In the last few weeks, I’ve had enlightening conversations with more than twenty marketers on how they’re using employee advocacy today. It’s a hot topic because, among other impressive business results, employee messages are shared 24 times more frequently than company posts on LinkedIn. No wonder employee advocacy is a key part of today’s content and social media strategy.
In the first part of this post, I feature the three most frequently mentioned employee advocacy recommendations:
Use internal communication tools like Slack to get the word out
Marketers are bypassing email and posting internally on Slack, Teams and other internal communication platforms to update employees. Chris Vitti, SVP of Marketing at Knotch, says “I've seen a Slack channel be effective. Something like #content-marketing-updates where the content marketing team shares anything they want employees to know about and share.” Message templates are often included, as well as Twitter and LinkedIn links, to make it super easy for employees to be aware of the content and to share it.
Don’t sacrifice authenticity
Although employees are provided with suggestions on messages to include along with the social media links and can simply like/share/retweet, marketers strongly recommend allowing employees to customize or develop their own copy along with the relevant link. Why? Research shows that 76% of the social media audience puts more trust in content shared by a person than content shared by companies. If you mandate that everyone spout out identical company posts on social media day after day, your employees will seem (and feel) like they’re mindless robots. All authenticity and trust go out the window. Employee engagement and morale will also drop like a lead balloon.
This also relates to your overall content and social media strategy. Are you keeping in mind the 80 (educate) - 20 (promote) rule for content mix? As one pro says, “if the content you create is all ‘sales sales sales’ then constantly asking them to share it is like asking them to stick a billboard on their front lawn, a decal on their car or wear a t-shirt out in public with the company logo on at all times. However, if you actually create something worth sharing that aligns with their values/interests then asking them to help becomes much much easier.”
Marketing consultant Chantelle Marcelle recommends that the marketers “guide and shape the overall conversations” and encourage employees to become brand evangelists. “I've found that it's important to try to anticipate and remove the barriers employees face in getting on board with content distribution. That usually means providing a simple template they can follow that lets them know exactly what to do step by step. Offering examples also helps.”
For some additional suggestions on setting up an effective employee advocacy program, take a look at Andrew McDermott's blog post at Recruitment.com.
Make it a routine with weekly updates
Posting updates internally is great. Repeating the message and periodically reminding employees to share is even better. Anyone that missed your Slack updates or that read them but have not yet acted, has a second opportunity to distribute content.
“I used to send an internal newsletter every week that would contain our blog posts, social media posts, etc. We encouraged our folks to share them as they pleased and we'd also mark why it'd be relevant for their audience,” says Deb Mukherjee, head of marketing at DelightChat. Ashley Levesque, marketing director at Demio chimes in: “I did a weekly newsletter as well that consolidated everything marketing released that week along with links and key talking points and personas targeted.” Others make employee advocacy a part of their weekly stand up meeting (or virtual stand up meeting, especially in the COVID era).
Having an update as part of a weekly or bi-weekly routine keeps employee advocacy top of mind and is a best practice for content strategy.
As you review and compare how you're using employee advocacy strategies, think about how you can make it as easy and seamless as possible for your colleagues to share content. That’s what we strive to do with the Please Share app.
The app adds posts to a specified Slack channel, including message templates and links for Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Employees can use the message on each post ‘as is’ or they can tailor the message to match their personal brand. They also have full control over what content they want to share and to which channel. Posting takes just a few seconds and doesn’t require employees to leave Slack to create the message for each social media platform.
To discover more ways marketers are using employee advocacy today, check out Part 2 of this post.
Now is the perfect time to try out some of these employee advocacy ideas, including Please Share. Request your free beta today.