It’s probably a thought you’ve had during every marketing planning session: “How can I get more out of my social media marketing efforts without spending more money?” You may be overlooking one area of great potential: employee advocacy.
Whether your business is very small or quite large, employee advocacy on social media is an exceptional way give your digital content a broader reach and more engagement, often without much — if any — extra cost. Your employees can help spread the word about your thought leadership and new products while growing their own networks.
Buyers are Doing Their Own Research
B2B companies can benefit greatly from employee engagement in social media marketing. In the telecom and IT industry, for example, 39% of buyers research and finalize decisions on their own before dealing with the seller. The more your employees are helping to share your thought leadership content, the more likely buyers are to discover it in their social media searches.
Letting employees know how helpful they can be to the company’s social media marketing efforts is key to encouraging them to participate. By showing that social media is a real lead generation tool, you can demonstrate the value of their efforts.
LinkedIn has lots of stats about the value of social media for B2B marketers. According to its data, 37% of business decision makers and 41% of C-Suite executives have RFP’d a vendor because of their thought leadership content. Regardless of how you feel about social media, the numbers demonstrate that it’s no longer optional.
Social Media as a Sales Tool
It’s not just inbound activity that can benefit from employee advocacy. In many ways, social media is a sales tool, particularly on LinkedIn. According to LinkedIn, salespeople who regularly share quality content are 45% more likely to exceed quota. Consistently supplying your sales people with quality social media content will give them an advantage.
Sales people who share your thought leadership and quality content look like thought leaders to their own audience. They can also expand their network of prospects and generate leads simply by sharing what you have already posted on your company social media pages. As long as your content provides value to your company’s and sales people’s target audience, sharing thought leadership is a great way to expand your social reach.
Lead by Example
Nothing demonstrates dedication to a strategy like buy-in from those at the top. Encourage those in leadership positions at your company to be employee advocates on social media. Not only will this show your team how to get involved, it can also greatly help expand the business network of your company leaders.
Executives can give their own spin on a piece of thought leadership. All of the major social media platforms have “share” features that let you add comments to the post you are sharing. Adding a comment to a share personalizes the article to that person and their audience.
Taking a step back, executives can also contribute original pieces of thought leadership to add to the pool of content available to your company. This will diversify the blogs you are putting out there, and add character to your thought leadership. Employees may also feel more encouraged to share a blog if it was written by a specific executive in the company.
Choosing a Social Network to Focus On
As a marketing director or social media manager, you should already have an idea of which social networks have historically returned the best results for your campaigns.
If you aren’t sure, test your content on a few networks, and survey your employees to see which networks most of them are already using. For most companies, the network that makes the most sense is LinkedIn, as it is already set up to be workplace-appropriate. Also take note of which networks your target audience primarily uses.
Using those three factors, you can hone in on which social network to pursue for employee advocacy. Basically, your decision making process should look like this:
Once you have your social network of choice picked out, the next steps are to get buy-in from key stakeholders, and refine the nuts and bolts of your strategy.
The actual process of employee advocacy can look different for large and small companies, but in a broad sense it is the same. Small companies can get away with using intra-company emails to indicate a post to be shared. Large companies would benefit from investing in an employee advocacy software program — of which there are many — to help manage the large number of employees.
Overall, employee advocacy on social media is a great way to accomplish a variety of marketing goals without a huge investment. At Mojo, we use employee advocacy to promote our top content, and give key posts an organic boost on social media. If you’re looking for help getting your employees more involved in your social media efforts, drop us a line, we would be happy to talk.