You’ve heard of influencers and user-generated content, but what about employee-generated content? B2B companies are increasingly finding value in sharing content through employee influencers.
Around 52% of HR and communications teams already use employee-generated content, and the reasons are simple. Compared to branded social media channels, employees have 10 times more followers and receive 8 times more engagement when they share content.
And you may ask, who are these employees, and what makes them special? It’s simple. These champions of your brand work for you, meaning they know your product/service inside and out, but they have their own network and contacts who look up to them as experts in their field.
Posts shared by employee influencers are perceived as more organic and neutral compared to content published on your official brand channels. Let’s look at how you can cultivate employee influencers and build an employee-generated content strategy.
1. Identify your influencers
The first step in building an employee-generated content strategy is identifying potential influencers within your organization. Look for individuals who are knowledgeable, enthusiastic about your brand, and have a strong presence on social media.
You’re not only looking for those with a high follower count but also for employees who actively engage with their audience and are respected in their field. They should ideally be people who embody your company’s values and can represent your brand effectively.
Here’s a quick overview on finding influencers for your employee-generated content strategy:
- Look for employees that show passion for your brand
- Evaluate their social media activities
- Focus on those with a large presence and active engagement
- Discuss the strategy and get their buy-in
Once you’ve gone through these stages and gained the employees’ agreement, you’ll be ready to take the next step.
2. Conduct a social profile audit and optimization
Now that you’ve identified potential employee influencers, the next step is to audit and optimize their social media profiles. Review their accounts for consistency in messaging and quality of content, and ensure their profile and bio align with your brand.
You also want to ensure they have a presence on the platforms that make the most sense for your business. If LinkedIn is where your customers spend their time, ensure your employees have a strong network on that channel.
As part of your social media profile audit, make sure to:
- Review social media handles. Record the usernames and URLs of each social media handle, note the number of subscribers or followers, engagement metrics, and other relevant KPIs for each social media channel.
- Analyze the engagement levels. You can use the built-in analytics features of each social media platform to check for demographic information, engagement metrics, impressions, and reach.
- Identify patterns. You want to check the engagement on the employees’ social media pages. Note the type of content and what platform generates the most engagement. Also, keep track of the demographics of contacts who are engaging with them the most. Identifying these patterns will help you craft your employee-generated content strategy.
- Set your goals. Ensure your goals are SMART and unique to each platform. Ultimately, your objectives should focus on increasing brand awareness, engagement, and lead generation.
3. Provide social media training
Social media proficiency isn’t a given, even among your most engaged employees. Providing social media training ensures that your employee influencers understand the best practices for each platform and know how to engage with their audience effectively.
Train them on ideal posting frequency, responding to comments and messages, handling potential negative comments, and any company guidelines related to social media activity.
Make sure to also train each influencer on using at least one of the top social media management tools like Hootsuite — or whichever platform your organization chooses. Make sure the end goal of your strategy is clear from the beginning and help enable a supportive learning environment.
4. Develop a content calendar
As with any other content strategy, it’s important to develop a content calendar for your employee-generated content.
This will help your employee influencers know what and when to post, ensuring that content is timely, relevant, and coordinated with other marketing activities. It will also allow you to space out posts between different influencers, giving it a more natural appearance.
To create a content calendar, follow these proven steps:
- Define your goals. Make them clear and precise. Do you want to generate leads? Get more organic traffic to your website? Increase your social media engagements? Sell more products? Clarify your goals.
- Develop a template. Create your template using tools like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. Your template should cover items like channels, topics, content type, the person in charge, and publishing timelines.
- Choose relevant channels. Each channel is unique in terms of what type of content is the most suitable. On TikTok and Instagram, short videos perform best; whereas professional, longer-form content performs better on LinkedIn. You get the idea.
- Decide on posting frequency. It’s a calendar after all. Decide on timing and posting frequency and assign someone to monitor compliance.
As a best practice, make sure to follow the current year’s calendar and keep an eye on upcoming events and holidays that you might build content around. Once you’ve developed your content calendar, you’re ready to start creating content.
5. Write the content for them, but make it authentic
While your employee influencers are experts in their field, they may not be skilled in content creation. Consider drafting posts for them or providing templates they can work from.
Make sure, though, that this content feels authentic and not overly polished or corporate. Encourage your influencers to tweak the drafts so the posts sound like them — their voice, their personality. Their input will help keep the content genuine, so it stays engaging and relatable to their audience.
Crafting engaging content can be challenging, especially ideation. Here are some tips on uncovering content ideas and how you can repurpose existing content. Ensure that content is fresh, error-free, and focused on the audience. If you choose to include blogging in your employee-generated content strategy, here are 10 errors to avoid.
6. Space out posts to make the strategy look organic
Another essential aspect of an employee-generated content strategy is making it look spontaneous. If all your employee influencers post the same content simultaneously, it will appear coordinated and lose its authenticity.
Use your content calendar to space out the posts, and maintain a more organic feel to the content distribution by ensuring that different employee influencers are posting about different topics. Remember your social profile audit? Post content when your audience is more likely to engage with it.
Stay on top of the process with content marketing software like Hootsuite that help you automate your posts, and consider using tools like CoSchedule and Trello help you organize and manage the process, including team members.
Employee-generated content examples
Here are a few employee-generated content examples to give you some ideas:
Go behind the scenes with video content. Employees can create video content demonstrating how to use your product or give a tour of the office or one of your organization’s events. Video content is highly engaging and can easily be shared on various platforms. Here’s an example of an IBM employee, Nada Alkutbi, posting a LinkedIn video to showcase her experience at one of their recent events.
Here’s another example: You recently launched a new product and want your audience to know how it came together. Leverage employee-generated content to take them behind the scenes and humanize your brand.
Position your employees as industry thought leaders with LinkedIn posts and articles. Employees can write and publish articles on LinkedIn that focus on industry trends and insights or share their personal experiences at the organization.
These articles can help position your employee — and by extension, your company — as a thought leader. It also projects your organization as a rewarding place to work.
Go live on social. Employees can host short live events on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Facebook, sharing their knowledge on a specific topic or discussing industry trends. These live videos can also include introducing a new hire, company events, interviews with leadership on industry-relevant issues, or just your employees enjoying a good time.
Live videos allow you to highlight diversity in your organization, boost your organization’s brand image, and connect with your audience.
Bottom line: Make the process as simple as possible for your employees
The key to a successful employee-generated content strategy is to make it easy for your employees. Offer your assistance, provide necessary resources, and ensure they know there’s no pressure. The more seamless and less time-consuming the process, the more your employees will want to participate.
Consider giving them incentives and access to social media management software like Buffer or Hootsuite so they can schedule their content. Provide relevant training and ensure they have the right environment to create content for you.
By leveraging the power of your employee influencers, you can amplify your brand’s reach, build trust, and boost engagement. And in today’s digital landscape where authenticity is highly valued, employee-generated content could be the secret weapon that gives your brand a competitive edge.
Leverage the power of employee-generated content to build your marketing campaigns. It’s more organic than standard branded content and helps project authenticity. Start from your email list to share interesting employee-generated content and stay top of mind with your network. For help developing a full campaign around your employee-generated content, our email marketing copywriters can help — reach out anytime.