAC planning framework.

Let me give you an example of how we have have helped others implement employee advocacy and what our own plan that we are starting to roll out looks like.

Situation: our business has gone from an SEO consultancy (me) to a staff of 8 in short measure and as such we now offer a range of digital marketing services (SEO, PPC, Social Media, Content Marketing etc).

Objectives: get in front of as many of the people we can really help as possible who tend to be marketing managers or owners of fast growing businesses.

Strategy: create content that is of value to our ideal customers on the Bowler Hat Blog and promote that over social media with our employees’ help.

This is where the real work begins. We are planning to share the content on the legacy Bowler Hat social channels (mine) and then on the new company ones we are rolling out. This is done on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. The staff then re-share the posts with their followers on Twitter and LinkedIn to amplify the reach of the post.

We then have a structured approach over the course of the week where the post is shared another two times on Twitter to maximize the chances of it getting in front of the right people.

By following this we have 8 people instead of one sharing the article out and tend to get around 3 x more shares from external people. It is almost like a ripple effect where our initial share gets in front of the first layer of people and then each subsequent share pushes the post further and further.

We also look beyond social and monitor what is going on around the web and conversations and blogs that are relevant to our target audience. Using tools like IFTTT, we plan to get alerts when specific blogs that interest our readers post and we plan to make sure we are there commenting and being in the discussion. Likewise we plan to contribute to Q&A sites like Quora and message boards for SEO, PPC, Social Media and Content Marketing ensuring the Bowler Hat brand and evidence of our expertise is constantly on display. We will also look to link back to our own posts where it adds value to the discussions on communities to ensure we expand our reach and drive engagement with the content on our website (all of which is tied into our lead generation strategies to move folks further along the funnel).

Ultimately we feel this all comes back to the content marketing piece – typical advertising involves telling people you are a rock star where content marketing is showing people that you are a rock star. When we roll out our plan, we will make sure we put out insightful content that helps our audience achieve their goals. We then just make sure we let everyone know!

Stefanie

Stefanie Parks
Founder of Derm Warehouse

Expert tip:

Create a work experience that makes your employees want to share on social media, and reward their efforts with incentives.

I think the best way to get employees to promote the brand they work for on social media is to make their experience working with the company one worth posting about. The best and most effective social media posts are ones that sound natural and genuine. Give your employees a working experience worth posting about and they will.

Another alternative is to offer incentives to your employees to promote the company on their social media pages. Offer them a free lunch, a shortened day, a monetary bonus… Make sure, however, that the message you’re asking them to promote is clear and that the posts sound genuine, rather than sales-y.

Bryan Clayton

Bryan Clayton
CEO of GreenPal

Expert tip:

Create a compelling social media campaign and encourage your employees and partners to share it on social media.

Last summer our team began implementing a little program to get connected with our local community in Nashville Tennessee through social media and to also include our suppliers and employees in that process.

We have a few hundred lawn care professionals that utilize our system and we asked them to submit to us candidates that are in need of a lawn-mowing for free because they are in a tough personal situation.

Once a month we go and mow a person’s home who’s in jam and needs the help.

This has resulted in countless Facebook and Twitter shares as well as mentions and local press highlighting. But the story was picked up only because of the effort and sharing by our employees and our suppliers.

Jessi

Jessi Zenker
Communications Specialist at RDO Equipment Co.

Expert tip:

Provide the necessary training and have your communications team oversee and interact with employee shares.

Our company encourages employees to be active on social media. We’ve “roped in” employees by giving them the chance to share their expertise; and we’ve found that many are excited to do so. Others are keen to participate because they’re already active social media users.

Employees utilize company-branded Twitter accounts to highlight their expertise and insights, interact with industry leaders, customers, and fellow team members and share valuable content.

How it Works
After a team member expresses interest or is identified as a good fit for the program (i.e. – an active social media user), the employee undergoes training.

Our Communications Team monitors, interacts with and provides feedback for content shared by Social Employees.

This includes providing helpful tips or tricks and sharing their relevant content through RDO Equipment Co.’s channels (commenting and re-tweeting).

What it Does
We’ve found that this program humanizes our brand, sets up our Social Employees as true subject matter experts, and helps tell the RDO Equipment Co. story.

Brandon

Brandon Schroth
Digital Analyst at seoWorks

Expert tip:

Highlight the fun quirks and features of your office that separates it from others, and encourage your employees to share that content on social media.

One of the best ways to encourage employees to participate in social media is by highlighting the company culture. Do you have something unique or cool about your office? Is it in a fantastic location that separates it from other companies? Do you have any perks like a fully stocked kitchen? How about fun ideas for when employees need a break during the day, like a ping pong table or an arsenal of Nerf guns? These are all great examples of social media gold. Be transparent and share the day to day life of your company with the world. Showing the perks of the office provides an easy opportunity for employees to chime in, while also showing customers or potential future employees that your office is a fun place to work.

Justin

Justin Kerby
Managing Partner at Cave Social

Expert tip:

Create groups on social media to enable employee updating and sharing.

A great tip to get employees to participate in social media syndication is to create groups. Facebook gives you the ability to create private groups where you can share content, making it easy for your company employees to see what’s new and what needs to be shared. Asking employees to follow your brand on LinkedIn can also pay dividends for your social strategy, as they can share updates as you post them to the network.

Frances

Frances Reimers
Director of Corporate Visibility at PCI

Expert tip:

Use social media to sell the brand that is your employees. Help them share their expertise on social media so as to connect with and convince potential customers.

People don’t make a decision about who is going to handle their critical marketing and advertising needs from an AdWords blurb or a radio commercial; they act only after meeting and becoming comfortable with the individuals who will be doing their work. With this in mind my role at PCI was created two years ago to help develop and promote the brands that are my colleagues.

In this role I act as publicist providing guidance for staff who wish to create or enhance their personal brand. I provide strategy and support for their social media presence. I seek and secure speaking opportunities. I also seek and secure media placements. Finally, I develop the strategy and assist in the creation of content that highlights PCI’s staff and its clients.

All of these efforts give our individual staff members collateral to share with their personal networks thus raising PCI’s visibility.

We currently only have about 60% of the staff actively participating. Those who are interested have seen a direct benefit. PCI has benefited as well. In the past three years our website traffic has tripled while social media links, likes, and shares have notched double digit increases. These efforts have lead to PCI’s growth of an average 25% annually for the past three years.

Brad

Brad Stultz
Human Resources Coordinator at Totally Promotional

Expert tip:

Request employees to display the company as their current employer and ensure that they’re in the loop for the latest company happenings so that they are inspired to share.

When looking to expand the reach of your brand, a company should always look at employees as their very own Brand Ambassadors. The first step would be to send out a message to all of your employees requesting they update their social media profiles with your company as their current employer. This also would be a good time to inform them of the great things happening on your company’s social media pages and encourage them to take part.

We send out a monthly newsletter to all employees with information on product updates, company blogs and other Totally Promotional outreach opportunities that links them directly to our social media pages to read more.

Mathew

Matthew Mercuri
Digital Marketing Specialist at Era Environmental

Expert tip:

Create firm guidelines for social sharing and involve employees in the project/ content creation so they’re more excited to share it.

Your employees have a wide variety of skills, interests and techniques that can be of use on Social Media. As long as you can filter their opinions and knowledge through a pretty stringent social media policy, you can use their information to promote the content that your brand promotes online. Even better, you can potentially access their niche networks by politely encouraging them to share it to their friends. If you’ve included them in the production process, they are usually more than willing to show their family and friends the work that they did!

That wraps up our round-up. Inspired to initiate your own employee advocacy program? You could do it with DrumUp Employee Advocacy Platform! We’d be happy to help you get started.