One of the most overlooked tools in creating engagement and distributing your digital marketing content surely is employee advocacy. Yet even the marketing teams of very large corporations don't make use of it. Have you ever wondered how a blog post by a 60'000 employee organization ends up having only 80 views? How is that even possible?
We have discussed how content marketing is a great way to strengthen your brand internally. In-house magazines, websites, a Twitter account everyone follows, or the LinkedIn company page are all great places to build loyalty and increase transparency in the organization.
Once you have your employees on board, you can leverage their attention for the marketing efforts for your organization. Engineering companies like Siemens and GE do a great job here. By mixing internal and external content in digital newsletters, the efforts of the content marketing team get magnified.
Don't force, encourage!
Of course, you cannot force your employees to like and share content, but you can encourage them. What's more, you can include them in the creation process and personalize the content. Personalization and humanization sound like highfaluting marketing keywords, but all they mean is giving the company a human face.
Consider this example of an American manufacturer of fishing trousers
Not only does it show the manufacturing skills of the company, it gives a face to names and the brand itself, making it approachable and likable. Employees are a lot more likely to get behind this kind of content and are more willing to share it. The human face of a brand is indeed its most important asset.
Your employees are your best marketing asset
Our content strategy for a client in the semiconductor industry includes posts about outstanding individuals in the company, management, but also "a day in the life of" style posts of the average Joe. We share those posts in the internal newsletter before distributing the link publicly, and we actively ask employees to like, share and comment, so by the time a post really goes live, it already has a significant number of likes and comments. That's because employees see themselves in the videos, point out where other employees and friends can be seen, and see the social marketing associated with it more as a social engagement than forced marketing of their company assets.
This kind of personalized, humanized, boost is increasingly essential. The algorithms of Facebook, Twitter, and Google are punishing you for mediocrity. That means that if you have a series of posts no one likes or shares, your next post may be actively hidden from users, so even if it is a great post, it may never get traction. The way to combat this is by engaging your employees so that every post has a guaranteed baseline of likes and shares from the instant it gets posted.
Authenticity over perfection
Of course, employee advocacy in digital marketing only works if it is authentic and believable. That means you actually have to create engaging content. But hold on -- here is an excellent opportunity to test your content: your own people! If your own employees can't get behind it, why should your customers?
For some, especially very large organizations, it even may make sense to limit the distribution of content based on the results of an employee program. Instead of flooding the Internet with thousands of posts, why not limit yourself to those which got liked and shared by employees the most. This can validate digital marketing efforts, help improve quality, catch mistakes, avoid embarrassing gaffes, etc.
Employee programs can also be great content brainstorming tools. For one client, we set up an employee-only Facebook page where everyone can post images related to their daily activities. Every three months we take the most popular images as the basis for a new blog post. Employees are incentivized to join the program with cash prices and food vouchers.
Employee advocacy is a critical part of the corporate digitalization process. Only companies which fully embrace digital interaction between the various parts of the organization will ultimately excel at digital marketing and digital business overall.
------ Martin Hiesboeck is an international branding, corporate strategy and technology consultant with a focus on Asia, and the CMO at Geber Brand Consulting. He works mainly with companies developing international brands, developing new technologies, and guides multinational companies on their journey in the Asian marketplace. A sought-after keynote speaker in both Chinese and English, he also teaches university courses in branding, digital marketing, and technology management. Follow him on Twitter: https:[email protected].