Asking employees to post about their workplace on LinkedIn can be a valuable part of your marketing programme. But all too often, businesses are concerned about what can go wrong. We look at the common challenges and how to overcome them.
We recently attended a Business Marketing Club breakfast meet-up to discuss how powerful employees can be to your business on LinkedIn.
Hosted at Foot Anstey and presented by Luan Wise, author and official LinkedIn learning instructor, the session tackled some of the challenges – and benefits – of getting staff to post about their work.
Challenge one – convincing the bosses or the board
Bigger businesses can be notoriously difficult to convince when it comes to giving employees a voice, so you need to find the ‘what’s in it for me’ benefits and sell them. Here are some Luan outlined:
- Brand awareness – Employees have 10 times more first-degree connections than their company has followers.
- Content engagement – LinkedIn says the click-through rate is two times higher when content is shared by employees.
- Organic reach (vs paid) – People are three times more likely to trust company information that’s shared by an employee, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer.
- Thought leadership positioning – 39% of C-suite execs and decision makers said thought leadership content had influenced them to ask a vendor to participate in the RFP process.
- Recruitment – companies with socially engaged employees are 58% more likely to attract top talent.
- Staff satisfaction – and, they are 20% more likely to retain staff, too.
- Social selling/greater conversion
- Earned media value
Always start an employee advocacy programme by getting the leadership team involved – whether that’s to simply buy in to the idea, or to actually be part of the programme – it’s vital that they’re consulted.
Challenge two – adjusting your mindset
One of the first points that really resonated with us was that we need to remember we are still talking to people. “Employees need to come in with a B2C mindset but apply it to B2B,” explains Luan. “Organisations don’t post – people do, and trust grows from authenticity.”
Anyone who has a LinkedIn company page will know how difficult it can be to build meaningful engagement posting through these business accounts. Employees can help to bridge that gap and be your company advocates by posting in a more human way that others can relate to.
Challenge three – being prepared for mistakes
We’ve all read horror stories about staff who have posted something they shouldn’t on social media and caused a terrible PR disaster for their employer. First, remember that these are not common incidents. Second, prepare your programme well:
- Have a social media policy – this document should clearly outline how to deal with comments or posts that might be considered offensive, negative comments about the company or staff, how to handle inappropriate content, how to get more information and advice and the consequences of breaching the social media policy.
- Provide training – talk through the social media policy with staff and provide lots of examples of do’s and don’ts so they are clear on what’s acceptable and what isn’t.
- Identify the right people – often, if you start with the employees who have the right mindset then it’s very unlikely that problems will occur because they are engaged in the business and positive about working there.
Challenge four – keeping staff motivated
You’ve done all the legwork, now it’s up to them, right? “You need to provide people with ideas for posting their own content and give them tools so it’s manageable,” advises Luan.
She suggests having a central folder on the company system, where you can save background information, company stories, updates and pictures. This makes it easier for people to find what they need quickly and gives them ideas of topics they can share.
Initial training, looking at different types of posts and content ideas will also help to get them started. Look at other companies and see how their employees are posting – discuss what’s good and bad about each to give your staff a steer on what’s appropriate for your business.
If interest starts to wane, Luan suggests gamification as a way of boosting activity. “Appeal to people’s competitive nature,” she says. “You could create a leaderboard to show the most engaged company post each week or provide small incentives to get people interested.”
Talk to us about your PR and marketing needs.