Content is a powerful way for marketers to get their unique voice across. And what better way to showcase your passion for content than to put its creation in the hands of your employees?
Organizations are embracing employee advocacy in content marketing, and 86% of employees participating in such programs describe the impact on their careers as positive.
Employees’ creating and sharing content has a multifold purpose; it enables stronger engagement from your employees and supports marketing goals and HR objectives.
This article explores how employee advocacy programs can improve your content marketing performance—and your organization’s overall success.
Larger Social Media Reach and Engagement
Brands should strive to be personable and engaging on social media; however, when content is shared by a human, it still feels more relatable than when it’s shared by a faceless company.
Also, modern users see advertising continually; as a result, they’ve become experts at identifying branded content—as well as at ignoring it. By comparison, content produced from an employee advocacy program can feel like a breath of fresh air and provide a more authentic connection worth engaging with.
Indeed, most users trust user-generated content because it is more organic and personable than traditional advertising. That can also apply to employees’ creating and sharing content.
Here are four ways you can boost reach and engagement on social media, both through your employees’ personal pages and the company’s main account:
- Create a brand hashtag employees can use.
- Give control of your social media account to a particular department for the day.
- Host live Q&As to share employees’ expertise.
- Use video to share a fun look behind the scenes.
Brand Awareness and Company Image
Brands use storytelling to shape the way users perceive them. A good story is an influential tool for communicating brand values. If it’s memorable, it can also increase brand awareness.
Employees are in a unique position for creating that kind of content:
- They give your audience a genuine look into your company.
- Their content shows how your organization makes a difference while inspiring your audience to do the same.
- Those who care about the work they do will communicate their enthusiasm through the content they share, supporting a positive brand image and inspiring loyalty.
This aspect of your employee advocacy program requires some management. Identify the most relevant platforms where employees can increase brand awareness and establish best-practices for discussing your brand and interacting with users to ensure that the overall impression remains positive and consistent.
Thought Leadership and Expertise
Your employees are experts. They know more about your products and services than anyone else. An employee advocacy program is the perfect way to showcase that expertise.
Identify content creation opportunities by focusing on the strengths of each employee. Everyone has an area of expertise and can share unique insights that come from years of experience.
For instance, your R&D team can develop content that discusses the tech behind your products. B2B marketers can greatly benefit from that, since buyers often expect sophisticated or technical content.
Your employees can also grow their online following by creating expert-level content. It will benefit their personal brand and encourage them to keep learning more about their field, increasing engagement and giving them incentive to make your content marketing program a success. That larger following can result in more leads for your company as well.
Increased Website Traffic
Content from employees can boost traffic to your website. Users will be more likely to click on your links if several voices are discussing your brand. They’ll also be more likely to trust those links if they see employees supporting the brand’s image.
As a result, your audience will trust your brand as a source of valuable content. You’ll see an uptick in site visits and subscriptions for your different campaigns.
You’ll no longer be limited by your marketing team’s publication schedule, either. There will always be new content about your brand, offering more opportunities for users to click on your content.
For this aspect of your employee advocacy program, analytics can be valuable. Keep track of which channels bring the most traffic, and identify the top-performing contributors for your program.
Your employees will also benefit from having clear guidelines on how to share links and how to use calls to action to get clicks.
Quality Lead Generation
In addition to increasing the number of leads, an employee-centric program can improve lead quality. In fact, there is a connection between advocacy and an increase in lead quality, a San Diego State University study found.
Content created by employees can motivate potential customers to take action. Employees’ passion and enthusiasm for your services and products can result in an impulse buy or sway someone who may be hesitant about requesting more information.
Because employees possess high levels of expertise, they can also develop the kind of sophisticated content that buyers look for in the later stages of their journey. It’s a winning strategy for connecting with leads who are close to making a purchase.
Turn your employee advocacy program into a powerful tool for lead generation by using incentives. Rewarding employees for each qualified lead they generate will encourage them to develop their online presence and create the kind of content that is valuable for the buyer’s journey.
What’s in It for Employees
An employee advocacy program can do more than support your marketing goals. Develop a program with the input of your HR team to get even more benefits from it.
Only 36% of employees are engaged at work, according to Gallup. An employee advocacy program can boost engagement and help with hiring and retention:
- By letting employees create content, you’re giving them the opportunity to develop a narrative that frames their daily activities. It encourages ownership of your company values. In addition, it helps employees find meaning in what they do.
- Content from passionate employees can have a positive impact on hiring. The top talents in your industry will be more likely to hear about your organization if there is plenty of employee-generated content on social media. Employees showing unique behind-the-scenes perks can attract new hires.
- Content from employees can help with retention. You’ll get more hires through referrals, and 45% of employees hired through referrals stay for four years or more.
Final Thoughts on Employee Advocacy in Content Marketing
Having employees create and share content for your content marketing program is a powerful tool for connecting with your audience through authenticity and trust. Employees have engaging stories to share and unique ideas to showcase their expertise. More important, they have a real passion for talking about what they do.
Get started by defining goals for your employee advocacy program and developing guidelines for creating and sharing content.
Above all, remember to make your program employee-centric. Give employees enough leeway to both share what they’re passionate about and have fun with the program.
More Resources on Employee Advocacy
Five Measures for Proving the ROI of Your Employee Advocacy Efforts
Before Implementing an Employee Advocacy Program, Do These Three Things
Employee Advocacy Statistics for Marketers [Infographic]