When you’ve put the time and effort into producing some relevant content for your business or organisation’s website the next step is to try to promote that piece to as wide an audience as possible. Of course that’s easier said than done, particularly if you are still building up your corporate social media channels and don’t quite have as large a following as you would like.
So what do you do to get your content out to a wider audience without spending money ‘boosting’ your content through paid social media?
Well, one resource that seems to be regularly undervalued by companies and organisations is their own employee network. Practically all members of staff are active on social media and have their own personal channels. A lot of people are quite happy to share relevant corporate content with their personal networks. All their employers need to do is to ask – to create a culture that encourages this type of activity.
The most obvious social media channel for leveraging an employee network is of course LinkedIn. LinkedIn, by its very nature, is there to showcase our professional lives. That’s how companies and organisations use it. It’s also how individuals use it. People who have an active profile on LinkedIn generally want their networks to have a sense of what they are working at.
LinkedIn is also particularly important for promoting B2B focused corporate objectives. 80% of all B2B social leads come from LinkedIn, with Twitter accounting for 13% and only 7% from Facebook.
80% of all B2B social leads come from LinkedIn, with Twitter accounting for 13% and only 7% from Facebook.
Another relevant statistic is that LinkedIn accounts for 50% of all B2B website traffic coming from social channels (Source: Hootesuite). This underlines the impact that can be made through LinkedIn.
To maximise that effectiveness, companies and organisations need to create a strategic partnership with their staff around the promotion (ie sharing) of interesting content.
Creating a strategic social sharing partnership with employees
The first step in creating that partnership is to ask. Any request of this nature should also include an explanation of why this step is being taken. Employees should be given an understanding of the strategy as well as a sense of involvement. If this is successfully done then are far more likely to want to act as social media advocates.
Making that case and providing that understanding is relatively simple. The rationale for utilising employee social sharing on LinkedIn comes down to common sense.
Generally speaking – whether it is a large company, an SME or a voluntary organisation – the number of followers a business/ organisation has on LinkedIn will be far fewer than the number of followers of their employees.
So for example if a business which employs 10 people has a decent LinkedIn audience (say 500 followers), if no one shares a piece of content then the total potential audience is 500.
However if they were to get just two employees (let’s call them Employee A and Employee B) to share the content to their networks, then the potential audience grows substantially. In this case Employee A has a following of 800 and Employee B has a network of 700, meaning the total audience for the content has grown by 1,500 or 300%.
Even if only one employee shared the content and they had a small following on LinkedIn (let’s say 20 connections), that is still an audience of 20 that might not otherwise be reached.
Whether it is a large company, an SME or a voluntary organisation – the number of followers a business/ organisation has on LinkedIn will be far fewer than the number of followers of their employees.
Sharing also increases the credibility of content. On social media we can generally see how many people who have liked or shared a particular post. The more interactions a post has had, the more it strokes our curiosity and the more we are likely to follow suit in liking and sharing it. Likes beget likes and shares beget shares. LinkedIn research shows that employees get double the click-through rate of their companies when it comes to shared content.
By having people we know associated with a particular piece of content it also makes it more personally relevant for us. We may not initially be interested in what Company X has to say, but we may be more likely to give it our time if our friend, colleague or contact is sharing that content. This is natural, the content is no longer just coming from a brand, it also is coming from an actual person.
What’s in it for the employees?
There are also benefits to this strategy for the employees themselves.
Firstly by sharing content they are also highlighting their expertise to their networks. A lot of employees will add a comment or insight to the post they are sharing, which gives them partial ‘ownership’ of the content they are sharing. By sharing a piece of corporate content, the subtext is ‘this is the type of work that I do’.
By sharing content [employees] are more likely to appear on the feeds of their connections – keeping them in the forefront of people’s minds.
The other personal impact for employees who partake in social sharing strategy is that it provides them with a regular source of relevant content to communicate with their networks. By sharing content they are more likely to appear on the feeds of their connections – keeping them in the forefront of people’s minds.
This is beneficial on multiple professional levels. It keeps an individual relevant when a connection may have a professional need, helping them to bring in business or to create new professional partnership.
It ensures that they are recognised by their networks for their skills, expertise and experience – reducing the well established issue of networks not actually knowing what an individual does on a professional basis.
Really fostering employee sharing, particularly on LinkedIn, is a win-win for the company/ organisation and their employees. Which is why it is always surprising that more businesses/ organisations don’t utilise this effective, simple digital marketing strategy.