Your employees are socially engaged, often present on several social media channels. Make sure they are motivated to share company content to their networks.
Whether or not you have an official Employee Advocacy program, you should think of your employees as your content’s delivery fleet. Different departments all interact with different segments of your audience - prospects, existing customers, the local community, etc.
They have Twitter accounts, LinkedIn connections, and even Facebook group memberships that connect them to your company’s network. So whenever you have an important project or piece of news, putting a piece of content in their hands is a great way to spread the word.
Content and information has become a staple of online business. We use it for marketing, for sales, for recruiting, for support – it comes in handy everywhere. It’s a piece of online currency. But way too often, only the team creating that content knows about it.
Let’s change that.
By incorporating parts of Employee Advocacy into your blogging or content marketing plan, you can create advocates and ambassadors for your company’s blog, or wherever else you publish content.
But here’s the tricky thing about online content – it has to add value and keep readers interested. A blog post or video, unlike a landing page or sales email, should help or excite your reader as much as it should persuade them to take your desired action.
So if you’re using content for something like recruiting, your strategy needs to be more than posting job announcements, for example. Especially if you want your employees to share it with their personal networks.
And if they do, you’ll be able to more quickly build your brand, generate leads or sales, and make connections within the industry for networking, thought leadership, or recruiting.
Here’s how you can create content for any initiative that will have employees itching to click “share,” and their networks aching to get involved.
1. Tell real stories
First and foremost, stories are an essential part of great content. Telling stories and talking about real people, especially for B2B companies like yours, can give a layer of emotion and and “humanness” onto topics that may otherwise be sort of dry.
For example, let’s say you want to use content to strengthen your employer brand. What do you think employees and their networks would be more interested in consuming and sharing:
- An informative, “this is why you should work here” blog post listing employee perks and benefits
- A blog post telling the stories of what your company does at teambuilding events, how you give back to your community, or what team members do in their free time that your company’s work/life balance provides
The second strategy seems more interesting, right?
A really great example of using content this way is Buffer. They have an entire separate blog dedicated to discussing working at the company, its values, and more. Buffer’s content strategy in general is all about stories, such as How Merriam-Webster Made Dictionaries Fun. By telling stories about company culture, employees have an easy way to share about their experiences working there in a natural, personal way.
2. Answer practical questions
Story-based content can appeal to your employees’ social and personal networks. But you can also make things more convenient for them by giving them content they can use in their jobs.
That means creating content that answers the questions they get asked on a daily basis. Instead of thinking about cool, new ideas for content, be practical and answer questions you’re already being asked.
This is where more educational content comes into play.
For example, a tutorial related to your product can be used by your sales team to demonstrate different use cases, or by your support team helping someone who’s having a tough time with the process.
One company that creates really useful content is Wistia, a video hosting company very popular with small businesses. Small businesses tend to have small video budgets, so Wistia shares lots of advice for producing better videos (to then use Wistia to host).
Take this DIY lighting tutorial that’s been viewed over 15,000 times:
It helps overcome a large barrier many Wistia audience members will have on their way to becoming customers: producing high-quality video to host in the first place.
3. Highlight your team and customers
Additionally, when you do tell stories and teach, make sure you highlight the real people involved with your company. This gives people a huge reason to share it - revealing something about themselves and rest of the team gives the audience someone to relate to, which compels them to share it in turn.
In the sales process especially, showing uses and successes from real people can motivate to buy. For your sales or marketing team, for example, having content like this in their back pocket to share and send makes their job a lot easier.
Trello, a project management tool, is great at highlighting how customers use their app. Using a storytelling format rather than a boring case study, they look into both basic and super unique ways customers use Trello, such as Toucan Toco:
4. Make it easy to share
Finally, it takes more than creating interesting content to make sure your employees share it. You also need to make sure employees know that the content exists and that they’re encouraged to share.
This is something that an Employee Advocacy program can define, or it can be built into your normal content promotion process. If you do have an official program, new content can be incorporated the way anything else would be.
If not, you’ll want to build steps around informing employees into promoting new content.
For example, you can send a regular email listing new content they have available to share on social media or in emails. If you have a team chat app or internal social network, content can be shared there when it goes live. You can even use a site like Hrefshare to create custom links to help employees share things on social media.
But even the best content doesn’t always get shared - you need to ask and make it easy to do so.
Use content to start conversations
Above all, content can be used by your team to start a conversation. Any kind, anywhere. But for that to work, your content needs to fit the conversations being held and cover the topics discussed in a way that connects.