One person or a small team creating a variety of engaging content across all social platforms takes time, effort, and creativity, which are all precious resources. Instead of looking at hiring more help, consider taking advantage of the resources you already have; your employees. Many hands make light work.

Arguments for

There are a lot of benefits to getting your employees on board with and pitching in on your social strategy.

Share the work

Expecting a small number of employees to carry the digital marketing efforts by themselves is a big ask. As we mentioned, it takes a lot to continuously come up with and create content and campaigns. It’s a common practice in the digital marketing world to focus on documenting experiences as opposed to always creating new content. Doing so takes some of the pressure off and getting a lot of employees doing it can take all of the pressure off.

How you hand off the work is up to you. You can make different people responsible for different types of content or assign employees to take the reins on a given day or week.

Build trust with your customers

People don’t follow brands. People follow people. Even when you’re following a brand with no human identity attached to it, it’s still another person crafting that content. People may start to follow an account just for the brand but they’ll stop if the content and engagement aren’t giving them the connection they’re looking for.

People also want to connect with real people. If there is more of an effort to have employees, real people, creating content and engaging with (potential) customers, trust will build. An account managed by the CEO won’t have as much trust as one managed by a customer’s peers. A CEO is going to be a lot more biased toward their company whereas a regular employee is more likely to give it to them straight. This will also lend itself to an increase in authenticity, which is in high demand on the internet today.

Build culture between your employees

The best thing for company culture is good communication between managers & employees and between employees themselves. Social media marketing isn’t just useful for customers to know what’s going on at the company, it’s great for knowing what the rest of the company has going on. Larger companies have departments that never communicate with each other or employees that never meet. Social media posts from the point of view of other employees can help everyone get to know each other a little bit better.

Expand reach

Almost everyone uses multiple social networks for personal purposes. That’s a whole lot of social equity that you can leverage to help advance your brand and reach. Don’t ask your employees to exploit their personal connections by sharing every company post, but if you include employees in the creation process or have them create their own content, they’ll want to share it. They’ll want to show it off to their networks and exposure of your brand will be a byproduct of that. Not only will it put your brand out there, the people who see it will do so in a positive light because it will be seen as an endorsement by their friend, your employee.

Studies show that personal posts get 8x more engagement than brand posts and are 16x more likely to make an impression.

You could be missing opportunities & leads

78% of salespeople who use social media outsell their coworkers. By not having your employees active in your social media marketing, you could be leaving sales & leads on the table. The people who work directly with the product and the customers are a great resource for creating content because they know what people are looking for. Also, they’re the best people to field questions pertaining to their own departments or fields. If they’re active on your pages, they can jump in and offer support ASAP instead of a marketing manager getting stumped and having to go through multiple channels to get an answer or solution.

Arguments against

Naturally, not every company will be sold on this kind of initiative right away. There are common concerns that come up that you can address.

Maintaining brand image

Brand image is very important to a company. The higher the rank in the company, usually the more important it is. Managers want to make sure that the right fonts, colours, images, and words are used to convey and promote the right vision of & for the company. This is natural. We’ve all heard of instances where an employee has tweeted something very wrong for that brand or from the wrong account. It’s understandable to be hesitant to let go and let employees post things that could potentially affect perceptions of the brand.

Too many rules

This goes hand-in-hand with the previous concern but it’s from the point of view of the employees. They won’t want to get involved if they think that everything they do is going to be scrutinized, torn apart, or shot down. Employees need to be given some freedom to operate. They don’t want to have to read through a brand guidelines manual every time they want to post something, so they won’t post anything at all.

The solution here is to provide guidance and very few hard-and-fast rules. This opens employees up to be creative within a certain boundary. Tell them a few things to avoid (like topics that are off-limits or how to handle negative comments) but make it clear what you are going for (goals and tone, for instance).

When it comes to employees posting on their personal pages about the company, the guidelines should be much more relaxed. Some obvious ground rules should apply (like don’t bad-mouth the company) but, apart from that, let them do whatever they want. It’s their page. The authenticity that we talked about before will be lost if the employee’s friends & connections can tell that they’re being censored if the tone of their posts suddenly changes.

Not a priority

Everyone already has a job to do, so it’s understandable that management may not want to divert resources to social media, especially if there’s an employee, department, or outside agency already hired to do so. What they should realize is that the time & effort it takes to post one photo, one Story, one poll, or whatever else, will be worth the investment. The same as how their marketing efforts now are worth the investment, this initiative will just take those efforts in a different direction since your average employee will see things differently in the company that your managers, marketing department, or outside agency.

Nothing worth posting about

It sounds like a big undertaking but it really isn’t when you divvy up the work. Everyone can find the time in their day to create one small piece of content. The bigger the company, the more little pieces of content you can string together to create bigger campaigns. It can also be valuable to have your employees review some free resources to help them create social content, including coming up with ideas.

The lowest-hanging fruit is for your employees to take turns doing a Story takeover on Instagram and/or Facebook. The sky’s the limit when it comes to posting potential. Everyone’s day and job looks different. The key is to show customers (and other employees) a side of the company that they wouldn’t otherwise see.

Advice

Curate content

As we’ve mentioned, people are using their personal accounts & profiles to stay connected with friends & family. Some of their content (photos, Stories, and status updates) will be about their work or their workplace, so encourage more of it, and encourage them to tag your brand accounts. This way, you can curate content and share it so that you can avoid the trouble of having to create everything from scratch.

Offer different levels of control

When it comes to quality control, coming up with different levels of control can be the most elegant solution. If management is really worried about who they let have free reign of their page, they can restrict employees to only be able to post certain things and interact in certain ways. Everyone else can submit content to the Admins for approval first. Facebook has a Page Roles setting built into their platform:

  • Admin
    • Manage Page roles and settings
    • Edit the Page and add apps
    • Create and delete posts and the Page
    • Send messages as the Page
    • Respond to and delete comments and posts to the Page
    • Remove and ban people from the Page
    • Create ads
    • View insights
    • See who published as the Page
  • Editor
    • Edit the Page and add apps
    • Create and delete posts and the Page
    • Send messages as the Page
    • Respond to and delete comments and posts to the Page
    • Remove and ban people from the Page
    • Create ads
    • View insights
    • See who published as the Page
  • Moderator
    • Send messages as the Page
    • Respond to and delete comments and posts to the Page
    • Remove and ban people from the Page
    • Create ads
    • View insights
    • See who published as the Page
  • Advertiser
    • Remove and ban people from the Page
    • Create ads
    • View insights
    • See who published as the Page
  • Analyst
    • View insights
    • See who published as the Page

Create a content library

If you don’t want anyone to be able to post whatever they want, you may consider setting up a shared space for employees to send content to be approved or for the social media manager to have access to for creating posts. This can be a shared Dropbox or Google Drive folder, a dedicated Slack channel, or a media library like the one in HeyOrca.

We curated a list of tools to run a social media agency, but they’re easily applicable to any team or group of people working together on content creation & strategy.

People should already be familiar with how to use some of these tools. For added convenience, HeyOrca has a feature that allows anyone to send media to the content library by just texting a picture or video to a dedicated phone number.

Incentivize employees to get involved

Sometimes, employees may not be convinced to invest the time and effort into this new initiative. If this is the case, you definitely want to use a carrot instead of a stick. Don’t make it a job requirement or push people past their level of comfort. Strongly encourage your employees by explaining why getting creating content is important and will be beneficial for them and their coworkers, not just the company itself. As an extra incentive, consider offering prizes for the best post, most engagement, or a random piece of content in order to get people to put a bit more time & attention into it.

As with most things, the level of involvement will trickle down from management to all of the rest of the employees. If the higher-ups are working on creating social content as much as they want their employees to, people will be much happier to help. If they don’t, their employees will start to resent them for putting more work on them and not taking on any more themselves. You don’t want that.

Conclusion

In our society, we’re well aware of how the internet has impacted and empowered us. It’s empowering our businesses by letting us reach more people in more places. It also lets us see things from other people’s points of view, including our employees and coworkers. Letting them share their perspectives can help build trust that people have for a brand, can build a good culture within a company, and can beef up the content that you have to work with for your digital marketing efforts. It might take a little convincing to get management or lower-level employees on board, but with the right encouragement, they’ll be glad they did.

Is it someone’s birthday? They can post a selfie.
Does someone have a unique commute to work? They can talk about it.
Is there a party in the break room? Take a group photo.
New top salesperson? Let them brag about it.
Does someone love the company culture? Have them explain why with an Instagram Story.