Building a sound social media marketing strategy is not an easy task, especially for smaller businesses and lesser-known brand names.
What’s worse is if your main competitor has a strong social media presence, or if they are a larger organization with more funding – it’s a huge disadvantage.
If your organic social media presence is lacking and you still want to gain some traction on social media, then you’re left with expensive paid advertising.
The average cost of social media advertising is $450 to $6,000 per month, with monthly ad spending ranging from $200 to $50,000, according to WebFX.
As a marketer, you don’t want to just throw your budget on ads and hope they work.
You want organic reach.
Not only are ads expensive, but they’re inauthentic. Brand accounts and ads get viewed with a level of skepticism.
So without an organic social media marketing strategy, you’ll either have an expensive and inauthentic presence or not much of a presence at all.
But what can you do?
Not leverage social media?
Look to your people! You see brands turn to influencers to try and leverage their presence.
Use your influencers.
Your organization is full of micro-influencers.
Each of your employees has a social media presence – some larger than others – but all of your employees are professionals in your industry.
Leverage their expertise and guide employees towards being more active on social media, and you’ll be surprised at the results.
Content shared by employees receives 8x the engagement of content shared on brand channels, according to Social Media Today.
This should come as no surprise considering people are more authentic and trustworthy than a brand or ad.
This proves that people take posts from other people more seriously than posts from brands or ads.
When you see an ad or a brand account promoting something online, how do you view it? Do you take the brand at its word? Do you completely trust the post?
I view ads and posts from brands with a bit of skepticism. These types of posts are promotional and have an agenda.
I’ll give you an example.
Let’s say a company posts a job opening on LinkedIn. The caption describes the job as a great opportunity at a company with a great culture, and the compensation is very competitive.
How excited would you be to apply?
Again, this is a post from a brand account, so I tend to have a bit of skepticism for these types of posts.
Of course, a brand account will say its company is a great place to work. It would never say anything else because its purpose is to promote the brand and draw in applicants.
However, if one of my friends or former colleagues shares a job posting on LinkedIn and says the same thing the brand handle in this example said, I’m much more likely to take their word for it.
I’m more likely to show interest in their posts, and I’m more likely to reach out to them and ask questions about the job than I would be with a brand handle.
This is because I find a post from a person more engaging… and I’m just like everybody else.
According to Nielsen, 84% of consumers value recommendations from friends and family above all forms of advertising.
So what does this have to do with enabling your employees to be social media ambassadors?
It’s simple. People trust other people more than they trust brands or ads.
To get people to trust and engage with your brand messages, you should enable your employees to be brand ambassadors.
In other words, encourage and enable your employees to share your brand messages.
How do you do that? Well, your employees might be more willing than you think.
There are some common reasons why employees don’t want to promote your brand on social media.
Some examples we’ve heard include, they don’t want to sound like a company robot, they’re worried about saying something their company wouldn’t approve of, and more.
What you have to do is encourage them to be active on social media, but to do this, you need to let them know what they get out of it.
What’s in it for them?
If you want your employees to take the time to be an advocate for your brand – however minimal time that might take – they need to know how this effort benefits them.
Fortunately, there is a long list of benefits:
When I see marketers share posts online with advice from their experiences, I appreciate that because it helps me learn from their success and mistakes. It’s something I relate to because they’re working in the same area as me.
I’ll engage with their posts and follow them on social media, which extends their reach. I’ll look at them as a credible resource I can turn to in the future.
There are many instances where people extend their social media presence by getting their name out there, leading to other opportunities. You could get invited on podcasts, speaking opportunities at conferences or webinars, or be interviewed by a media outlet.
Furthermore, employees who promote their organization on social media are a more valuable asset to their organization. They help with marketing efforts and brand reach. They’ll also gain a stronger understanding of their company’s overall mission and gain a stronger connection to their organization.
There are some best practices you want your employees to follow to extend their reach, align their activity with their goals, and boost your brand message.
First, you want your employees to build up a following. Have them follow important industry analysts and influencers, customers and potential customers, and of course each other.
This is an important step because if your employees don’t have followers in your target audience, then it’ll be hard for your target audience to see your messages.
Next, you need to keep in mind that just because you follow someone doesn’t mean they’ll follow you back. So how do you get people in your target audience to follow your employees?
Have your employees share valuable thought leadership content so you can show off their valuable insights and industry expertise.
Sharing content is important, but it’s just a piece of your social media strategy.
Have employees engage with people in your target audience. Find valuable conversations on industry trends and challenges, and have them share their expertise.
These actions will prop up your employees as thought leaders, boost their engagement, and extend their personal brand.
To help guide your employees towards the right actions on social media, and to measure your progress, you should use an employee advocacy platform.
With GaggleAMP, you can send requests to employees to carry out almost any activity you want.
Have them follow someone in your industry, share a job posting from your company, comment on a post, and more.
GaggleAMP has over 50 different activities you can choose from.
To learn more about GaggleAMP and employee advocacy, click on the link below!
Ramin Edmond is a Content Strategist for GaggleAMP. He oversees the company's editorial calendar and all its digital content including blogs, case studies, and press releases. Outside of work, Ramin likes to run, hike, and take pictures of Boston's best views. You can get in touch with Ramin at REdmond@GaggleAMP.com, or connect with him on LinkedIn.
Stay up to date with the latest in employee advocacy.