Like many people, I practically live on my smartphone – or as I call it, my “Magical Brick.” When I’m scrolling through my news feeds, something interesting or fun will often catch my eye. And then I’ll get a little adrenaline rush by quickly posting it on Facebook or LinkedIn so others in my social network circle can enjoy it, too.
That’s the beauty of social media – sharing. It gives you the chance to be part of a broader conversation. It’s also the power behind Employee Advocacy.
As you probably know, there recently have been many changes in the social media landscape. However, our message at Dynamic Signal is that Employee Advocacy has never been stronger. Even though trust in institutions is plunging, people still trust other people. Friends. Family. Co-workers.
When we see something that has been shared by someone we know, it stands out. We notice. But the challenge for organizations can be getting employees to share something in the first place. That’s why compelling content is the bedrock foundation of a strong Employee Advocacy program.
Our Sharing Best Practices series is exploring the different components that go into empowering employees to become true brand ambassadors. And we’re beginning with perhaps the most crucial element: content.
It’s crucial to seed your Employee Communication and Engagement Platform with significant, relevant content that will keep people informed and even excite them. But you also want to deliver riveting information because that’s what they will want to share. The goal is always to post articles and start conversations that are so good that employees will be eager to show and tell everyone they know.
So how do you build that bank of content? I’m glad you asked!
The phrase is Employee Advocacy. It’s not Organization Advocacy. If you want an employee to be an authentic advocate for the company, you better be tailoring content so that it’s relevant and personalized to that person. If it’s not essential to them, they won’t share it. Employees are much more likely to share an article about, say, something interesting happening at their work location rather than an event at a far-flung corporate headquarters that has no impact on their lives.
The best place to look for content is the most important part of your organization – your employees. Encourage them to create content. Short success stories at work. Great things their co-workers are doing. Why they’re proud of the company. These are personal stories, and they will resonate on social media. They will likely be the kinds of posts that will be re-shared because they’re about real people, not impersonal, corporate initiative.
Sutter Health, a Dynamic Signal customer, is an excellent example of focusing on these “smaller” moments to tell a larger story. Employees at the healthcare system have been empowered to share content such as photos that highlight the great experiences they create for patients. In just eight months, employees generated 1,800 pieces of content, created 24,600 shares, and made 4,200 comments on posts. This engagement demonstrates how dedicated employees are working hard every day to improve the health of their patients.
Dynamic Signal also has created a regular series of short videos called Rapid Fire Friday that gives the public a glimpse to the people behind the company. Each week, an employee answers five fun questions about themselves in quick succession. The content goes viral throughout the company – and on social media when shared. On average, the Dynamic Signal Rapid Fire Friday series had a 13 percent share rate on different social media channels such as LinkedIn.
When content is authentic, it gets shared.
One way to draw employees to the ECE Platform is to post content that is not available anywhere else. Exclusivity creates interest and increases the likelihood of sharing. Look at it this way: If your employees are excited about something, think how excited they’ll be to share it with people they know.
Luxury automaker BMW uses its platform as a place where communication administrators create and curate exclusive content. The result: The automaker saw a 300-percent increase in the amount of company-produced content employees shared on their personal channels. The bottom-line impact of increased brand awareness is profound because BMW estimates that each automobile sold per dealership, per month, translates to $1.2 billion in additional revenue.
You don’t have to generate content organically. Add outside content to the mix about your industry, media coverage about the organization, or just interesting information that will matter to your employees. It drives greater employee engagement with the platform. Finding this third-party content can often be a challenge and very time consuming. This is why Dynamic Signal created our SmartContent feature which enables you as the Communicator to have great quality, third-party content, delivered directly to you for you to review and include as you see fit. This enables you to spend your time focused on getting more employees into the platform rather than combing the web for great content.
Mobilizing employees around events by giving them the right content to share. One great example is a well-known consulting company that has a presence at the annual Davos World Economic Forum.
In 2018, the firm turned 200 employees into passionate advocates to create awareness at the famous conference. During a week-long campaign, it provided Davos-related content that employees turned into 9,000 shares that produced nearly 13 million social media impressions and reached a total of 135 million people. That was a 3,000-percent increase from the company’s social media presence at Davos in 2017.
Make your employees shine with their personal networks by giving them content that helps demonstrate that they’re experts in their field and industry.
Consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton generates content that helps employees impress clients and establishes their personal brands on social media. In one year alone, 26,000 pieces of content were shared by employees on social media, generating 25 million impressions and driving more than 2,000 additional website visits. In addition to Employee Advocacy, the engagement rate with company communication has grown to 75 percent among employees.
Good Works = Great Advocacy
Employees – especially younger workers – want to work at companies that share their values and act like good corporate citizens. In a competitive job market, socially conscious companies have a leg up on the competition.
Savvy organizations take social responsibility seriously. They make it possible for employees to donate time and energy to good causes. An easy way to boost sharing is to encourage employees to post photos of that company park clean-up day, short posts about volunteering at a local soup kitchen, or more widely disseminate that statement from the CEO about the importance of inclusiveness in the workplace. The bonus is that kind of content is a great recruiting tool.
Remember that content is not only about words. On social media, whole conversations can occur without any text. Posts and responses consist of gifs, memes, emojis, images. That’s especially the case on a platform like Twitter. You don’t need to write like Hemingway for something to go viral.
Again, the content that catches the attention of employees is what they’re most likely to share. Often it will be something that showcases how the employee works for a fresh, innovative company. In other words, it’s a fun place.
STRATEGY AND TACTICS
Finally, once you have the content, what can you do to encourage your employees to engage with the content and share it? Here are some quick tips and tricks.
- Create clear calls to action. Make sure to remind and encourage employees when content is shareable on their social networks.
- Build a theme to your shareable messages. What overall story are you trying to tell? Sutter Health has a clear strategy of building a narrative around great patient experiences. What’s yours?
- Provide context to the content. Let employees know why something is relevant to them and might also be of interest to their social networks.
- Broadcast your content effectively. Within Dynamic Signal, you can broadcast your content and target your employees by creating categories where they can subscribe. Get the right content to the right employees faster. Keep them engaged with all the content you’re putting together for them. For instance, Dynamic Signal saw an average engagement rate of 83 percent on broadcasts that were curated newsletters.
These are just a few ideas to help jumpstart your content sharing. Do you have other good ideas? Please let us know, and we’ll be glad to share!
Over the next few weeks, we’ll tackle other Sharing Best Practices around “Employee Recognition” and “Getting More Employees to Become Advocates.” So, stay tuned!