How to Increase Sharing in a Time of Social Media Change
We live in a time of eroding trust. Belief in institutions and organizations has plunged to an all-time low. But people still trust other people – friends, co-workers, family. That’s why there is such great power in Employee Advocacy. Spreading your message to the world through the authentic voices of your employees can cut through this era’s overwhelming lack of faith and skepticism because it contains that one, essential ingredient – trust.
But recently we’ve also seen profound changes in the social media landscape. Twitter and Instagram have implemented new platform guidelines. Facebook will be introducing revised rules soon, too. Social media managers and marketers like you may be confused, and maybe even a little concerned, about the impact they will have on the reach of your Employee Advocacy efforts.
Our message to you – don’t worry.
As your trusted advisor and the leader in Employee Communication and Engagement, we can help you adapt to ensure your social media influence continues to grow and your employees feel more connected to your organization. Because we work with more than 350 customers, we see innovative strategies being used around the world to drive exceptional results.
Here’s what you need to know to win in the evolving world of Employee Advocacy.
Factors That Impact Sharing
The recent changes to social media absolutely mean you need to adjust your program strategies. But there are other contributing factors that impact sharing.
If you have great content that’s interesting and employees want to share with their personal networks, guess what? They will share it. But if it’s not compelling, they won’t. It’s that simple. You need to have a steady flow of great content that makes your employees want to share.
When you only provide content for employees to share, you treat employees as media outlets and not valued insiders. By providing a steady stream of insider content that can include executive insights, employee stories, and strategic priorities, employees develop deeper connections to the company. Then, they will be more likely to share the content that is intended for a wider audience. Think of it as a win-win for your organization – increased employee engagement and more advocacy.
When employees are away from work, they are less likely to share your organization’s content. Holidays and vacations always play a role in Employee Advocacy.
Sharing results are rarely steady. There will be peaks and valleys in any program. The key to maintaining momentum and avoiding prolonged droughts is to give employees a constant stream of content they can easily share – and are eager to share.
Adapting to Twitter Changes
Twitter recently announced modifications to its API guidelines in the attempt to crack down on bad actors who were gaming the platform to shape public opinion through the use of “bots.” Twitter banned the simultaneous posting of “identical or substantially similar” tweets from multiple accounts and removed suggested share text (other than @ mentions and hashtags). But an unfortunate consequence of those changes was to impact how organizations legitimately use Twitter for Employee Advocacy.
We know this may trouble some social media managers and marketers. But we believe these modifications actually improve the overall quality of sharing by your employees because quality and engagement are more important than volume. In fact, we’ve found that employees who personalize their share text for a tweet actually see an engagement rate that is four to six times greater than the robotic sharing that Twitter previously allowed.
So, here are some tactics to help you increase the number of shares on Twitter (as well as Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and other social networks) and improve engagement with those messages.
Segment your Power Employees
Create a group of your top Twitter users based on the following metrics:
- Reach and Influence: Followers and reach per share
- Engagement: Reactions and reactions per share
- Sharing Quality: Clicks per share and total shares
- Clicks: Total clicks per post
Encourage Power Employees to Find Their Own Voice
Explain the benefit to them of using their own, authentic voice and inform them of the value of Twitter shares to both them (thought-leadership) and their organization (Earned Media Value).
- Set-up broadcasts for power users to segment them so they can share first
- In the note to the employees’ section of the post, add the key points for them to mention in their tweet
- Use leaderboard/gamification to recognize the most impactful Twitter users and reward them publicly
Focus on Quality Metrics, Not Quantity Metrics
Twitter is a firehose of content. But here’s the reality for your business: There’s only value for the content that reaches people and leads them to react (click, like, retweet). Measure the success of your program on clicks and reactions per share.
Leverage Twitter Beyond Post/Broadcast Sharing
Engage with your employees to share, like, retweet with your executive content through the native Twitter connectors within Dynamic Signal.
Getting More Employees to become Advocates
Expanding the number of employees using the platform increases the likelihood that more people will be sharing content.
- Communicate More Broadly with Employees: Using Dynamic Signal for internal communication will drive more advocacy because employees feel informed and valued.
- Set Recruitment Targets: The more people that are viewing content and engaging with it, the more people that will share it. We have seen a more than 25-percent increase in sharing when the platform is rolled out to the entire organization.
- Employee Onboarding: Incorporate Employee Advocacy (including branding and messaging training) into your onboarding process. HR should pre-register all new employees and then those workers should receive an automated email to sign up as part of the onboarding flow.
- Segment Your Employees: Identify power users and members with specific topical expertise, and then target content accordingly
- Recognize and Celebrate Influencers: Highlight employees who are active on the platform, write pithy personalized comments when they share, and drive engagement with your target audience. People like to know that their contributions are valued – even digital ones.
Content is what drives visitors to the platform. And when employees see content that informs, excites and is pre-approved by the organization, they are more likely to share it with their personal networks. Employee Advocacy is a byproduct of strong internal communication. For this reason, you need to make the platform a one-stop-shopping place for informative news about the company and the industry, as well as other interesting content relevant to your employees.
- Relevant, Diverse Content: People want to read articles, watch videos, and participate in conversations around interesting subjects that are important to their lives – professionally, personally, and socially. Strong content increases engagement and sharing.
- Employees Submitted Content: When employees submit content, it creates a greater sense of community. It also ensures a wider range of content, perspectives, and interests that can drive engagement and sharing.
- Exclusive Content: Post content that is only available on the platform. This draws employees back to the platform on a regular basis so they can be the first-to-know and then share.
- Third-Party Content: Post stories about the company or your industry that come from different sources. People are interested in varied perspectives and points of view. That’s why creating a mix of content from different sources can be effective.
- Non-Work-Related Content: Information about health and wellness, or career development not only will be of interest to employees but also their networks.
- Leadership Videos: Executive videos about organizational goals, accomplishments, and coming events increase engagement and employees’ sense of belonging. This makes it more likely for them to become company advocates.
- Employee Feedback: Providing employees the opportunity to be heard also makes them feel more valued and want to be ambassadors for the organization. This could be done through surveys or internal comments where the company responds and creates a dialogue.
- Showcase employee stories: Employees are likely to share externally about people they actually know. Create content, or encourage them to create their own content, that features employees.
- Broadcasts: Send at least one per day that directs employees to interesting content. Research shows that pushing relevant content to employees increases engagement. The key is finding the balance between being annoying and being helpful. Data shows that sending between two and three relevant broadcasts per day to employees is that sweet spot.
- Cross-promote content: Highlight content that you are using in paid campaigns. This can increase your Earned Media Value through both paid and trusted Employee Advocacy.
- Leverage Affinity Groups: Highlight interests and affiliations inside the organization (volunteering, women’s groups, veterans, etc.). Enabling employees to subscribe to categories reflecting their own interests (category subscriptions) can reduce clutter and target content to the right folks who are likely to share.
Public acknowledgment is a great way to drive more employee shares of content.
- Gamification: Create contests with recognition and rewards. Award prizes being on top of the leaderboard. Developing a competitive spirit will drive many people to participate more than trying to win a prize. Increase the point total awarded to Twitter to encourage sharing on that platform.
- Managers Recognize Effective Sharing: When managers acknowledge and encourage sharing, employees understand that the organization really does value social media presence.
- Leverage ‘Share Image Only’ Functionality: Make photos from company events (picnics, volunteer events, town halls) shareable. It shows the human side of the organization.
- Start a “Twitter Done Right” Series: Display screenshots of employee tweets that are great examples for others to follow. Showcase the Twitter handle, employee name, number of followers, why we like it (clever, memorable, uses good hashtags, offers a personal perspective, etc.) This will also help to educate colleagues.
A Final Thought to Share
We know the recent changes to social media platforms may be disconcerting and worrisome. But we’ve got your back. Dynamic Signal is continuing to make adjustments to our platform to ensure that customers will have even greater success with Employee Advocacy.
And we’ll continue to be your trusted Employee Communication and Engagement advisor through all the other changes that undoubtedly will be coming in the future.