What if we told you that there’s a way to boost engagement with your social media posts, appeal more to purchasing decision-makers, see more shares and interactions, grow trust, and grow share of voice without having to upend your entire social media strategy?
You’d probably be pretty impressed, right?
This is exactly what employee-generated content offers to B2B brands looking to enhance their impact on social media. Simply put, if you allow your employees to contribute ideas, and turn those ideas into quality content, your social media presence can go through an incredible evolution.
Need to know more? We don’t blame you…
First of all, what is employee-generated content?
As the name suggest, EGC covers a wide variety of content, from photographs to articles and blog posts, web talks and seminars to videos, infographics – even Tweets – created by your own employees.
There are no defining traits of EGC, and there are just as many ways of doing EGC as there are different types of social media posts. EGC can be carefully planned or casual and spontaneous. It can be created quickly, in response to a particular trend or relevant conversations on social media, or it can be a much more comprehensive, detailed study of a particular area of the industry or business.
EGC can be repurposed – say, an online seminar reinvented as a series of salient points presented through Instagram’s carousel feature – or it can be created for purpose – a Tweet or TikTok video, for instance.
Generally, one of the core benefits of EGC is authenticity. This content isn’t created by a brand. Yes, it’s created by individuals, but it’s approved and published under the brand’s name, rather than an individual creator. In short, it can feel a little faceless. EGC, on the other hand, tends to feel more personal and, as a result, more authentic to audiences.
And, don’t forget: authenticity sells. 88% of customers value brand authenticity, and the only way you can integrate it into your social media marketing strategy is, well…authentically. By putting content creation in the hands of your workforce – giving them plenty of creative freedom to step beyond the business’s usual blueprints for content creation – you can reap the rewards of a more authentic, lively online presence.
Here are some more of the most compelling benefits to giving employee-generated content a prominent position in your social publishing strategy.
Enjoy a wider reach
There’s an inherent limitation to any social media account. Even with the best content posting strategy and regular engagement with your audience, you’re still confined to the parameters of your own page. Looking to strategies that take your brand beyond your own account – for instance, B2B influencer marketing or social media advocacy – is a great way to diversify your online presence, expand your reach, and boost share of voice.
Lean into humanization and trust
Social media is a great medium for humanizing a brand – giving it a human face, and making it feel a lot more accessible to followers.
We’ve all seen examples of prominent B2C brands – Wendy’s, for instance, or the very self-aware Netflix – who can appeal to their followers’ sense of humor, or even just share their values in a way that feels approachable and authentic. In the B2B sector, it’s less about cracking jokes or jumping on memes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work on humanizing your brand, and building trust with your target audience.
Building thought leadership (more on that below) through employee advocacy is an excellent way to give followers a keen sense of your brand, and what it stands for, across social media.
Complement social proof and user-generated content
Social proof is a powerful tool. We are all easily influenced by others, and we use our peers’ preferences and inclinations as a barometer for our own. It’s most commonly applied to user-generated content (UGC) – reviews and testimonials, for instance, or social media posts about brands from their customers.
Don’t get us wrong – UGC is incredibly valuable to brands, particularly when sentiment weighs in their favor (obviously!) But, on social media, nothing happens in a vacuum, and employee-generated content can be an incredible complement to user-generated content.
If employees are contributing directly to the brand’s social media page – creating their own content, and giving your brand an approachable, friendly, human face – than you can take advantage of social proof from a new perspective. How? Because, when it feels as authentic as UGC, your employees can behave more like consumers, advocating for your brand on their own pages, and for the benefit of their own followers.
In the B2C world, this exact approach was recently used by Reebok, who showcased employees who wore their products at the gym.
We are all easily influenced, which means user- and employee-generated content have a lot more common than you might think.
Utilize all perspectives
Every member of your workforce has a unique perspective on the business, how it upholds its values, how it competes, how it ensures the strongest possible customer experience…you name it, they’ve got something worth saying about it.
Thought leadership is all about putting practice-based knowledge to use. This is the gold dust of any industry – it comprises experience, insight, wisdom, skill all wrapped up in one package. But, all too often, it’s underutilized.
To tap into these fresh perspectives, you’ve got to make content creation a core part of business. Encouraging employees to leverage their expertise in this way is great for improving the workplace culture (more on that later), and ensuring you’ve always got a strong reserve of content ready to publish on your own channels, or via an employee advocacy program, as and when the time calls for it.
A Key for Thought Leadership
This should represent a key focus for any B2B marketer – the drive to establish your brand, and, potentially, its employees, as industry leaders through advocacy on social media.
Thought leadership is what makes those fresh perspectives such a valuable resource for brands, and it’s exactly why you should be driving toward a solid social posting schedule, built on quality content, and other opportunities to reaffirm your brand’s wisdom and insight – say, through influencer marketing.
You can’t fake your way to thought leadership. It’s not just about getting your name out there as much as possible, it’s about making your brand – and its pages – a truly valuable resource worth following.
Who better to work toward that ultimate goal than your workforce, who understand – better than anyone else – the challenges and complexities of the industry?
A better workplace culture
Entrusting employees to create a rich body of content representative of the business is a great way of conveying your respect for the work they do, your recognition of their expertise and insight, and the inherent value their role holds for the company.
This is particularly useful if you’re worried about the impact remote and flexible working has had – or will eventually have – on your workplace culture. Introducing employee boards that empower employees to create content based on their experiences, and implementing a clear content strategy for employee advocacy platforms, reaffirms the value your business holds not just as a brand, but as an employer.
Encouraging EGC also encourages collaboration – often, between employees who wouldn’t usually work together on a project. New networks open up between otherwise disparate teams – sales and creatives, for instance, or HR and marketing. Content creation can become a long-term project – one that encourages self-reflection, innovative thinking, fresh insight, and pride in the work the company is doing.
We’re definitely fans of pizza parties and Dress-Down Fridays, but there’s not much that’ll offer the widespread boost to office morale that a strong drive toward EGC promises.
Distance yourself from the ‘stock market’
We’re not talking about Wall Street, but the reliance so many businesses continue to have on stock images that say nothing about who they are, the people behind them, or what their values are. We’ve all moved on from the internet’s formative years, which means most of us can recognize generic stock photography at the drop of a hat.
That wouldn’t be so bad if stock photography wasn’t associated with inauthenticity, impersonality, a lack of imagination and, often, a lack of diversity, too. A lack of personality is one of the biggest social media mistakes you can make, and EGC is the ideal substitute for those impersonal posts.
The more you can convey your brand’s unique qualities, vision, and values through the content you and your employees publish to social media, the more pay-off you will see.
Employee-generated content is an incredibly powerful resource for social media marketing. Every business has the capacity to create unique and truly valuable content, purpose-built to appeal to your target audience and solidify your brand’s status as a market leader. Leveraging social media for advocacy and thought leadership can have a widespread impact on your social media strategy’s ROI.
Oktopost’s marketing suite includes a brand advocacy platform, which simplifies the process of turning your workforce into brand advocates, and ensures you maintain control over your brand’s reputation on social media.