Social sharing is a popular social media marketing technique and particularly essential for B2B companies with a focus on content marketing for sales enablement. In a nutshell, it’s any promotion of a brand – its image, vision, and content – done by its employees. Word of mouth and referrals have always been powerful ways for businesses to get their message across and reach new customers. Today, that reach goes even further with all of the social media channels now available to adopt and make use of. Your employees are a built-in channel for your content, so why not empower them to spread the word about your brand.
At least, that’s the theory. Any content marketer will tell you that it’s not very easy to get employees to share content and promote it via their own social channels. There are a few reasons for this: inertia, a built-in reluctance to promote company materials on media that they own, self-consciousness, and more.
There’s no magic bullet, alas. But the following approach does help create a culture of social sharing.
Produce meaningful content
First, you need to produce high-quality, pertinent content. People don’t want to be associated with posts that are not relevant and useful. You wouldn’t either, would you? When you hit the share button on social media it’s an extension of you and your reputation.
One good way to get employee support is to engage them in the content creation process. Do a bit of outreach to identify pertinent topics and see if you can garner any themes from colleagues. Not only will employees have a bigger stake in sharing content, you will probably gain some good ideas!
Identify the social media super-users
Chances are, you will have a select crew of colleagues who are naturally active on social media – whether it’s Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. Discover them; and engage them as your company’s social vanguard. Get them training if you need to: and ensure they have access to all the content they need to start sharing!
What’s in it for them?
Once you’ve identified your social superstars, you need to answer the age-old question: ‘what’s in it for me’? Why should they share your content with their followers? Nothing works as well as a good old-fashioned incentive. A few things to look at here: support in building their own professional social networks, the advantages of positioning themselves as thought leaders, and keeping their profiles active, for instance. Showcasing their achievements internally, providing ongoing professional development, building it into job descriptions, and other incentives are also very effective.
Track, showcase and inspire
Once you have a strong pilot program with results (that you can hopefully tie back to revenues), it’s time to inspire others to jump on the wagon! You will always have some employees who are not comfortable raising their profile on social media: don’t waste precious time trying to convert them! But there will be the middle ground of employees who would like to have a better presence but don’t know quite how to go about it. In our experience, subtly showcasing a successful social sharing program does create a virtuous circle of employees joining in and making social sharing a normal behaviour.
Make social content sharing easy
Once you get the ball rolling, you will need a strategy to train employees, provide relevant software to make sharing easy and choose a reporting method. As part of this strategy, you’ll want to offer a clear vision as to why everyone should be a part of this mission. It’s easier for people to get involved when they know what goal they’re working towards.
Your employees will be the voice of your company so providing pre-approved, easy to copy and paste content and predefined messages is essential. Once you have your content ready for sharing, quickly develop an appropriate tweet, Facebook post and/or LinkedIn headline along with it so that it’s as easy as click and go. Involve a social media management tool like Hootsuite or Passle and provide access and training to employees, so that the process is as seamless and quick as possible. An easy way to begin and get the word out internally – that you are looking for team members to get company content seen and heard – is to send out an internal newsletter with social sharing buttons.
Finally, you’ll need to measure the results of your employee’s outreach and celebrate them internally through financial or other incentives. As part of your program, you’ll want to set up a system of rewards and recognition in order to keep people enthused and motivated.
Not having a social media component in your company’s B2B content marketing campaign is no longer an option. So, stay ahead of the curve – contact us to talk about how we can help create the content your employees will want to share, or take a look at our blog detailing the perfect content strategy, here.