Deliver Content for Employees to Share is Critical to Achieve Digital Success

Establish and understand the connection between content and what employees will love and share is critical to achieving digital success.

Deliver Content for Employees to Share is Critical to Achieve Digital Success
Deliver Content for Employees to Share is Critical to Achieve Digital Success. Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash

This article will explore the connection between content and employees as the greatest asset to be the voice of their brand. Also, provide tips and takeaways that will help you to determine how to distribute content to your employees so they will love sharing it with their audiences on social media.

Table of contents

The connection between content and your employees
How to decide what content to send to employees
How to distribute content to your employees
How to make it easy for employees to share your content
Ready to get started?

The connection between content and your employees

We are willing to bet you already know why Employee Advocacy matters. It makes perfect sense that companies would double down on their talent, empowering them to be the voice of their brand. Smart marketers understand that they have to be more authentic than ever to gain the trust of their audience. Therefore, Employee Advocacy has emerged as a great solution for brands that need to drive more reach, traffic, conversions, and leads from the content they’ve worked so hard to create.

That content (your social posts, white papers, company news, etc.) you’ve created is critical to the success of an advocacy program. We’re here to help you learn how the two work together and answer the questions we hear the most.

  • What content should you send to your employees?
  • How do you distribute that content to them?
  • How do you make it easy for them to share your content on social media?

It is our goal for you to walk away from this article with an understanding of exactly how you should approach content for your Employee Advocacy program.

And don’t worry, you’re not alone. We’ve answered these questions for hundreds of other marketers, at many of the largest companies in the world. We will help you tackle what has become one of the top marketing objectives in recent years.

Interest in Employee Advocacy has grown 191% since 2013, with 45% of marketers naming it a top objective. (Source: Altimeter)

How to decide what content to send to employees

There’s a good chance you already have a lot of content — most marketers do. It might be stale to you, but how many of your coworkers saw it, read it, and shared it with their audiences? For that reason, you should take a good look at your current content library, as well as content from relevant blogs, industry sources, analysts, and reporters in your space as the starting point of your curation for your advocacy program.

Before you even begin creating new content it’s smart to look at what you already have, and assess whether or not you’re sitting on a goldmine of content. You might find a ton of useful items that can be tweaked, reshaped, and reformatted to meet your employees and your audience’s needs.

When reviewing your current content, make sure it:

  • Will be interesting to your coworkers
  • Tells a great story they will relate to
  • Appeals to them and their audience
  • Helps them do their job
  • Is still timely and relevant

This is frequently referred to as a “content audit”, and “content recycling”, but don’t let those terms scare you. They are simple tactics that only have to be addressed once when you initially kick off your program. They are great exercises that will uncover pieces of content you forgot even existed, and establish a solid baseline of where you’ve come from, making it that much easier to define where you should go.

Start by simply choosing an item or two and sending it to your primary group to share. Over time you will want to personalize the content a bit more, sending more relevant content based on the employee’s role, location, or job function.

Start with a 50/50 mix of company-specific content and third party stories. It’s important to make a portion of content available that isn’t all about the company. When employees are only sharing branded content it can look unauthentic to their friends and followers. For that reason, it’s critical to keep your approach balanced. Over time you will learn what ratio is preferred by based on what your coworkers are engaging with and sharing.

Company related content:

  • Existing social posts
  • Company blog
  • Customer stories
  • Resource Library (eBooks, white papers)
  • Recent press releases
  • PR (mentions of write-ups on your company)

Third-party content:

  • News/articles (RSS feeds from relevant industry sites)
  • Influencer blogs (on topics employees will relate to)
  • Social (tweets or posts from industry thought leaders)

Tip: Set up Google Alerts for a few of your top keywords. This will automatically populate your inbox each morning with stories that will work great as third party content

Key Takeaway: Start with the basics, send them the content that is already performing for you.

“Employees are going to be your greatest advocates. What they are looking for is content that they care about. It’s about their passion, and how your brand story can fit into their lives so they’ll actually want to tell that story.” — Adam Naide, Digital Marketing Executive – Cox Communications

How to distribute content to your employees

First of all, don’t overthink it. Keep things simple as you’re getting the program off the ground and stick to what employees are most comfortable with, email. While it may not be the most efficient method it will allow you to get rolling right away. Start with the basics and expand your distribution with more personalization and targeting over time. This will also do a good job of easing employees into the idea of an advocacy program.

When choosing your initial group of coworkers to invite, make sure to identify those who are familiar with and active on social media. Not all of your invited members need to be “social rockstars.” However, having a core group of members who are ready to share immediately will help set the tone for engagement and prompt those who are less familiar with social media to be active as well.

3M invited their employees by importing their list of advocates into a platform. With it, their invitations, and subsequent invitation and onboarding reminders, were completely customized, boosting engagement and overall adoption of the program.

Pick one department (typically sales or marketing) and create very clear subject lines and calls-to-action within your emails. Send 2 emails per week, each Tuesday and Thursday morning. We’ve found this is a good day/time and frequency when launching a program.

How to email your content directly to your employees:

  • Organize employees into a list using excel or google docs
  • Create an email alias (e.g. advocates@your-company.com) group that sends to the entire list at once
  • Be very clear and concise about what you’re asking them to do – which is to share the content you’ve emailed them on their personal social media channels
  • Instruct this group to ask questions with “reply all” to encourage more collaboration and interaction

Do this, and employees will engage with your content. You will immediately see who is interested and wants to be involved. Those early adopters will be the ones to champion your program, helping you build the business case needed to get more resources internally to expand your efforts.

Key Takeaway: Keep it simple and send content to your employees via email to start.

Tip: Plan your content distribution to your employee group in advance by mapping it out on a content calendar. This will help you to stay organized and ensure you’re syncing with the company’s main content strategy, as well as existing milestones and campaigns.

“At Salesforce, content marketing, social media, and employee advocacy are all deeply interconnected: each supports the other, and all contribute to a powerful network of internal brand advocates” — Alexa Schirtzinger, Director, Content Marketing – Salesforce

How to make it easy for employees to share your content

When it comes to sharing content, the basics of social media cannot be ignored. For employees at your company to feel comfortable enough with your content to share it, they must have a level of confidence on the social channels you recommend. Provide employees with a social media policy or guidelines, and training that will ensure they know their way around the social web.

Tip: Download this Social Media Policy Template to create your own.

Employees must understand how to use business-centric networks like LinkedIn and Twitter. Help them properly set-up and optimize their profiles, with professional bios and photos. Then train them on how to connect with and follow their coworkers, customers, and industry thought leaders. Lastly, show them how to use basic features like creating posts, sharing, and commenting.

Some employees won’t need this, as they’ll already be experienced at social, which is great. But don’t overlook those employees who are just starting. This is your chance to engage and empower them to begin building their brand on social.

BMW North America needed to drive social media engagement throughout the organization. They approached everything from guidelines, to education, to platforms and workflow. They knew their associates are passionate about what they do in support of the brands and products, but needed a way to empower that passion and amplify the employees’ desire to talk about the company.

Once employees have a basic understanding of social they’ll be ready to take your company content and share it with their audience.

How to empower your employees to share your content:

  • Establish a social media policy or guidelines
  • Train employees on the basics of social
  • Encourage them to be authentic and personable when sharing

Key Takeaway: Properly educate and train your employees so they will be confident when sharing on social.

“Content is at the heart of what we do. It’s what fuels the engine we worked to build, central to the whole initiative. Whether employees share three posts a day or one a week, we know it’s content that we feel represents the company effectively and accurately” — Roderick Strother, Director of Digital and Social Centre of Excellence, Lenovo

Ready to get started?

You are now one step closer to launching your Employee Advocacy program. We’ve taught you what content you should send, how to get it to your employees, and how to make it easy for them to share.

Now is the time to invest in a platform to manage your Employee Advocacy program. Don’t get left behind.

50% of companies provide messages about themselves for employees to use in social media. (Source: KRC Research)

Source: Dynamic Signal: Employee Communication and Engagement