It’s time for another installment in our ongoing “Questions from the Client” series. This question comes from one of our many B2B clients; they ask: “I can’t seem to get my team on board with employee advocacy. How do I get my employees to share our branded content to their personal social media feeds?
We wrote this post back in 2020, but we’ve recently had a couple of clients ask us if the strategic advice below is still relevant in 2022. Spoiler, it is! But, we know that strategies have to evolve over time to survive and thrive, so we’ve updated this post with additional tips and tactics to drive employee social sharing.
Why Should Your Employees Share?
Your employees are your business’s greatest trust-building resource. Every time they share your branded content, it comes across as a mini-testimonial. It’s stamped with their personal endorsement that they, as individuals, find value in a specific piece of content.
That’s why it’s no wonder that:
- Employee-shared content receives 8x more engagement than brand-shared content (even if it’s the same piece of content).
- Employee-shared content and brand messages are re-shared 24x more frequently vs. brand-shared content.
- Customers referred by employee advocates have a 37% higher retention rate.
- 64% of businesses that have a structured employee advocacy program also report a lift in revenue that can be attributed to employee advocacy efforts and social selling.
That last bullet shows the real power of employee advocacy. Getting your employees to share your branded content doesn’t just improve your soft marketing metrics (like reach and impressions); it can help drive sales and increase your overall revenue.
So, how can you empower and encourage your employees to share your branded content on their social media channels?
3 Tips for Getting Your Employees to Share Your Content
1) You Have to Make it Easy to Share
Your employees are busy. They’re in the middle of fifty-thousand tasks; all deemed as high-priority. This means that even if they have all the intention in the world to share branded content to their social media pages, they might not have the time to get around to it.
Which is why the best way to ensure your employees are sharing your content onto their social channels is to make it as easy as possible for them to share. The more convenient it is to share, the more likely your employees are to take action.
What does it mean to make sharing more convenient? It means that you (an internal team member) provides your team with everything they need to share your content.
That means providing them with a direct link to the content you want them to share (don’t ask them to just go to the blog and share the latest post) as well as some inspiration for what to post alongside the link. Better yet, write the post copy for them and encourage them to personalize it.
Don’t expect your employees to find the time to craft their own post. Your goal is to remove barriers and eliminate excuses. The quicker you can make the task of sharing content, the more likely that content will be shared.
Pro Tip: This is where using a tool like SocialToaster can be a real game-changer. With SocialToaster, your employees will receive an email that includes not only the content link but also the recommended copy. Once received, they’ll be able to directly share that content to their LinkedIn page with a simple touch of a button. No more copy/pasting or fiddling with new tabs in their browser.
2) You Have to Make the Content Relative and Valuable
No one wants to be viewed as a corporate lackey.
Asking your employees to share irrelevant, underperforming, or gimmicky content, is one of the quickest ways to turn them off of any social sharing initiative.
Your employees aren’t robots. They aren’t just going to act on your orders, simply because you’re in charge. They’re individuals with their own motivations, goals, and needs, and your content should provide a balance between their needs and corporate initiatives.
Focus on ensuring that the content you’re asking your employees to share onto their social media profiles is relevant to both the employee and the employee’s audience. The more valuable you can make the content, the better the impression your employees are making with their connections.
If you’re consistently setting up your employees to look like rock stars on LinkedIn, you’re not going to have any problems getting your branded content shared.
3) You Have to Incentivize
Alright, this may be a bit of a hot-button issue, but we at SocialToaster believe that an incentive-based employee advocacy program is one of the strongest ways you can encourage your employees to consistently share your branded content.
When we mention this to CEOs and division leads, we usually hear something along the lines of, “The incentive is the paycheck I give them,” or “This is their job, they don’t need an incentive.”
While that may be true, in our experience, we’ve found that incentive-based programs perform better, have a higher internal adoption rate, and greater longevity than corporately-enforced programs.
Providing a carrot helps motivate your employees to engage in your employee advocacy efforts. The carrot doesn’t have to be monetary either (though that doesn’t hurt). Some of our most successful campaigns have used incentives like:
- Extra PTO
- Long lunch
- Premium parking spot
- Gift cards
- Entries into contests
- Special recognition or awards
- Branded swag
Feel free to test different incentives to find out which resonates most with your team and company culture.
4) Define Your Goals, Objectives, and Strategies
Before you can start getting your employees to share your content, you need to know what you want to achieve with your social media strategy.
- Do you want to increase brand awareness?
- Drive traffic to your website?
- Generate leads?
Once you clarify your employee advocacy goals , you can start creating content to help you achieve them. Use these goals to define your strategy. Then communicate your strategy to your employees.
5) Make Sure Your Employees Know WHY You Want Them To Share
If you want your employees to share your content, they need to understand why you’re asking them to do it. Yes, this includes answering the “What’s in it for them?” question. See the incentives above.
But that’s just part of the gaining buy-in equation. It would help if you also need to let your team know the benefits and objectives behind sharing branded content. Again, your employees are busy. They’re also focused on their daily task. You can’t expect them to drop everything to share content just because you asked. You need to inspire them with a reason to get involved and share the content.
Be sure to communicate:
- The big picture.
- What this means for their careers.
- What this means for new opportunities
- The incentives
- The technology.
6) Encourage Them to Share Their Own Content as Well
In addition to sharing your brand’s marketing content, you should also empower your employees to share their own content as well! User-generated content is a powerful B2C marketing tool. And guess what, it’s also insanely effective in the B2B space! User-generated content comes across as more authentic and trustworthy than polished branded pieces, which amplifies the potential reach/engagement of this content.
One note, you can’t expect to review every piece of content your employees share. Nor do you want to. The more roadblocks you introduce, the less likely your employees will share/create content. So you need to make sure you’re monitoring your employees’ social media accounts to see how they’re sharing your content. This will help you identify any issues or problems and make sure they’re sharing your content in the way you want them to.
Give Them A Reason To Share
Remember, it’s your responsibility to provide a compelling reason to be active in a long-term social sharing initiative.
Create a formal program that centers around your employees’ wants and needs, not about getting more eyeballs on your latest marketing message. Nurture that program by listening to employee feedback and fine-tuning your efforts until you have a program that your new employees clamor to join.
Curious about how employee advocacy can help your business? Contact us today and one of our employee advocacy experts will help you decide if SocialToaster is the right platform for you.