On the hunt for new marketing opportunities, are ya? We get it. Our clients are always looking for new ways to increase their social reach, bolster engagement and strengthen their brand perception. Some companies immediately dedicate large portions of budgets into sponsored posts, influencer campaigns and targeted ad campaigns.
HOWEVER. A highly engaged and largely untapped market is waiting for you. Do a lap around your office and you’ll find it.
That’s right. It’s your own employees.
See, employees have a vested interest in the success of their company. We aren’t just talking about the sales team. Every member of your staff wants the company to have a positive perception because of the byproduct: A healthy company culture with a solid reputation can boost their morale and keep them connected.
As you can see from the bar graph, increasing brand awareness is the BIGGEST priority for businesses on social media (2018 Sprout Social Index). The question is, how can you harness your employees to aid your company’s awareness and perception?
Like it or not, employees are going to use social media at work. So instead of fighting it, try embracing it. There’s one catch: Make sure they devote some of their social media time to sharing/commenting/liking company content. By freeing employees to use social at work, your marketing efforts will realize the perks of increased brand exposure.
DID YOU KNOW? PART OF INSTAGRAM’S ALGORITHM INCLUDES THE RATE AT WHICH PEOPLE INTERACT WITH A POST - NOT JUST HOW MANY LIKES TOTAL. FOCUSED & FAST ENGAGEMENT (FROM YOUR EMPLOYEES, FOR EXAMPLE) COULD LAUNCH YOUR CONTENT TO ANOTHER LEVEL OR LAND IT ON THE GRAM’S COVETED DISCOVERY PAGE"
But how to start? Well, you can talk to us about that. It’s kind of what we do.
If you’re game for doing it yourself, start by making sure your culture is one with a positive environment where employees would enjoy sharing content. Then, craft a marketing strategy that stays true to your internal mission, beliefs and actions—and remember to focus on the customer benefit.
Live your truth LOUDLY. You’ll quickly identify team players who are game for whatever you have in mind, as well as people who aren’t the right fit.
Bottom line: People want to be proud of where they work. Give them a reason and some things to share!
Spoiler alert: Customers don’t trust companies like they do their friends. So companies devote millions to humanizing their brands. And your employees? They’re the humans of the company. That humanization you’re spending so heavily on already exists within.
So advocate for your army. Give them the tools they need to properly advocate for your brand and an exponential effect takes place. Not only will you reach more people through each employees network, but overall engagement will increase.
The following is not a typo: People are SIXTEEN TIMES more likely to read a post from a friend than a brand themselves (Bambu report by Survata, San Francisco).
On top of that, 6 out of 10 employees will go out of their way to defend their employer online (Bambu report by Survata, San Francisco). They guard your brand’s reputation. Ultimately, it’s their choice to work there, and their defense also protects their own reputation. Everyone has vested interested in your company.
In our experience, we’ve found an active employee advocate will provide:
Now that you see the value of converting employees to ambassadors, there’s one final big question: How do you implement these strategies?
Identify your core values as a company. Live and breathe them. Internal buy in is vital to any company messaging strategy because customers won’t believe if employees don’t. Cultivate an environment where internal communications, goals and support are clear from the top down.
Participate. Your employees aren't proud of their company for making a profit alone. They are proud about the customers they help and the stories you tell. Being involved in customer delight, community and employee support gives your employees reasons to be proud. It’s up to Marketing to be active in this story telling.
Make Good Content. Share insightful content making sure there is a proper mix of fun, interesting, educational and self promotion (See Gary Vee’s 80/20 rule about giving value and minimizing self promotion on social). Instead of talking about your company nonstop, educate, entertain and enlighten your audience. Your employees will be excited to share anything with their personal connections that doesn’t scream “ME ME ME” but instead says “you you you”. Remember, employees never want to sell the company to their network. Need help defining your brand style on social media? Start by checking out our Photography Style Guide.
Engage. Encourage your employees to share content. Announce social posts when they’re published and give staff sample text to use if they need it. Did you know a business with 329 employees has the potential to reach 1.39 million connections through social media sharing (calculator by Bambu from Sprout Social)? The average number of connections a user has on Facebook ALONE is 338. So that means if you had 1,000 employees and 10% of them were sharing your content on Facebook (not to mention other channels), you could potentially reach an additional 33,800 people.
One final note on employee engagement: Don’t force it. If someone on your team doesn’t have a Twitter account, don’t make them open one and post on it. If another person can’t stand LinkedIn, don’t make them engage with your LinkedIn content.
Identify the staff who already use each platform regularly. Those people can be your first wave of engagement for your social media efforts.
Taking strategic control of your social channels can help you achieve what brands strive for most: brand affinity. Brand affinity is the belief that the customer and company share common values. It’s humanization, achieved. This alignment to your brand is the strongest bond that can be created with your audience. And we can achieve it with an unshakeable trust through your employees - better than anyone.
If it turns out that you need help defining a message your employees can get excited about, we’re here. Let’s chat.