A brand’s employees have approximately ten times the social media followers than the brand’s own account, and posts shared through employee accounts have twice the click-through rate (full content available to Gartner clients only). This means that getting your employees involved in social media marketing can be good for the business, in terms of employee engagement as well as profitability.
Popular gaming company Electronic Arts Inc. extensively uses this marketing technique with the help of over 1,000 employees, who collectively bring in about 1.1 million followers. EA’s employee advocacy program is so effective that it generates approximately 6,600 social media engagements per month.
If you’re feeling your interest piqued, you can do this by positioning employees as brand advocates and enabling them to share relevant content on behalf of the brand. The technique you use will depend on your social media strategy and campaign requirements, but regardless of the technique, you’ll need some software tools to execute it effectively.
In this article, we’ll look at the key tools you need for getting employees involved in social media marketing.
Employee advocacy software makes it easier for you and your employees to collaborate on social media initiatives. Although most of these tools support multiple social media platforms, some of them specialize only in a specific social media channel.
Employee advocacy software is a system that allows marketers to share branded and third-party content with employees; employees can publish this content on their social media accounts using the tool. Some tools also allow employees to find or create sharable content and suggest it to the tool’s administrators.
Although employee advocacy tools vary in their features, there are a few standard features that appear in most employee advocacy systems.
Content library creation: Create and manage a library of content or information that employees can share on their social media networks.
Post scheduling: Allow employees to schedule posts for publishing at a later time on their social media accounts.
Content and account analytics: Track the performance of posts employees share on their network and see engagement rates.
Mobile and desktop apps: Allow employees to access information and share posts via their desktop or mobile devices.
Integration with social media management tools: Connect the application with your social media marketing software to see its impact on your social media campaigns.
Employee advocacy tools can help provide employees with approved information ripe for sharing. By connecting the tool with your CRM system, intranet, and marketing software, you can feed relevant business information directly into the tool, which employees can easily post on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. You can then use in-built analytics to see how employees’ social efforts have fared.
The tool also allows scheduling posts for sharing at a later time. Some of the tools offer a list of the top 10 or 20 posts that employees can choose from to share on social media channels. Further, with some employee advocacy tools, employees may set up auto-sharing to propagate new posts from your brand.
Many employee advocacy tools specialize only in a specific social media platform and do not support others. Therefore, check if the tool supports the platform(s) your brand regularly uses.
Gamification is a great means of getting employees involved in social media. While sharing content strategically is certainly the end-goal, gamification ensures maximum engagement and increases participation in the process.
Gamification software is a tool that helps apply game mechanics to non-gaming environments. It helps increase user engagement and the likelihood of successful outcomes. Some common scenarios of the tool’s application include employee engagement, social media marketing, and eLearning.
Some common features of gamification software include:
Customization: Customize the gaming environment to suit the process (marketing, eLearning, sales, etc.).
Rewards: Add in-game rewards (such as points and badges) or real-world rewards (such as gift-coupons and cash vouchers) to incentivize employee participation.
Competitions: Create in-app competitions to drive employees to achieve more.
Leaderboards: Further the competitive spirit with leaderboards that rank employees on their performance.
Analytics: Get a drilled-down view of employee contribution and its overall impact on your goals.
The key impact of gamification software is the increased participation of employees in social media initiatives. The tool helps to make the process fun and engaging by incentivizing activities such as sharing social media posts or liking posts to increase their visibility.
This is done in two ways: leaderboards and reward points. Based on your social media strategy, you can present key tasks or activity options to employees (individuals or groups). For each task they complete, they earn a certain reward. They can accrue these rewards and later encash them via online or offline gift vouchers.
Similarly, you can use leaderboards to drive friendly competition and increase employee participation in your social media initiatives. You can also create competitions between departments for various campaigns and let the leaderboard highlight the progress of each department to boost competitiveness. The competitive spirit will eventually impact your social media engagement and brand visibility.
To get the most out of gamification, start by planning what you wish to achieve through the initiative. Ask yourself: Do I want employees to build their personal brand or do I want them to promote approved content to the brand’s social media audience? Accordingly, come up with suitable monetary or non-monetary rewards or gaming mechanisms.
It’ll be an uphill task to involve employees in social media marketing without educating them on social media best practices. eLearning tools or online learning tools are a great way to do this. With a better understanding of social media marketing, employees will be better equipped to contribute to your social media initiatives.
eLearning software refers to a broad umbrella of tools that help users learn via the internet. They may include tools such as learning management systems, microlearning software, and mobile learning apps. They help educate via online courses, short videos, blogs, video tutorials, etc.
Since eLearning software refers to an umbrella of online learning tools, the features vary widely. Here, we’ll discuss some of the common features.
Course management: Create and distribute course material, manage enrollment and scheduling, and assess course-takers.
Course tracking: Keep a track of course progress for each user, distribution of course material, and qualifying criteria.
Content library: Maintain a library of various courses and learning materials.
Analytics: Track the performance of employees and their participation in the training.
Accessibility: Allow employees to access the content while at work or on-the-go. While most eLearning tools allow mobile access, this feature may not be present in some.
You can use eLearning tools to educate employees on social media marketing. Depending on your campaign requirements, you may decide the level of training—such as professional, intermediate, or expert. Once you’ve decided the level, you may use the tool to create or curate learning materials and distribute them to your employees.
You can also use specific tools to deal with your unique training challenges. For example, if you need to conduct time-sensitive social media training, you could go for microlearning software, whereas if you want employees to be more engaged in the learning process, you could go for a learning experience platform.
Don’t consider employees as means to an end. Marketers often think getting employees involved in social media marketing is a shortcut to increasing social reach, engagement, and social selling. In such cases, marketers fail to fully engage employees in the initiative and equip them with the knowledge that can make a greater impact.
So, take some time out to rethink your priorities and educate employees on the basics before involving them in the process.
You may now have a fair understanding of the tools needed to get employees involved in social media, but don’t go tool-shopping just yet. Instead, go through the considerations listed here to better understand how to leverage these tools for the best results.
Make a clear and accessible social media policy: The biggest disservice you can do to your marketing efforts is to leave employees guessing about your social media policy. Often, employees wish to publicly share information about their employer but find themselves guessing what’s appropriate and what’s not. Therefore, make sure your social media policy is clear and easily accessible to employees.
Give employees diverse content options: If you want your employees to be brand advocates in the real sense and not mere mouthpieces for your brand, offer them enough choice in content and guide them on contextualization. This will allow them to pick the most relevant content and contextualize it for their peers.
Make the right choice in software tools: The software tools you pick can make or break your marketing efforts. Therefore, before you pick a tool, be sure to read reviews on third-party websites, such as ours. This will help you get a 360-degree view of the strong and weak points from people with first-hand experience using a particular product.
Also, try to get a product demo. The demo can offer a working view of the tool’s features and user interface. However, remember to prepare for the demo beforehand and keep a list of relevant questions handy.
The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.