Yael Klass is the Senior Director of Global Content and Social Media at Similarweb.
Organic social media seems to be drying up. New platforms offer some opportunities, but not always very big ones. It’s likely why social media ad spending is projected to reach $229.5 billion in 2022.
According to Social Insider data, the average organic engagement rate cross-industry on Twitter is just 0.05%; Facebook posts see 0.13%. It’s no surprise that social media managers have had to learn the art of paid media.
It’s not all gloom, doom and money spent. There is a saving grace.
As I mentioned in a recent Expert Panel, I believe employee advocacy is the only true organic outlet left on main corporate channels for brands to amplify their digital reach and build communities. But up until recently, it was relatively unheard of.
The Algorithm Puzzle Of Organic Social
Social media channels have their own rules, and algorithms push content to the forefront of users’ feeds. And if you’re not on the algorithm’s good side, you can kiss any organic views as part of your social media strategy goodbye.
Facebook evaluates every post, scores it and prioritizes its position based on the potential interest of each of its 2.93 billion monthly active users.
What does this mean for you? With millions of posts to compete with, saying it’s hard to get eyes on your content organically would be an understatement.
The situation isn’t much better on LinkedIn. The go-to social media platform for B2B uses an algorithm that sorts content based on relevance. And since many people recommend posting just one to five times per day, you have fewer assets to prove your value. The game just got much harder to win.
Enter social media employee advocacy programs.
The Bottom Line
I’m not just plugging employee advocacy programs for the fun of it. Data supports that it’s good for your business.
Posts generate 561% more reach when an employee distributes them rather than the company itself, according to a 2018 report from Postbeyond (via Sprout Social). The same report found that companies with high employee engagement outperform those with no engagement by 202%.
At Similarweb, we launched our own division within the social media department with great results. We saved 10% on ad spend between May and December 2021 when we first started; six months later, we’ve increased those savings by 15%. In our first year, we drove seven million impressions.
Helping With Onboarding And Adoption
Employee advocacy can build credibility, which translates into value for your business.
The clout your employees gain on social media produces significant trust signals for those considering your product. According to an Olapic survey covered in AdWeek (paywall), 76% of individuals surveyed believe content average people share is more honest than advertising from brands.
Trust can generate more qualified leads. Compared to external influencers whose posts we all know are usually bought, your employees are more likely to be seen as legitimate.
Boosting Staff Buy-In
When done right, social media advocacy programs can also bring value to your staff.
That’s to say, you should never require them to share content because it can strip away authenticity, and I promise you that your employees will grow to dread doing so over time.
But those who actively choose to participate can organically grow their social networks. That’s better than most B2B businesses today.
Use this as an opportunity to understand the sentiment of your staff. Take the temperature of the pride they have in sharing your company’s successes and updates. Lack of buy-in suggests there could be a morale issue.
By empowering your employees with the tools and skills they need to become thought leaders in their own right, you can, in turn, create a better company culture.
Over time, you may even reduce staff churn and increase quality hires.
Content Your Audience Wants To Read
According to Forrester, 68% of people don’t think that brands share interesting content on social media.
In today’s digital world, if organic social posts don’t grab your readers’ attention fast, they’ll likely swipe faster.
Employee advocacy can help to diversify your content. When we first launched our employee advocacy program, we held a thought leadership contest that asked employees to write about whatever they wanted. Many of our staff published LinkedIn posts for the first time on topics like imposter syndrome, a 2022 SEO manifesto and digital transformation, and these posts ultimately generated 175,000 impressions for us.
Urge employees to share who they are and don’t force inauthenticity. I believe these factors are why our program has become such a success.
Once you have all different types of content, see what resonates with your audience and focus your digital marketing strategy accordingly.
You can also assess what your staff shares most to see what’s relevant to other professionals in your area. For example, we have a product for marketers, so we look at what kind of content our marketing staff shares, as that’s what our audience is most likely to consume.
Leveraging Talent And Resources
Despite the growing list of potential business benefits of employee advocacy—an increased share of voice, impressions, audience reach, clicks to sales and so on—our staff is often underutilized.
The belief is that you need to invest more in social media to make an impact. But with the economy as unpredictable as it is (just look at FAANG stocks), why not take advantage of an organic social media outlet that may be able to produce returns comparable to paid campaigns?
A few tips before you get started: Make sure you can track your business’s impact with social media monitoring tools and conduct employee training on best practices. Incentives also help when you’re getting started.
Let’s go conquer the final frontier of marketing.
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