Since the emergence of social media, companies have to one degree or another, begun to look at ways to activate their employees as an extension their marketing efforts by encouraging them to share company content online.
The problem they often encounter is either that,
- the content they are asking employees to share is not, in fact, shareworthy, or
- they haven’t explained why sharing such content benefits the company and, more importantly, the employees themselves.
LinkedIn has recognized this several years ago when the company rolled out its Elevate program for large companies. It is essentially a social sharing service designed specifically to help individual employees share content and, in the process, raise their own profile as a topic expert.
Companies use LinkedIn Elevate to curate links with pre-written posts for employees to share. Employees can then use a mobile app to easily check for content and share it with their own social networks.
Companies need to think clearly about what content they are asking employees to share and whether that content would likely be of value to those employees’ social networks.
Nobody wants to feel like a shill for their employer. But people are perfectly happy to share:
- Things that make them proud of being an employee, such as their company’s community involvement or charitable giving;
- Things that make themselves look good, like industry news and trends that demonstrate the employee is on top of their profession; and
- Things that would be valuable to their individual social networks, such as job openings.
It starts with a thoughtful approach to what you want employees to share.
The next step is identifying employees that would be naturals for sharing such content. These are likely the employees who are already active on social networks. Think about including them on a special social media committee and elevate their status as ambassadors for your social sharing program companywide.
Another consideration is identifying your company’s internal experts and offering them social marketing and personal branding training to extend their professional expertise online.
Tap these people as sources of company-branded thought leadership content. Ask them to write for the company blog or sit them down for a video or podcast interview. Since the resulting content is a product of their own expertise, they will likely be more than happy to share it with thier social networks if they know how.
Ultimately, activating your employees to be ambassadors for your company brand online is a balance between thoughtful content, grooming the appropriate employees, and understanding when, where and why employees are motivated to share company content.
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