…This post was written by Nate “The Email Ad Man” Schmidt…
Think about how much your business spends on marketing – Facebook, PPC, content creation – all of it. Get that number in your head.
Now think about how much your business spends paying your employees. Get that number in your head.
I’d venture to say that the latter is significantly higher than the former. You pay your employees a lot (they are the backbone of your business after all).
But did you ever think that your employees are your #1 marketing strategy…and they don’t even know it?
If not, I’m here to share with you 9 ways you can leverage your employees (and their social media followings) to bring in more revenue for your business, without spending a penny more than you do already.
Make employees WANT to promote your business
First and foremost, if you want to use your employees as marketing tools without them knowing it, they have to WANT to be marketing tools. This requires them actually liking, even loving, their place of employment.
A study conducted by Weber Shandwick found 3 factors most important in making employees want to promote (and even defend) their employers outside the workplace:
1. Employees have opportunities to grow and learn
2. Employer values employee ideas and opinions
3. Employer does a good job of keeping employees informed
These are all the top components measured in the study
So, give your employees the chance to learn and try new things, listen to their ideas and opinions (and give them plenty of opportunities to let you do so), and communicate company business with them as much as possible.
Other important factors included ‘Leadership makes it a good place to work,’ ‘Employer has a good reputation,’ and ‘Leadership is trustworthy.’
Create great content for employees to share on social media
This is kind of a given, but it must be included.
No one wants to share (or even read) low quality content. So first, you must produce high quality content that your employees would be proud to share with their social circles.
Put real time and effort into your content creation and it will show (95% of online content is bullsh**, after all), and your employees will be more likely to share it on their own.
Include employees in your content creation strategy
What kind of posts are employees most likely to share? Posts they created (or had a hand in creating) themselves!
Allow employees to guest post on the company blog and give them the opportunity to share their input on your overall content creation strategy. If your employees feel like they are part of the reason your content is so great, they will take pride in it and be much more likely to share it.
Another interesting option is to create a “social media content” board on Trello, where employees can drop links to relevant articles, files, images, etc. This way everything is in one place for you to access later.
Here’s an example of a Trello board
Engage employees from the company’s social media accounts
When one of your employees does an outstanding job, switch it up.
Instead of recognizing their work in person, on the phone, or via email, reach out to them on social media! They’re almost guaranteed to reshare it because it’s funny, rarely ever happens, and gives them a chance to brag to their own circle about how good they are at their job (Twitter would be best for this).
Make it easy for employees to share company content
If you want your employees to share stuff about your company on social, don’t make them jump through hoops to do so.
Make it as easy as possible for them. As a matter of fact, Hubspot’s social publishing module can integrate and automate all your employees’ social media activity across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.
Ask employees to be on the lookout for company-related social media posts
If your company does things (which I imagine it does), inevitably someone will post something negative about it on social.
This can have a detrimental effect on your business (especially if posted by someone with a decent following). Try to curb the damage by having your employees constantly checking social media for comments about your business.
Give them some guidance on how to reply to negative comments, and encourage them to reply to positive ones as well. Nine times out of ten people are going to believe someone who actually works at the company over someone who doesn’t.
Track and share “share statistics” from employees
A little friendly competition never did hurt no one!
When an important piece of content goes out, share it with your employees and give them the opportunity to share it to their own circles. Let them know that you’ll be keeping track of the amount of traffic each employees’ social shares bring to the post (bit.ly links or another equivalent would work well here).
At the end, tally up the numbers and reward your top social superstars with something they can’t resist (a day off with pay is always enticing).
Turn your employees into walking advertisements
You ever see someone walking around in a t-shirt with a logo on it? That essentially makes them a walking advertisement.
Hand out t-shirts, hats, laptop covers, etc. branded with your logo so that even when your employees aren’t on the clock, they’re advertising your business. The key here is to have a “cool” brand and logo. No one wants to walk around in a Walmart t-shirt, but a Tesla t-shirt? I’ll take two!
This guy doesn’t know it, but with that shirt on, he’s a walking Tesla ad
Let employees incorporate your company into their own social profiles
Many companies have employees make separate social media profiles specifically for company purposes.
While it can be useful, this means they’re starting from scratch. Sharing content with 0 followers isn’t gonna do anyone much good. So instead, let them incorporate your company into their existing social profiles.
This way, when they share company content, it’s seen by their own social circle. Think about it this way: say you have 10 employees. Each employee has their own Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts. If they average 250 Twitter followers, 300 Facebook friends, and 200 LinkedIn connections, that’s 7,500 additional eyes on your posts. The sum of your employees’ social media followings are likely much higher than your branded accounts’ followings. Use them!
And those are 9 ways you can turn your employees into a marketing strategy without them even knowing it.
I’ll summarize them once more:
- Nurture a company culture that makes employees WANT to promote your business
- Create amazing content your employees will love to share on social media
- Banter with your employees from your company social media accounts
- Make it effortless for your employees to share content by using social media automation tools (included in all-in-one platforms like Hubspot)
- Ask employees to keep an eye out for news, articles, and social media posts about your business and your competitors
- Gamify your employees’ social media activity by tracking and reporting share stats
- Invest in high-quality company swag so your employees turn into walking ads for your business
- Make your employees comfortable with linking their “business” online activity with their personal social profiles
Keep in mind that to effectively use your employees as a marketing strategy, their participation must be voluntary.
This means creating a great company culture that employees are proud to be a part of. Unite employees around a common purpose (aside from making $$) so that they get a sense of fulfilment from working for you, and they will willingly promote your business without even knowing it.
It’s not easy but it will pay you immense dividends in the long run.
Do you do any of these things already? If not, how do you plan to implement them in your business?
Let me know in the comments.
…This post was written by Nate “The Email Ad Man” Schmidt…
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Employees who love working for you and happily promote your business on social media are an excellent source of qualified inbound leads.
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