4 Easy Ways to Harness the Power of Employee Influence on Social Media
Social media is more competitive than ever, with millions of brands all competing for their share of engagement. Making a few posts here and there just won’t cut it anymore.
So how can you help your social media efforts stand out? How can you raise brand awareness and drive more users to your pages?
One way is to adopt an employee advocacy program for social media.
Including employees in your social media marketing efforts through an employee advocacy program can generate positive results for your company.
In this article, we’ll look at what employee advocacy is and why it’s important. We’ll also look at ways you can get your employees involved in your social media marketing.
What is Employee Advocacy, and Why Is It Important?
Companies spend vast amounts of money and time on content creation to increase brand awareness, but they often overlook one of their biggest advocates — their employees.
Employee advocacy is when employees promote the company they work at. For example, this could be employees sharing news about upcoming product releases or company events on their social media profiles.
These activities can lend more authenticity and credibility to your brand. According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, 53% of consumers see employees as a credible source of information about a business — higher than its CEO.
Chances are, your employees are already active on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Having an employee advocacy program can help your company:
- Increase brand awareness: A report from Hinge Marketing found that 65% of organizations with employee advocacy programs report an increase in brand recognition. When employees share company-related information, their followers can see those posts and learn more about the brand.
- Drive more revenue: The same study found that 64% of program participants credited employee advocacy programs with attracting new business. Companies with these programs in place have also reported shorter sales cycles.
- Improve employee engagement: Giving employees an opportunity to have to advocate for their organization can improve engagement. 85.6% of employees in an advocacy program have said that their involvement in social media has had a positive impact on their careers.
In short, every company can benefit from having an employee advocacy program. However, getting your employees involved while still maintaining cohesive brand messaging isn’t easy.
Here’s how you can turn your employees into advocates for your company and harness their influence on social media.
1. Invest in Your Content Marketing
Social media and content marketing go hand in hand in building a brand — a blog can position your company as a thought leader and drive organic traffic to your site, while networks like Facebook and Twitter can help promote your content.
However, employees are unlikely to share content on their personal pages if it’s mediocre or poorly written. If you want your employees to be involved in your social media efforts, you must invest in quality content that delivers value to your target audience.
Consider investing more in your content marketing to create resources that your employees would want to share on their profiles. Examples include tutorials, ebooks, and videos. Then post to your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account, and encourage your employees to share them.
If your company primarily uses LinkedIn for B2B marketing, you can notify employees from the Admin View to alert them when you publish new content.
Employees can like the post, add a comment, or share it with their own network. Note that you can only use this feature once a day.
2. Feature Your Employees
Perhaps the easiest way to involve your employees in your social media marketing is to feature them in an employee spotlight. These posts typically contain a picture of an employee along with a short description of who they are and the contributions they’ve made to the company.
Here’s an employee that Home Depot featured on its Facebook page.
Home Depot also shared a post about this employee on its corporate website. This helps the company show appreciation for its employees and highlight its military spouse transfer program.
Has an employee gone above and beyond to help a customer? Has an employee achieved a major milestone with the company or received an industry award?
Those are noteworthy stories that you can feature on your social media profiles. Of course, be sure to get permission from the employee you want to feature and have them review the post before you publish it.
3. Create a Branded Hashtag
Another way to get employees involved with your social media efforts is to create branded hashtags that they can use. With a social media monitoring tool, you can track those hashtags across different networks and share them on the company’s social media accounts.
As an example, Reebok created the #FitAssCompany hashtag for its employees to use. Here’s a post that one of its employees shared inside its corporate gym.
With the #FitAssCompany, employees can showcase their fitness journeys and subtly promote Reebok’s products to their own followers.
Branded hashtags are not only a great way to raise brand awareness, but they can also help your company recruit and attract top talent. 84% of job seekers look at online reviews when deciding which companies to apply for.
Applicants researching your company will undoubtedly come across branded hashtags. Posts that share an employee’s experience can sway their decision to apply for a job opening or accept an offer.
In addition to branded hashtags, you can also create accounts that showcase what your company’s culture is like. For example, Google’s Life at Google account features stories from different employees.
These posts can help your company attract more qualified candidates, as they give potential hires an inside look at what working for the company would be like.
4. Host a Social Media Takeover
A social media takeover is when you give someone full access to the company’s social media accounts for a short period. While it may sound scary, a social media takeover can help expand your reach and bring new followers to your page.
As an example, Sony Alpha regularly invites photographers to take over its Instagram account and share photos they took using a Sony Alpha camera.
Of course, these types of takeovers aren’t limited to influencers or community members. You can also give your employees an opportunity to take over the company’s social media accounts where they can share their experiences and interact with your followers.
Before letting someone else take over an account, specify how long the takeover will be and make sure to lay some ground rules upfront (e.g., not using vulgar language, divulging certain information, etc.).
While takeovers are becoming increasingly common, it’s also a good idea to give your followers a heads-up. Announce the takeover a day or week beforehand. Then, promote the takeover on your other social media accounts to generate some buzz and keep your followers in the loop.
Tips to Creating an Employee Advocacy Program
Getting your employees involved in your social media efforts can help you increase brand awareness, reach more customers, and drive more sales.
However, setting up a program can seem overwhelming if you have yet to launch one. Here are some quick tips to help you create and launch an employee advocacy program.
- Set program goals: Get your employee advocacy program on the right track by establishing goals and key performance indicators (KPIs). Some examples include generating new followers, driving more sales, and increasing job views.
- Establish a social media policy: While you want employees to share their experiences with your company, you may not want them to share details about upcoming product launches.
Establish a social media policy that outlines what employees can and can’t share. It should also provide a guideline on how they should conduct themselves online.
- Create an incentive program: Not every employee will be open to the idea of sharing company-related information on their social media pages. One way to encourage participation is to create an incentive program.
Examples can include recognizing employees or providing monetary awards to those who share the most posts or generate the most views.
- Provide training: Some employees may not use social media often. Make sure to provide some training so that employees are familiar with how certain features work on their platform of choice.
The training should also provide information on how employees can optimize their profiles.
- Measure your results: Take the goals that you established, and measure them against how your employee advocacy program is performing. You’ll want to track engagement rates on shared content, as well as other metrics like traffic and leads. This will help you measure the effectiveness of your employee advocacy program.
An employee advocacy program is beneficial for both your company and employees — it can help your company increase its reach and generate more leads, while employees can earn rewards and build their professional network.
Follow the tips laid out here to get your employees involved in your social media marketing efforts and to create a more effective employee advocacy program.