Employee communications is a buzzword right now, and employee communication tools and tactics are set to be a big trend in 2020, but what is all the fuss about?
You’ve probably heard of employee advocacy and employee influencers, which are both rapidly becoming an essential part of employee communications. We often think of employee communications as internal, and predominantly for HR purposes. However, companies seldom consider how they can leverage the power of their employees’ voices to impact their employer brand positively and significantly increase sales opportunities, among other things.
Should you look at getting involved? Here’s our helpful list of trends that have put employee communications tools at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
Trend: Demand for Employee-Generated Content
A jaw-dropping 92% of buyers say they trust content from friends, peers, and family above any other forms of brand messages, so it would seem to be a no-brainer to get your employees creating for you.
Many companies are empowering their most influential employees to create company-related content and incentivizing the process to guarantee consistency and motivation.
Writing blog posts can be both time-consuming and strenuous, and remains a tricky practice at scale for organizations both big and small. However, they remain an essential factor in boosting your site’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization) ranking. Crowdsourcing written content from your employees is an excellent way of increasing your output while adding a more authentic touch to your content.
Trend: Trust and Authenticity
Trust in brands among customers in 2019 is fleeting, while authenticity and trust are becoming more important for both millennial and Gen-Z buyers.
With the recent soar in social media influencer marketing, buyers are becoming much more in tune with traditional influencer marketing tactics. While they were once considered to be a form of advertising that was more organic and reputable, social media influencers are now shone in a negative light as changes in guidelines have made the process appear much more forced and transparent.
Trend: Companies Want Content That Drives Engagement
This one seems something of a no-brainer. Still, as social media becomes ever more prominent in daily life, marketers are eager to ensure their posts are driving maximum engagement on social media.
Studies show that company content from corporate pages drives significantly less engagement than that of its employees’ accumulative efforts. A recent article from Insead Knowledge reported that at OsloMet, Norway’s third-largest university, 15 individual shares by student and employee advocates had the same social reach as a post on the university’s Facebook page, which had 30,000 followers.
Engagement also plays a vital role in battling social media algorithms as posts are more likely to appear on users’ feeds when they consistently engage with your content.
Trend: Battling the Algorithms
Due to (seemingly constant) changes in social media algorithms, organically reaching your company’s followers is proving increasingly difficult. Typically, your posts are most likely to appear in the feeds of your audience when they are consistently engaging with that feed. Algorithms are put in place to ensure that a user only sees content that the platform believes they will enjoy. The exception to this is Twitter, which still offers a chronological feed.
The new LinkedIn algorithm is often referred to as a “points-based” system, in that specific user actions will score a post and ultimately determine its fate on the platform. Think of a like as generating ten points, twenty for a comment, and thirty for share, and you quickly realize how important it is to generate different/more meaningful forms of engagement.
Employees can be brilliantly effective at amplifying a brand’s message, driving engagement, and beating social media algorithms. Platforms like DSMN8 offer advocacy tools that encourage and incentivize your employees to share your company content onto their own social media channels. If people are more likely to interact with posts from friends, family, and peers, then employee posts are more likely to generate the kind of engagement that will score your posts highly to beat algorithms.
Trend: Social Selling
Employee communications and inbound sales are two phrases we seldom hear mentioned together. This is perhaps because people neglect to acknowledge social selling as one of the most effective and modern ways of generating inbound sales.
If you work in sales, social selling is probably something you’re all too familiar with. However, for the unacquainted, social selling is achieved by harnessing the power of social media to listen to, engage with, and build rapport with prospective clients. This has become an essential selling tactic that ensures you are the first person/company that comes to mind when a prospect is ready to buy.
Employee influencers are successful social sellers because they are actively advocating for their company in the eyes of their professional networks. A successful advocacy program will involve sharing more than just company content and should include industry-relevant news and reports.
When employees share industry news and company content with their networks, they are establishing themselves as industry experts and thought leaders in their field. This is more than noteworthy when you consider a recent report from LinkedIn, that found 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to buy from someone who has established themselves as a thought leader.
Trend: Companies Want an Engaged Workforce
Employer branding and employee communications go hand in hand, which may explain why companies are pushing for a more socially engaged workforce. Brand-perception has never been more relevant than in the age of social media, and every successful company will have accounts on most major social networks that allow them to display their company culture.
A similar report from LinkedIn found that companies with strong employer brands cut their cost to hire by up to 50%, as for many top candidates, company culture is a crucial factor in the decision-making process.
There’s no better or more organic way to showcase your company culture than through your employees, and employee influencers will be particularly useful in helping boost your employer brand. Why not crowdsource employee-generated content for you to share on your corporate accounts? Take one look at any good corporate Instagram account, and you’ll see an abundance of internal photos that showcase what it’s like to work there.
Trend: Reducing Media Budgets
Employee communications tools are becoming an invaluable asset for companies wanting to reduce their media budget or spend more effectively. Companies are using these tools to transform their employees into full-blown employee influencers.
As previously mentioned, traditional influencer marketing tactics are experiencing a decline in success rates. Yet, still, the average social media influencer’s income continues to soar. A recent report from the BBC found that the average cost of a sponsored Instagram post has increased to more than 10x compared what it was just five years ago.
Despite the declining trust in social media influencers, companies are still increasing their influencer marketing budgets every year. 63% of businesses that incorporate influencer marketing intend to increase their budget for it in 2020. Though the demand for social media influencers doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, it may be time to consider what the most effective form of influencers is.
Trend: Employee Empowerment
A company’s employees are its most valuable asset, and it’s about time you started investing in them. Your employees want to enjoy their time at work, so it’s essential that as an employer, you make them feel appreciated, valued, and help develop their skills. It’s no secret that happy employees are more productive employees, and productive employees are essential to your company’s growth.
Employee advocacy tools will prove to be the most valuable form of employee communication to develop your employees’ professional growth. DSMN8’s advocacy tool allows companies to create a tailored feed of both company and industry-related content for their employees to share, empowering them to exercise their company knowledge on social media, and establish themselves as thought leaders.
DSMN8 also offers an internal comms feature, which can be utilized to communicate your company values and mission. Your employees can then share your values and feel confident to advocate on behalf of your brand.
Trend: Creating Content at Scale
One of the biggest challenges facing companies, particularly smaller companies, is creating content at scale in the age of mass content and short attention spans.
Most larger companies will have a marketing team that is strong in numbers, and typically includes writers, graphic designers, video production, editors etc. Yet, even they often struggle to generate the engagement and return that they’d hoped for.
Employee influencer platforms serve as the perfect aid in achieving your content production goals at scale. Whether it’s crowdsourcing content or getting maximum use from your current output, platforms like DSMN8 ensure you’re always maximizing reach and engagement.
When curating content with DSMN8, you have the ability to add multiple preview images, titles, and post captions to ensure that your content is always unique. Consider this: adding just 5 alternatives for images, post text and preview titles creates 125 unique content previews for the same piece of content.
The changing trends around influencer marketing and employer branding suggest that it may be time to assess your employee communications tactics, and employee communication tools are set to be a big trend for 2020. When it’s done correctly, it can play a vital role in the growth and success of your business. Is it time to reassess?