In the busy world of marketing your brand there are few methods of communicating your message that are as effective as your employees.
We’ve talked about why you should be using your employees to share your content before. It really is one of the most effective and innovative ways to distribute your content in a saturated market.
“Well, why?” you might ask. Consider the numbers: according to Weber & Shandick, 47% of employees in the UK are already on social media and sharing messages, pictures or videos about their employers.
Then consider the David MacLeod and Nita Clarke research that suggests engaged employees are two times as productive as non-engaged ones, and that they are responsible for up to 80% of customer satisfaction.
You don’t want to get left behind, either: “60% of brands will have formal programs in place for monitoring employee activity on social media by 2015” (Gartner).
It’s a clear way to success. But how do you begin? Here are a few steps for getting started…
Start at the top
If you’re already creating content and sharing it, great, now all you need to do is work in an employee sharing element into your strategy. You’ll need to work out a few ground rules, organise a process and get buy-in as first steps.
What to do:
- Focus your message. If you’re a large organisation with many different messages, decide in advance which type of messaging will work with your employees. Recruitment messaging is a perfect for fit for employee advocacy – it says, “It’s great to work here” as told by the people working there.
- Get buy-in. Work with the relevant areas of the business to decide on the messaging you want to get out, and then agree a process with them. Decide what sort of content you want shared: will you write the copy to send to employees to share? Will you provide pictures to accompany it? It’s wise to provide employees with this information, but sometimes it’s better to use an external agency to put this sort of package together for you. This way it won’t be too confined by the company line.
Set ground rules for sharing
Once you have your employees sharing content, you need to make sure they don’t overstep the boundaries. And the best and most effective way is to provide some sort of training.
Surprisingly, it’s an uncommon practice. In fact, according to the Altimeter Group, only 12% of companies offer formalised social media training.
Research from IDG found that brands share a number of common concerns about employee content sharing: a lack of social media skill and training and regulatory compliance being the most pressing.
But they’re not all that scary, really.
What to do:
- Do it face-to-face. Run a brief internal training session on content sharing and its dos and don’ts. At the cost of 15-20 minutes of your employees’ time, the results are well worth it.
- Draw up a checklist. Circulate a newsletter following the session with your dos and don’ts so your staff will have a crib sheet.
Make it easy and convenient
You want your employees to be sharing your content, but you don’t want them to be spending every living minute in the office on social media. You can speed up the process, and you should.
- Use an existing platform. There are a number of employee advocacy tools that make this easy (Social Chorus and Dynamic Signal, for example). Search out the best one for your needs and get on it.
- Share a newsletter. Write and share a regular (weekly or every two weeks is ideal), newsletter with your most recent content and a few example social posts. Be clear about what you want your employees to do with this content, too: “Here are this week’s hottest stories for you to share on your own social networks.”
Measure your performance
Employing a new technique will mean nothing if you’re not tracking it from day one. Measuring results is important for a number of reasons: you can see the effect employee sharing is having in delivering on your KPIs; you can monitor employee uptake; and you can see what works and what doesn’t – all important in achieving results.
What to do:
- Track your results. You should have agreed KPIs and goals in place. Make sure you have set up processes that allow you to track these. Is it web traffic? Set up tags so you can track the traffic coming from employee-shared content.
- Ask for feedback from your employees. They’re the ones doing the legwork after all, so it’s imperative you check that they’re happy with the process. If they’re not you’ll find you’ll be sharing a lot of great content on apathetic ears.
- Experiment. Delivering your message through your employees is an important step, but that doesn’t mean the content can be any old rubbish. So experiment to see what works best.