Posting on social media platforms such as LinkedIn can sometimes feel like shouting into the wind. There’s so much activity and so much noise, how can you possibly get your message noticed by the right people? The good news is you absolutely can get noticed, with good content, planning, and smart use of best practices like tagging, hashtags, and native content. There is a myriad of ways to move the needle and increase the likelihood your post will reach the right people, and they are accumulative rather than a one-time rocket to a world of engagement and clicks. The best accumulative method to move the needle comes from your employees.
That’s right: your employees are an extremely important aspect of making your LinkedIn program successful. It’s no secret that engaged, passionate employees are a crucial component in any successful business, but many don’t realize that translating that engagement into the digital space can help your LinkedIn reach people outside of your current audiences. The short answer for why this is so: LinkedIn’s algorithms reward engagement with a page’s posts by showing it to more people. Your employees can be the fiercest (and sometimes, most trusted) advocates to increase your company’s exposure. It also lets you tap into the secondary audience of employees’ followers in a meaningful way—according to LinkedIn (and you’d have to imagine they know what they’re talking about here), on average a company’s employees have a combined network over ten times larger than the company’s follower base.
Having your employees visibly engaged with your company on LinkedIn also does wonders for reputation management. A bustling, interesting LinkedIn (or other social platform, depending on your industry, your offerings, and where your customers are) sends the message that your business is one that people should pay attention to, and should stop by and spend some time learning about. You’ll want to make sure your employees’ profiles reflect them and you in the best, professional manner, of course (think of keeping your employees’ LinkedIns professional as a kind of digital dress code), but there is a halo effect that occurs to bolster your company’s reputation in digital spaces.
So, let’s dive into a couple simple, effective ways to tap into those secondary audiences and beyond. Importantly, we’re not going to treat your employees like treasure chests of followers and engagements we need to bust open; when face-to-face interaction is involved, people can sense artifice and stay away from it. We’re going to look at ways your employees can help you move the needle in a meaningful, honest way that will work for everyone.
To start, make sure each of your employees who are signed up for LinkedIn is following your page on the site, and has your company listed as their employer in their profile. This will help identify them as employees to others on LinkedIn but will also help you. Reason: LinkedIn allows you to view employee activity on your posts separately from non-employees, so you can check how much engagement you’re getting and from where.
Sharing, Liking, and Commenting
Encourage employees to share your page’s posts frequently and tag your page when they do so. This will let their followers see your news and updates and adds a layer of trust and credibility to the message for this secondary audience.
Keep in mind that despite it being more business-focused, LinkedIn is still a social network, and for many, reposting nearly every update by their employer isn’t a reasonable ask, as it risks annoying or alienating their followers, colleagues, and friends. There is such a thing as oversharing, and the audience fit for them might not be great (especially if they’re in a support role, like HR).
Also, keep context in mind. Encourage them to share as much as they’re comfortable with; if they’re hesitant to share, remind them that liking/“reacting” and commenting on as many posts as they can is a great way to help your company’s visibility without clogging up their feeds. LinkedIn, like all social networks, sees how many people engage with a post and uses that as a baseline to decide how many people to show that post (and future posts) to. Individuals liking or commenting on a post will tell the social platform algorithms that what’s being shared is of general interest; it’ll then widen the group of people it puts the post in front of, followers of yours or of the hashtags you’re using.
A Word of Warning
You might be tempted to draft “canned” responses for your employees. There’s a logic to it, sure: your employees are already busy, and when you’re giving them an additional ask, why not make it as easy as possible for them with pre-written notes they just have to copy and paste? The downside of pre-written notes: when people see the same exact message posted by different people around the same time, it’s very obvious that they didn’t come up with it themselves, and by extension, it’s an easy conclusion to make that it’s a canned response. Avoid this—it can crater the credibility of your employees and undo a good portion of the benefits having your employees engage with your LinkedIn can provide. While it’s not a bad idea to let employees know when there’s a new post and encourage them to share it and/or talk about it, providing them with a script will often backfire, and in the worst way—one that will have negative aspects (a loss of credibility for them and your company, negative brand associations) that aren’t immediately obvious and could grow over time without you noticing.
For Sales Staff
To be sure, context and comfort will matter, so always keep an open ear if your salespeople have concerns or feedback, but employees who use their LinkedIn and social media platforms as a sales vehicle absolutely should share any and all posts they can; it’s more content for their pitches, more proof points for what they’re selling.
Organize and Incentivize
The last thing you want to do is make your employees uncomfortable or confused about how you want them to engage with their company’s social activity. Set clear objectives, expectations, and asks, and make it understood that you’re open to feedback and will take employee’s preferences on how they want to engage into consideration. Genuine enthusiasm goes farther than forced enthusiasm, so acknowledging where your employees are most comfortable will go a long way toward making your LinkedIn program a success.
Don’t forget about incentive programs for employees who interact; this will also help foster engagement. Come up with a simple program that rewards the employee every month who leads in engagement—maybe the person who shares the most posts or gets the most engagement from non-employees on their shares gets a gift card or a similar low-stakes reward.
Now that you’ve got your employees on board, you’ll want to make sure what you are posting (and what’s hopefully being shared and liked and discussed often) is the best content it can be. Talk to BVM (BridgeView Marketing) today to find out how we can help your social media content go from zero to sixty.