Why using employee amplification is your best social media strategy
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Social media plays a major role in inbound marketing strategies. Your social channels can distribute your content across your audience and present amazing growth opportunities through SEO-friendly backlinks and engagement rates.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are powerful tools that can shape the perception of your brand. And a social media strategy that harnesses these tools effectively can positively impact your brand reputation and potential revenue.
There are many elements that can contribute to a successful social media strategy: bots on direct messaging channels can bolster your engagement on Facebook; icebreaker posts can build a social community and show off your brand values; and LinkedIn lead-gen ads can bring more revenue to your company.
One of the most overlooked elements in a social media strategy is your own team. Whilst social media is often about looking outwards at prospects and turning them into happy customers and advocates, employees at your company could be the key to unlocking more followers, improving engagement rates and ultimately, generating more business.
Your team is a ready-made network of promoters, willing to share your content to their own private networks, who are likely to be the right target demographic for your brand.
What is employee amplification?
Employee advocacy is the promotion of an organisation by its workforce.
This can take many forms, from a good word at the pub or a strong, verified Glassdoor review. But, mainly, it happens on social media. Most employees will already have social media accounts, and if they’re enthusiastic about their work or their employer, they’re likely already sharing content on their private channels.
One of the benefits of employee amplification is that it adds a layer of authenticity to your comms. If a company says it looks after its employees, cynicism flags can start flying. However, if a member of staff posts about how fantastic their company is at their job and to work for, their followers are more likely to agree and see the company in a positive light.
How does it work?
Using employee amplification to spread a message and boost brand awareness is ostensibly simple: you post something onto your company page and employees share and like the content.
However, this is only a tiny part of employee advocacy. They can post about their job successes, work culture, professional interests and services. Put another way, it’s about your company equipping your employees with the tools to become brand ambassadors.
Why does it work?
Not only is this more authentic, it opens up your social media audience; individual staff members normally have 10x more followers than the company page (and this increases brand reach by 581%).
Employee amplification also works is because employees benefit from it. They are able to enhance their credibility and position as industry leaders, thereby building their personal brands. For sales reps, for example, it’s a way to enhance their social selling skills, and engage with more potential customers.
How to encourage employee amplification
Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as getting your team members to retweet your posts. LinkedIn revealed that employees only share about 2% of their company’s posts - yet these shared posts are responsible for 20% engagement. It’s tough getting the majority of your workforce to retweet company posts. But the reward is high. So, what is the quickest, easiest and most effective way to implement employee advocacy as part of your social media strategy?
Quick and easy employee amplification strategies:
- Make sure every team member knows about the brand, its value and its meaning. They’re more likely to share if they know “what and who we are”. No one wants to fall foul of the brand police!
- Alert employees when certain posts go live. Launching a new ebook? Let them share it. Got a great piece of PR coverage? They’ll want their family and friends to know about that.
- Encourage employee amplification, don’t demand it. Let your group of micro influencers know you appreciate them sharing your content – focus on making your employee advocacy programme inclusive and respectful.
- Make it super simple. Pre-prepare content they can share online by drafting a selection of posts they can use as inspiration and easily customise.
- Turn employee advocacy into a game. Set up a leaderboard and routinely check in with employees to see who is getting the most likes or shares. Then, present the winner with a prize, from a box of chocolates to an Apple Watch (budget and generosity dependent, of course!).
- Make employees part of the content. People often want to shout about their friends’ achievements. Has a member of staff just run a marathon? Give them a shout out and see the likes roll in. Or maybe interview a member of staff each month and have them talk about their daily activities, from their job tasks to their hobbies.
Use automation software to schedule from multiple social media accounts at once - HubSpot is great for this.
Some members of your staff may feel they are too busy to share your content. That’s why you should use a social media management platform like HubSpot. Part of the marketing automation software leader’s CMS is the functionality to run paid ads and post organic social content from multiple accounts at once, without having to go into Twitter or Facebook.
Even better, you can post onto multiple accounts from one dashboard, making it easy to manage multiple channels.
Your initial thoughts might be to manage the accounts for your senior management team, the people who are already thought leaders. However, normal employee posts are usually better received with social media audiences.
We recommend identifying some key influencers and top contributors within your organisation and, with their permission, posting from their accounts.
Why do prospects trust employee accounts over business accounts?
As mentioned, employee advocacy is viewed as more authentic than posts from a business account. When employees amplify your posts, they reach a wider audience and seem more trustworthy than your official posts.
The reason is simple. Many people view company social media accounts as a selling tool. Users are aware that the end objective of your company account is to promote products and services and, ultimately, to make sales.
However, people trust posts on employee accounts because their followers respect and listen to what your employee has to say. An employee’s social media post about your company’s charitable donation is likely to be seen as a celebration rather than a self-serving action.
Encouraging your team
The trickiest step is getting team member buy-in. Sure, competitions are great, but making employee amplification a longstanding pillar of your social media strategy is a difficult, but achievable goal.
One of the most effective things you can do is set some guidelines. Staff might wonder how they should respond to comments on their feeds or what kind of language they should use.
Setting employee advocacy guidelines will not only add clarity, it will also allow you to have tighter control over your brand. Some guidelines will be common sense (e.g. don’t swear!) but other, more specific directions might be determined by your brand or legal department.
Guidelines will help employees establish trust. They won’t have to worry about breaking any unknown rules or regulations. Plus, employees who trust their employer are twice as likely to post company content.
However, this should be part of the wider workplace culture. Making your employees feel part of a wider purpose, determined by your company objectives and values, can create a high-trust environment.
So, now you’ve made employee advocacy and amplification part of your social media strategy by following the easy steps outlined in this blog post, what can you expect to achieve?
Quick results include eight times more engagement, four times brand awareness compared to paid social, greater online visibility and seven times more leads.
Talk to ESM Inbound about utilising HubSpot’s social media content manager today.
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