Guest post by Anastasia Masters.
There are still a few old-school managers out there who are hesitant to encourage their employees to stay active on LinkedIn. After all, it is a platform that connects talent with recruiters.
However, most enlightened executives now realize LinkedIn is a powerful tool to transform their already-engaged employees into company brand ambassadors. (And if employers are receptive to calls from recruiters, LinkedIn isn’t the problem.)
Converting your employees into company brand ambassadors
Encouraging your employees to become company brand ambassadors on LinkedIn may be easier than you think. With a little preparation and a few tips, you can provide your employees with enough information to be enthusiastic brand advocates on LinkedIn.
Before you start
You may presume your employees are thrilled to share your company’s content on LinkedIn. After all, they work for your organization. However, unless they’re already actively reading and sharing industry insights through their social media presence, that may not be the case.
You may need to implement employee perks or give a little push in order for them to become active brand advocates on LinkedIn. There are also a few key elements to have in place before asking your employees to spread the gospel of your brand.
Ensure that your company’s LinkedIn profile is optimized and on-brand. Check that all the information is correct, ensure links lead to helpful sites on your site, and actively post relevant updates. Building up your page with shareable content makes it easier and more appealing for employees to spread your brand messaging.
Follow the leader
Your employees may be less than enthusiastic about sharing your brand content if your top executives are not doing so as well. Exhortations from the marketing team can only go so far. Your C-suite needs to lead by example. Choose leadership that is already engaged on social media and ask them to start sharing the company’s content on LinkedIn.
Additionally, encourage your employees to connect with each other on LinkedIn, if they haven’t already. This will help increase the exposure of your company’s messaging, and if other employees see their peers posting, they can be influenced to start sharing company updates as well.
Converting your employees into brand ambassadors on LinkedIn is easier if you provide them with all the information they need beforehand. If some members work on topics that are more sensitive in nature, ensure they know what is permissible to share and what is confidential company information. Transparency is crucial to the success and compliance.
What’s in it for me?
Employees are unlikely to share brand-related information on their personal social media unless they are motivated and feel as though they will see a benefit as well. When introducing this program to your teams, emphasize the benefits both individuals and the company will see because of it.
Some of these benefits include:
- Building your brand on LinkedIn. Building a strong personal brand will help with career progression and establishing employees as thought leaders in their fields.
- Boosting brand awareness. Brand exposure can help with company growth and can influence the narrative around your organization.
- Drive revenue. Your prospective clients are already on LinkedIn. By having employees spreading the company’s messaging and influential statistics, you have the opportunity to reach your clients and convince them of the value of your product—at a very low customer acquisition cost.
- Assist in talent acquisition. As long as your company continues to grow, it’s likely that you have open positions available. Employee brand ambassadors can help share the employer brand you have built and present career opportunities to those searching. Consider using an employee referral software to help simplify the program.
Easy as can be
Encouraging your employees to spread your brand’s content shouldn’t feel to them as if you’re adding yet another responsibility to their workload. Make the process simple and optional (while still encouraging them to share).
If your team members aren’t already following your social media accounts, encourage them to. This will allow them to stay updated with industry developments and make it easier for them to share content.
Simplify the sharing process for employees by providing them with preformatted updates. For example, say your organization was nominated for a prestigious industry award: provide alternative copy and graphics for them to choose from and share.
Create two or more captions along with a photo and link for them to share, and publish it in an accessible area such as an email, internal knowledge base, or through the corporate intranet.
Keep the process as simple as possible. The easier it is, the more likely your employees are to share content.
Content to share
The easiest way to get your staff to start sharing your brand’s messaging on their personal LinkedIn account is to do work that is worth sharing. If you want your employees to be brand ambassadors, you’ll have to showcase work that your employees will be proud of. Your impactful work should be the highlight of your social media presence.
Your vision should already be communicated clearly across the company, but make sure your content is also in line with your vision and brand messaging. Your brand content on LinkedIn should reflect your core vision, values, and mission.
Visual content is an easy, shareable format to provide for your employees. A picture is worth a thousand words, so let your visuals speak for themselves and attract the attention of people outside of your company.
Social Media Freedom
In the early days of social networks, some organizations banned the use of social platforms like LinkedIn during working hours, viewing it as a time-wasting distraction. Recognizing the business value of social media, most companies have discarded such bans. On the off chance your company still blocks access to social media sites from within the corporate network, make sure that goes away.
When encouraging your team members to share content, provide guidelines but don’t enforce strict rules. If employees feel too restricted, they’ll be discouraged from sharing any content due to fear of negative repercussions for posting the “wrong things.” Establish a social media policy that includes clear but reasonably broad guidelines and suggestions for employees to follow.
Encouraging your employees to be your biggest fans
Asking your employees to become brand ambassadors on social is one thing, but getting them to follow through and maintain the effort over time is a quite another. There are a few ways to help encourage this.
Consider hosting professional headshots for your company twice a year. Although this has a cost associated with it, your team is more likely to share content when they feel confident in their own profile. A professionally shot photo can help boost that confidence.
Provide social media training for your organization. Not everyone is at the same level of expertise or confidence when it comes to their social media presence, so using social media scheduling tools and training can help assist those not as ready.
This training can be hosted by someone on your internal marketing team or an outside consultant. Teach employees how to optimize their own LinkedIn profiles, find and identify interesting industry content to share, and how to best share brand updates.
Linking your brand and employees on LinkedIn
An employee’s LinkedIn update could be the first chance someone has to interact with your brand. Investing in social media training for your employees and encouraging them to be an ambassador on LinkedIn can pay off for your brand’s image in the long run.
LinkedIn is a great tool to connect with your potential candidates and clients. Your employees can help spread your reach and grow your business while building up their own industry authority and personal brands.
Anastasia Masters is a Content Marketing Associate at G2.com. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in history. In her spare time, Anastasia enjoys eating her way through Chicago’s different neighborhoods, planning her next trip, and binging a new show on Netflix. You can follow her on Twitter at @anastasia_mm0.