Content Marketing’s Secret Weapon: Use Your Employees’ Network

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If content drops on your website and no one is around to read it, what’s the point of it? This modern take on an ancient problem sums up marketing’s content distribution challenge. The solution is already waiting for you in the form of your vastly underused employee network. The Content Marketing Institute recently identified eight factors that underpin successful content marketing strategies. Half of them depend on having a strong employees’ advocacy network:

  • Employing a collaborative and integrated approach
  • Assembling a dedicated content marketing team
  • Fostering a culture of change and openness
  • Having the ability to tap into subject matter expertise

Essentially, all you need to do is tap into the power of employee amplification to see your content strategy bloom.

Why Employee Advocacy Matters

Tara Autrey, Aetna’s Senior Social Media Manager, pointed out that she relies on employees as a central component of her brand reach strategy: “With employee advocacy, our employees can reach people that have been exposed to the Aetna brand or come across our social pages.”

Think of employees as your most powerful, most cost-effective content distribution channel. In terms of sales, IBM reported that leads developed through employee word-of-mouth marketing convert 7X more frequently than other leads. Research from Social Media Today expanded on that research to report that content shared by employees drove 8X greater engagement than content directly from brand channels. Furthermore, an infographic published on the same blog found out that 47% of consumers believe employees are the most trusted source for company engagement information

On another hand, engaging your employees in content distribution also has an important impact on your workforce morale. Studies show that employees of a socially engaged company are 40% more likely to consider it as more competitive, 27% more likely to believe in its future, and 20% more likely to stay there. On top of increasing lead generation, you increase your employees’ confidence and limit turnover

Whether your company controls the message or not, employees will naturally discuss your brand because it is such a big part of their lives. The public relations firm Weber Shandwick estimated that 98 percent of your employees are already regularly active on at least one social media site, and at least half of them are posting information related to your brand. Shouldn’t marketing be part of that conversation?

Tools for Employee Advocacy

Getting started with an employee advocacy program has become much simpler thanks to new tools on the market, such as Smarpshare.com. This platform encourages employees to discover and share content that you approve. It uses sophisticated gamification, metrics and analytics to discover what works for your employees and suggest how you can reach a wider audience.

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Smarpshare, a powerful employee advocacy tool

Another forgotten distribution channel is employee emails. More than 38 billion professional emails are sent out every day. Signr.io boosts content engagement by putting a link to revolving content right inside employee email signatures. Real-time monitoring measures impressions and guides your content strategy.

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Signr, Push your Content in Employees’ Email Signatures.

Employees will be more likely to share content when it is easy for them. You can keep everyone informed of content updates with Circulate.it, which puts a daily content digest in each employee inbox. Employees can share and comment on their favorites with a single click.

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Circulate.it, Team Sharing Made Simple.

Keeping Employees Engaged

Karen Mizell, Senior Manager of Sales Communications at Gallo Winery, made it clear how much employees value being part of the business: “At Gallo Winery, our employees are highly engaged and very passionate about our products. It’s natural to tap into that passion.”

Step one is to make sure that employees always have great content to share, which will take a combination of content generation and curation – use rewards and gamification to keep employees aligned with company goals. You’ll also need to keep track of which types of content employees prefer, as well as which bring in the most customer interaction.

Great content deserves a great distribution strategy. Your employees are already on social media, and securing their support for amplifying content will be crucial for the success of your marketing plans. New tools are making it easier to get them involved, but it will take a commitment from management to drive this change through the organization. Employee advocacy gives your content a fighting chance in a world full of distractions. You owe it to your content to bring employees on board.

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