[Episode Eight of ‘The Employee Advocacy and Influence Podcast] 🎧👇
Empower your employees like NEVER before!
Organizations all over the world in every sector are driving strategic competitive advantage by scaling the impact of their employees’ voices… and now YOU can too! As we delve beyond the why and get straight to the how so that you can put employee-driven growth at the heart of your organization.
Hosted by employee advocacy practitioner and CEO of DSMN8, Bradley Keenan.
Today, we are going to be talking about encouraging employees to become content creators. And how to get more employees to submit content to you.
The REALLY Simple Employee-Generated Content Framework
So in the B2C world, people are familiar with the term user-generated content. It’s been around for many years and in B2C it works fantastic.
I’ll give you an example, Brompton bikes, which many of you will be familiar with, but some of you may not. They’re a British brand that produces foldable bikes that you see many of the commuters use in London. And they have a pretty big Instagram following, 145,000. Which for a brand of their size is pretty big and they put content on there all the time. Some of it is models and staged photography. In many cases, it’s actual users of their products who have submitted content to them for them to use in their own social, which is obviously a fantastic place to be for them as a brand.
But when you think about how they do that. That’s not just their Instagram following running by itself. They have a community of people who are hugely passionate about their product.
So to give you some numbers, Brompton Bikes have a Facebook group that has 25,000 people in it and every single day people are posting images there of their Brompton bike in front of the Eiffel Tower, all over the world! and it only takes for the social media manager of Brompton to drop into that group and say, “Hey, I’d love to use that photo for our own Instagram” and the probability is that the person who took the photo is going to be thrilled to have that because it gives them the validation they took a great photo from a Brand that they love.
Is that process transferable in the B2B world?
THIS is why creating B2B social that doesn’t suck is difficult!
If you’ve already spoken internally to your CEO or anybody else in your C-suite about sharing on social and you have received pushback. To me, there are different levels to that push back that would essentially mean I would, if I was in the position of a marketing manager and employer branding managers shoes, act differently.
Say you have a CEO that says, I see the value in it, but I just don’t have the time and then you have a CEO that says “Hey, I don’t believe in social, I don’t use LinkedIn” and really sees it as a negative and something they actively don’t want to do. Now, this might sound a little bit harsh, but if I was a forward-thinking marketing or employer branding manager, or director and I had a CEO that really push back on social in the current climate, I would just look for another job.
It might sound a little bit severe but if you’re good at what you do, there’s a huge amount of opportunities out there and I would say trying to convince somebody that social is a good idea if they’re absolutely not listening is probably going to be a waste of your valuable time.
Do THIS to help your B2B social presence:
Now, if you’re a B2B brand and you are launching on Instagram, the probability is that you recognise that creating an Instagram account that doesn’t completely suck is actually going to be really difficult to do.
The reason is pretty simple.
You don’t have access to that amount of content that a B2C company would have.
Like the Brompton Bikes example, I used. Because even if your social media manager is hugely active and they go round to all the team away days and take photos of people, they can’t be everywhere at once. Even if you’ve got a large social media team.
So what tends to happen is they come out of the gate strong with some really good content. Like I said, from team away days and then it defaults to somebody’s first day in the office. So they’re standing outside the corporate head office standing in front of the big logo, or it’s a picture of their desk with a new laptop and all the images that we’ve seen on LinkedIn a thousand times.
It just becomes a little bit boring.
So how does Employee Advocacy help in this world where we’re trying to gather authentic content?
Traditionally, Employee Advocacy is seen kind of as I guess it’s a linear process. So you have the marketing or internal communications team creating content. They then distribute that to their employees using an employee advocacy tool. Where the employee shares the content onto their own professional social media networks. That then starts to increase the reach, so it’s a linear process.
But what you can start to do is think about Employee Advocacy as being more of a two-way street, in that you have marketing creating content to push out by the employees.
But what we want to do is get employees to create content so they can share it with their own professional networks, as step one. But also that the company’s corporate social media managers can use that content to display a far more authentic voice on their own corporate channels.
ACCEPT that it’s NOT all about your product
Before you do this, you have to accept that not all content that you produce is there to sell your products or service to your customer.
So a really good way of thinking about this is that your job is to create engaging content because engaging content creates engagement. As you get engagement, people build trust with your brand and then when you do have content that’s there to create some kind of call to action, it’s going to be more well-received because people trust you.
Talent attraction gets this so WRONG… Try the 80/20 Rule
A good example of this is where people use Employee Advocacy to engage talent and what they do is they overuse the ability to share job ads on LinkedIn before they’ve actually, I guess, displayed the value proposition that the company have to attract people to want to work at the organisation.
So think of it as almost an 80/20 rule, where 80% of the content is there to generate the engagement and then 20% of the content is there as the call to action.
So in the situation of engaging talent, we might want to be creating content about our workplace, and our benefits as an example. So when we do push a job ad out onto LinkedIn it’s far more likely that somebody is actually going to hit apply.
The REALLY Simple Employee Generated Content Framework
Okay , so let’s give you a really simple framework that you can use to get more employees to submit content to you. It starts with defining what type of content do you actually want to receive. Now, given that we’ve been talking about Instagram, let’s use photography and video as an example.
Start by defining, what the content purpose actually is. So I guess, we’ve been speaking about talent acquisition, so let’s continue on that thread. If you’re looking to attract people to come and work at your company, then the probability is that you want to show people what it’s like to work in your organisation, you want to show people that you have a diverse workforce and that generally, the company is a great place to work.
So it starts with creating almost content challenges and be really specific about that. As an example, you might say we kind of in the pride season at the moment, it was Barcelona pride last week, London before that. So that is a great example of where you could create a challenge to say we’re looking to get as many photos of people’s celebration of pride as possible because we want to share them with the organisation, as the first thing that you’re looking to do.
So the actual gathering of the content is an internal communications first challenge. Because, you know, the reality is that a lot of the content you’re going to get may either not be appropriate for sharing, externally or might just not be very good quality. You may find that half of the content is just not good enough. You wouldn’t use it on your socials as an example. But you create this challenge it’s a very specific thing, it benefits you because it’s showing the workplace that you work in and it’s celebrating diversity and inclusion within your business. So you create that challenge. you put it out on your internal communications tool, whether that’s Slack or Yammer or Workplace or wherever. and create a definitive deadline where people are going to submit these images to you and you can put some prizes in there if you want. I don’t necessarily think it’s needed, but even something as simple as a raffle for the top 5 images would be more than sufficient to get people to want to submit them to you.
Now, before you post that content onto your corporate social media account, you need to create some kind of wavier document that the employee essentially completes and that can be done in partnership with your legal team and even something as simple as a Google shared doc, but just something that gives you the legal right to post that content yourself and when you post the content onto your social media account, you want to credit the person who created that image.
That’s important for two reasons; firstly, it creates we’ve spoken about this before, a positive feedback loop for that person to want to submit more content to you in future. But it also shows the following of your corporate account that that is a genuine photo taken by a member of staff because it just displays the authenticity that everybody is looking for.
Of course, now that that content is being shared via your corporate social media accounts it can actually go back into the system and become content for your Employee. Advocacy program. As you’re sharing that content, you’ve essentially taken one moment in time from a single employee, you’ve broadcasted it via your corporate social following but then you’ve also added that additional layer of sharing it via your employee network.
As other employees see that you are utilising certain employee’s content, more people are going to submit content for you, and ultimately it just feeds into creating more authentic content for you to share.
So other examples of challenges you could create would be birthdays, people’s first days, people who have just had babies. Basically, anything in your organisation that shows the human element to your business is going to make for great content. The more you do this, the more library of content that you create and then having an Instagram account that isn’t just people’s first day in the office and as I said those horrible pictures of laptops on people’s desk is going to be easier for you to achieve and more importantly, it’s going to be an authentic representation of your business.
So thank you for taking the time to listen to episode number eight of this podcast. Contact details for me will be in the footnotes of the show along with some additional resources but as always, please do feel free to get in touch with me on LinkedIn.