The end of organic reach
Organic reach on many social platforms has been on the decline for some time now, and Facebook’s introduction of Instant Articles (officially launched April 12th) seems to be the final nail in the virtual coffin. This presents a number of problems for most businesses relying on organic reach to move their content around.
There is one interesting opportunity to make it work that, for whatever reason, doesn’t show up in many marketing plans: Employee engagement.
Forty-one percent of people surveyed believe a given company’s employees rank higher in public trust than that firm’s Founder, CEO or PR department, according to the Edelman 2013 Trust Barometer, published by Everyone Social. That means employees wield a great deal of influence, especially when it comes to your social media audience.
So how can you reasonably encourage them to engage with your brand’s content?
Give credit where credit is due
There are two easy ways to do this:
1. Include the author in the byline
Some companies forgo this and simply publish every piece of content under a generic company name, and those companies are doing it wrong. Social media is a place where people like to share things that make them feel proud. Maybe it’s their new baby or that perfect batch of over-medium fried eggs (which, believe you me, is absolutely something to brag about).
Including the author of the content in the byline is a quick and easy way to let your employees know they’ll be credited for their efforts, and they’ll be much more likely to share it if you do.
2. Show them some social love
When sharing a piece of content on social, mention the author in the post itself. If you’re sharing on Twitter and they have an account, tag them in it. Having the company publicly recognize them for those efforts will go a long way toward helping that content move through the network.
Include them in the process
Before you or your employees share something on social media, it has to match some criteria. Does it echo my beliefs? Does it match my opinions? Does it reflect my personality and how I want my network to perceive me? If your company’s content doesn’t check at least one of these boxes, your employees won’t share it.
But what if they could have a hand in creating it?
By handing our employees the reigns (or at least giving them the opportunity to contribute in a way meaningful to them), Brandpoint ended up with content that was more naturally aligned with the thoughts and personalities of the people who make up the company. And our gains in social were significant. Without putting a penny toward boosting, these pieces generated about 15 times the Facebook reach and garnered significantly more social actions compared to much of our other content.
This approach requires a few more steps but it has shown to be much more fulfilling for both the organization and the employee.
All you gotta do is ask
Of course you’d like your employees to share your company’s content without being prompted. However, sometimes your employees don’t understand how powerful their influence is unless you simply talk to them about it.
Sure, they could still say no, and you need to respect that decision. But you won’t know unless you ask.
Above all, make sure you do it in the right way. Avoid (at all costs) sending a blanket email asking the team to share the latest blog that just went up. Pin point the people you’d like to share the content and ask them. That personal touch is much more likely to get you some employee engagement.
By the people, for the people
At the end of the day, social media is fueled by people sharing content about people. Whether you’re a non-profit, a start-up or an enterprise B2B business, the brand identity and content you share on social should, in one way or another, reflect the personality of the people who work there. If you can master that and successfully bake it into your content marketing plan, you’ll have a brand your employees will be excited to engage with.