Getting people across your company to share content is a critical part of a successful employee advocacy program.
But it isn’t easy.
You’re often dealing with blockers, such as a lack of employee confidence, to broader issues related to planning and strategy. Worse, you may stumble across these obstacles both earlier and later in your employee advocacy efforts.
The keys to rallying employees to share content involve creating buy-in, eliminating blockers and building momentum.
Whether you’re starting out or are rejuvenating your employee advocacy program, here are 11 tips that have helped other marketing teams drive more employee engagement.
1. Send Out a Survey
Surveys are an effective way to understand who you’re relying on to share content.
You can get visibility on the social media platforms that your team members are most active in or prefer using. You could potentially see how many contacts each employee has and the types of people in their audiences. You could also learn how much each employee is willing or able to commit in terms of sharing.
Surveys can also give employees a way to give you feedback on the types of content that they prefer sharing or resonates with their networks.
This two-way communication tool helps you create content that aligns with your wider team’s interests. It also helps you tailor the content to the actual networks you’re sharing to; this can improve engagement (e.g. likes, comments, etc) and shareability outside of your company.
2. Build a Social Media Policy
Your social media policy is a central source of reference for how employees should conduct themselves on those platforms. However, a well-written policy can also encourage team-wide social media use by eliminating certain individual blockers.
For example, if an employee is concerned about making a mistake, they can refer to the policy to get a concrete idea of what they’re allowed (and not allowed) to do.
Likewise, you can also use the policy as a place to document best practices for each of the social media platforms you’re targeting. It can serve as a starting point for a team member who’s new to a particular platform or to sharing your company’s content.
In any case, it’s a great resource for empowering your employees to engage on social media while comfortably carrying your company’s best interests.
3. Make KPIs Visible to the Team
You’re likely using social media KPIs to track the effectiveness of your efforts. But you can also make those KPIs visible to the wider team so that they know why they’re sharing the content.
For example, you may tie growth in engagement metrics (e.g., likes and comments) with growth in your company’s thought leadership. This way, your employees will know the point behind the content they’re sharing. They can also think about how to reach your goals when sharing too.
This approach has a two-way benefit. It reinforces the importance of social sharing to the wider team, but it also gives you more visibility into what works and what doesn’t.
4. Find Your Social Superheroes
See who’s sharing your content the most and who has the most engaging networks on each of your target social media platforms.
Not only are these individuals your leading social media drivers, but they’re also invaluable for understanding what content works for each platform. Get their feedback on the content you’re already producing and their input for what’s coming in the pipeline.
You should also think of ways to both encourage them to keep sharing and to evangelize the effort so that the wider team catches on too.
5. Create Useful Content
According to a study by the New York Times Customer Insight Group, 94% of respondents said they would share content they personally feel is useful to their audiences. So, aligning with your employees on the content they think is valuable is key to encouraging more sharing.
Once you have those insights, you can create a healthy mix of useful and intriguing content:
Spotlight Departments/Employees in Your Company
You can cast a spotlight on departments or specific employees in your company. This is a good way to both celebrate internal achievements and showcase company strengths across product development, culture, sales, and other areas. It also encourages sharing because it celebrates the work of the wider team.
Build Guide/How-To Content
How-to content is a good way to involve your employees in creating materials. They can serve as subject matter experts who you can quote or interview. They can even run a webinar.
In turn, your employees would feel encouraged to share the content because it directly involves them and positions them as a credible resource to their personal networks.
Show Expertise in Your Industry
People like sharing content they find useful for themselves and their networks. You could create content that delivers research, data and/or original insights. Focus on providing readers a sense that they are gaining forward visibility or business intelligence from your work.
Interestingly, this can be another way of spotlighting specific departments and team members in your company. For example, your customer success team would have valuable data or insights about real-world client challenges. You can create a report based on that information and quote specific team members for insights or recommendations.
Share Third-Party Content
Don’t shy away from sharing content from other publishers if they’re relevant to your industry and target markets. You can even invite suggestions from your employees on the content they found useful and, in turn, encourage the wider team to share it.
6. Eliminate Blockers
There are a number of blockers that may be stopping your employees from sharing as much content as they could. In our experience, the most common blockers are the following:
Not Enough Time
Granted, not every person in your company can commit to sharing content. But in a lot cases, the blocker could have more to do with the process of completing the task than the idea.
You may need to review how you’re coordinating team-wide content sharing. For example, is the content available in a centralized and easily accessible location? Can employees share content to your target networks in a quick and seamless manner? Can people schedule their posts?
Don’t See the Benefit of Sharing Content
This is where getting employee input – and participation – in content development is key. You want to create scenarios where there’s something in it for them.
Your team can also convey the benefits of having a strong social media presence at the individual level. You can talk about how a strong profile helps with networking, building thought leadership and generating new leads or sales opportunities.
For example, in our experience at PostBeyond, we found that one in four sales reps reported that social media advocacy shortened their sales cycles.
In addition, you can also build a leaderboard and gamify the process. Perhaps you can even reward top performers each month or quarter with recognition and gifts.
Lack of Confidence
You may have employees who are worried that no one will engage with their posts.
You could remedy the issue by emphasizing that consistency and following best practices is the starting point for every employee. Basically, emphasize that you care about the journey as much – or more – than the destination, at least in the beginning.
You can also encourage the company employees to connect with one another and actively like, share and comment on each other’s posts. This can help drive some momentum towards each team member’s posts and, potentially, generate more visibility.
In the long-run, you should offer the team workshops or webinars that coach people on how to improve their social media engagement metrics.
7. Make It Easy for Them to Get Involved
Engaging on social media isn’t easy. Not everyone is necessarily familiar with every platform, or even aware of every feature in the platforms they’re already using. Here are ways you can help.
Improve Social Media Profiles
Be it a missing headshot or lack of customization, you could be dealing with incomplete social media profiles. To remedy this gap you can create a how-to or best practices guide for each of the platforms you’re targeting (see our article on underused LinkedIn features for example).
Provide Knowledge on Target Platforms
Not everyone is active on every major social media platform. You can fill in knowledge gaps by setting up how-to and best practices guides on how to share content for each platform. Besides explaining how to technically post content, you can also list the best days and times for sharing as well as recommended hashtags and other details.
8. Notify the Team
You can look into pushing content into the wider team’s radar. For example, you can use your company communication tool (e.g., Slack, Teams, etc) to notify the team about new content, or send a regular email newsletter.
9. Encourage Employee Input
We touched on this point a few times earlier, but you should make employee input a key part of your content creation process. Not only are you creating an incentive for the wider team to care about the work and share it, but you’ll also get access to a lot of valuable information.
You can position your employees as subject matter experts and produce blog articles, podcasts, interviews, case studies and other collateral with their help.
You should also give the wider team a chance to drive content creation too. If you have a social media policy in place, you can let employees ideate and produce their own content.
The user-generated content will add more authenticity to your brand and supplement your own content creation efforts in both volume and mix.
10. Motivate Your Team to Share
Motivation is key to both getting a start and sustaining momentum. Even if employees are sharing content, look at using leaderboards, contests and rewards to keep them engaged.
You should also spotlight or give a shout-out to employees who are both starting out and pushing their effort to new levels. Let them know that you recognize and appreciate their commitment.
11. Lead by Example
Finally, take the lead. You’re the social media expert in the company, so everyone could look to you for examples of how to share content and drive engagement. You should be the first one to share content, like and comment on employee posts and provide moral support to everyone.