Employee-generated content: perks and pitfalls

Topics: Social Media, recruitment strategy

Posted by Lisa B. Radloff on Jul 21, 2020 9:00:00 AM

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As the marketing and advertising landscape continues to transform the way content is created and delivered, social media has leveraged the playing field for businesses in ways not imagined a scant few years ago. In today’s online world, brands have personal identity, people have morphed into brands and fictional characters likely have more Twitter followers than us.

As social media continues to evolve, marketing teams must continue to explore ways to “personalize” and add value to their company, business or product. The best ambassadors for your organization aren’t invented in marketing: they’re right in front of you. Your own employees represent the essence of who you are as a company, and have the tendency to attract people who are like-minded. Already an advocate for your company, your employees have much greater influence over customers and prospects than ever before.

In our hyper-connected digital world, it’s crucial to connect in a transparent, honest manner. Considering your employees have their off-the-clock personal, loyal social media following, why not capitalize on it? Let their personalities shine in their own authentic voice, and get them involved in your social media content.

93% of businesses are active on Facebook
80% of Instagram users follow a business
97% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to help drive content marketing
Source: SocialPilot

Is your social media presence a sea of passive “likes,” or even worse, no engagement at all? Are you posting content that looks/sounds/reads like a press release devoid of personality or a unique voice? You can fix that by engaging your own people in your social media marketing efforts. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Encourage – but don’t force – participation. In life and, by extension, work, there are introverts and extroverts. Active and passive personalities. And a sea of people who are a little of both. That’s all well and good; given the context (employees as company ambassadors), it’s important to keep your goal in mind: your fans/customers/followers/audience want to identify with your organization as one that attracts (and employs) “people who are like me.” Give them what they want—and don’t force Fred in accounting to record an unfocused, “dead-air” video of his commemorative coin collection (nobody cares, and it’ll come off as try-hard fakeness).
  • Designate a point-person as gatekeeper to your social media accounts. This person should have the authority to post across your social channels, as well as review and approve content posted on behalf of/tagged by your employees. On that note, it’s also important to…
  • Have a social media policy in place. Your budding viral stars won’t know they’re breaking the rules if there are no rules in place. Create a company policy that clearly defines your social media directive, articulates your intent and offers guidance and pointers on how your employees can produce engaging, relevant content.
  • Don’t ghost your audience. You’ve made the effort to ensure that a point-person (or, if resources permit, a social media team) is monitoring and policing content to ensure company tone, voice and compliance. You’re seeing audience engagement and increased traction. This is good. This is also NOT the time to assume “your work here is done” and go on auto-pilot. Social interaction requires continued engagement, validation and acknowledgement. When someone asks a question, answer it. When someone makes a comment, keep the conversation going. And by all means, if someone lodges a complaint, respond to it immediately and steer the conversation in a positive direction.

Employee-generated content doesn’t have to be a slick production. It just has to be honest and genuine. Let your own people speak for your company, and your company brand – your voice –will rise above the chatter.

Lisa B. Radloff

Since joining NAS in 1998, Lisa has used her strong conceptual skills, sharp ear for dialogue and keen understanding of candidate behavior to produce concepts and copy for print, radio, television and online media for a vast range of clients across many industries.