There’s a lot of discussion right now about whether to encourage employee participation in social media and content marketing. It’s a fact that employees and content marketing can be a minefield without certain components in place. However, I wouldn’t want you to miss a major opportunity to leverage your most valuable asset to bring in more business.
There are two simple facts when it comes to social media today:
- Many business pages content is getting lost in the overwhelming noise of social media.
- Many businesses have come to the end of the line with content ideas and strategy.
If you’re looking for new ways to improve your social media and website content, activating your employees is a great step.
Content is more trusted when it’s from employees
While people do like content from brands they follow and will click on social ads, content is more trusted when it comes from individual employees. Makes sense because employees have the insight of their company, are more human, and typically are more trusted than corporate leaders who have a more vested interest.
A Nielsen study showed that 84% of people trust recommendations from friends, family, colleagues over other forms of marketing.
Here are a few other eye-opening stats:
- Content shared by employees receives 8x more engagement than content shared by brand channels (Social Media Today)
- Brand messages reached 561% further when shared by employees vs the same messages shared via official brand social channels (MSLGroup)
- 98% of employees use at least one social media site for personal use, of which 50% are already posting about their company (Weber Shandwick)
- 21% of consumers report “liking” employee posts–a far higher engagement rate than the average social ad (Edelman Trust Barometer)
The above are some that stood out, but there are countless others that show the value employees bring to social media/content marketing.
With that trust and more social shares comes an increase in web traffic, improved lead quality, further reach, and enhanced online reputation.
It also benefits employees who get involved because it increases their knowledge, helps them be seen as thought leaders, and they’re able to contribute more to their company’s success even if they are in a completely different department.
Employees are the most-trusted resource in communicating treatment of employees and customers. Employees are trusted more than the CEO, a senior executive, an activist consumer, an academic and a media spokesperson (advertising).
But what about that minefield?
As business owners, we know all too well how many things might go wrong when it comes to employees on social media.
Employees who are encouraged to participate in social media and content marketing should be provided a process to follow. They should receive mindful training about how to communicate their personal brand along with the company’s brand.
Leverage employees’ expertise by allowing them to become thought leaders within their own network and throughout your market.
5 questions to answer when creating a program for employees and content marketing
Once you’ve made the decision to enhance your content marketing with employee participation and contributions, your next step will be to answer the following five questions to ensure your program will be successful.
1. What are our first steps in getting employees to participate in content marketing?
- Show them the value of their participation.
- Customers are Googling salespeople. Have employees Googled themselves?
- Alleviate their fears with easy-to-understand information and process-driven guidance.
- Make it fun! Gamify your goals wherever possible.
2. How do we motivate employees to participate?
- Establish WIIFM (What In It For Me). Help them understand the benefits of participating.
- Compensation always helps. The companies who win in this new sales paradigm will offer rewards to employees who share their expertise.
- Check in at sales meetings. Recognize the wins and learn from your missteps.
- Design a bonus program for online reviews.
3. Should employee participation in content be mandatory?
- Yes, but it must not be perceived so. Everyone has something to contribute.
- You make other things mandatory, right?
- It’s all in the delivery of your requirements and how well employees assimilate content creation into their job duties.
- It’s a delicate balance because you’re introducing something very new and weird for most.
- Recognize and reward for ‘superstar’ participation.
4. What tools can we use to make it super simple for employees to contribute?
- Slack is a good option, especially for small business.
- Shared Google Docs are also a good option, depending on the technological aptitude of your team.
- For enterprise: DynamicSignal, SocialChorus and PostBeyond.
- Stay away from emailing back and forth. Through hard-won experience, I’ve found this gets out of hand quickly because email threads are very difficult to manage.
5. Should employees be compensated for their contributions?
- Yes, it’s a task like any other and that needs to be compensated.
- Adding more work without recognition or compensation will produce the opposite effect you’re looking for.
- A solid, sustainable process means compensating your people. Don’t expect quality content if you’re not willing to pay for it.
Employees and content marketing: a big step for some.
I recognize and appreciate that this concept of trusting employees with your brand can be very off putting for some managers and owners. I find some who bristle at the idea and say, “No way.”
You know better than anyone what works for your business but I will say this: Everyone, at one time or another, gets stuck in a comfortable spot that may not be working for them anymore. I’m simply advocating a way to improve your social media, website traffic, customer engagement and business goals.
With your most-trusted ‘spokespeople’ on the job, your business develops and solidifies credibility and trust.
Truly engaged workplaces are rare but there are companies who buck this trend. Leaders of these winning organizations understand that employee engagement drives real business results.
The only question now is…will you be one of them?