Find out the key reasons why your employee aren’t sharing company content and how you can cure them.
Without needing to do too much research, it’s a given that most companies and business leaders would love for their employees to share more of their content. There are numerous reasons why too. Like knowing that employees social accounts combined have 10x the number of followers as their companies, or that they’re likely to get twice the engagement on a post.
But there’s more to it than just figures alone. An employee who engages with company content is one who’s engaged with your brand and is ultimately connected to you. They’re not just promoting your products either, they’re confident in standing out as an ambassador and in some cases a trusted expert in whatever it is that you provide as a product or service.
So then, with so many benefits why aren’t more employees sharing company content? From our own research and experience, we’ve encountered 4 key barriers and have managed to respond to all of them with positive actions that you can start today.
Barrier 1: Risk
The number one response we’ve encountered from employees relating to sharing is “I don’t know what I’m allowed to share”. From their employers? “We don’t want our employees sharing the wrong thing”. So risk works both ways.
Our own research shows that 60% of employees said they would probably or definitely be more likely to create or share company content if employers made it easier to do so. So what are we to do?
Believe it or not, risk is an easy barrier to break down, all it requires is a little conversation. It starts with the business setting out what it actually wants to achieve from an employee advocacy program. Is it simply better engagement with marketing content, is it to better promote philanthropic schemes or charity work, or is it to increase sales of a particular group of products? - Hint: It can and should be all of those things.
Once you know what your goals are as a business, you’ll know what sort of content you want to amplify through your advocacy program. At its most basic level, this could be just your company blog, but it can literally be anything that your customers can engage with.
Next, it’s time to bring in your employees by creating a framework for using social media at work (yes it should be encouraged!). This doesn’t need to be made of rules but more a guideline that actually gives your employees the permission that they desire to share content. Of course, you can also create a social media training program to ensure that everyone is on the same level too. From the employee's’ perspective, they are now liberated a) to use social media safely at work and b) by knowing what content they should be sharing.
NOTE: Social media already is and will become more vital to your business. The sooner you can incorporate social media into your overall company culture, the better.
Barrier 2: Motivation
As humans we're hard wired to say “What’s in it for me?”. Just as trust is of vital importance to customers, it’s the same for employees and their business leaders too.
Let’s say you're a marketing manager and you’re pitching the idea of an advocacy program to your director, it’s probably the first question running through their head. If you’re the director pitching it to your team and other departments, you can bet they’ll be asking the same question.
So, what is in it for everyone? To get buy-in from your business, you can follow the same steps as above to demonstrate its value, by creating goals then choosing the appropriate content and framework to drive them.
Motivating your employees to share company content is a lot more subjective as it really depends on your team and what drives you. Some employees are already bought into their brand from the moment they wake up to the moment they rest, others respond better to perks and prizes. Perks and prizes don’t necessarily have to be a shopping voucher or an extra day off (although these are very effective), top performers can be rewarded with a donation to their favourite charity or a team meal at a restaurant of their choice.
This is why we’re obsessed with gamification at DSMN8. Set up a leaderboard and fun challenges for your team and keep content sharing detached from their everyday jobs.
If you’re a department leader, you know your people better than anyone and if you are unsure how to reward your best advocates just ask them. The more you can include everyone, the more rewarding the program will become for all.
Barrier 3: Relevance
“I don’t think my followers would care about our latest blog or product”, we hear this one a lot. People are precious about their personal audiences and rightly so - I work for an Employee Advocacy firm but I still don’t bombard all of my networks with work stuff.
When you’re creating your framework for social media at work, it’s important that you remind employees that their accounts are their own and you’re not invading their personal space. You should also include some guidance for segmenting their ‘professional audience’ from their ‘personal audience’
For example, I use my Facebook account for connecting with friends and family (personal audience) and I use LinkedIn for nurturing my own personal brand (professional audience). I didn’t have a Twitter account until very recently, but when I did eventually set one up I made the decision that ‘this will nurture my personal brand’ just like LinkedIn.
Setting up a Twitter account and vamping up your LinkedIn profile can be done in a day and they’re the most popular places to boost professional connections online. So, I may share some content related to work on Facebook (so long as I think my personal audience will appreciate it), but I use Twitter and LinkedIn for most of my professional efforts. Making that distinction early on makes my sharing experience comfortable and more rewarding.
Barrier 4: Accessibility
Who isn’t busy nowadays? With everything online moving at such a fast pace, it can be a tough to avoid missing opportunities to share prime company content. But there are a few ways you can help employees stay at the top of their sharing game.
One of the best manual methods is email notifications. This can be as easy as your employees signing up to the company’s RSS blog feed. This way they can be notified by email every time new content is published, which is a great option if one of your goals is to drive more visitors to your blog.
If your employee advocacy program branches across various departments (and there’s nothing stopping it from doing so), you could split your employees into teams based around specific content. So for example if you’re an electronics manufacturer, the sales department in your vacuum cleaner division could be solely charged with sharing content about that.
The most ideal option is dedicated software that allows employees to login, scroll through all the latest content and share it across multiple platforms at the touch of a button.
It’s important that you should address all four of these potential barriers before embarking on your own employee advocacy program. But the reward could be a long lasting and successful sharing culture that is built to grow and evolve, the more prolific your advocates become.