A steady stream of employee generated content can show the world that your team members see your organization as something more than a paycheck. A place where they take pride in punching the clock. But even if they take pride in working at your company, you still have to convince your employees to share brand content.
I spoke with Alistair Neil, director of business development at Paiger, about how to convince your employees to share brand content and amplify your brand’s voice through employee-generated content.
If your employees aren’t sharing your company on their social networks, you need to find out why. “The people that are rejecting the content probably have a good reason for it,” Alistair said. “In my experience, a lot of it comes down to what content is authentic and real,” he said. “They want to participate in authentic content that represents the business.”
As an example, Alistair points to an accounting firm he once worked with. The firm had created a piece of video content that highlighted its commitment to diversity. Except … the company was largely composed of white men. “They had token diversity people there, and it came off as staged,” he explains. “It was just transparent that it was a marketing video.”
The company then made another video — one that said it wanted to become more diverse. “That’s the type of employee video that people actually wanted to share,” Alistair said. “People don’t want to participate in bullshit marketing programs.”
Employee-generated content is an opportunity to showcase different sides of your company, Alistair noted. It’s an opportunity to break free from your traditional marketing team while introducing diverse voices to your content. “If you’re a marketer, you’re going to create marketing-type content,” he said. “Whereas if you’re an employee, you’re going to have a different voice.”
When encouraging employee-generated content, communicate to your employees that it doesn’t necessarily have to be complicated. You’re not asking for a white paper or a lengthy blog post. Instead, it can be something as simple as a photo of a high-five at a company picnic. “It’s not something the marketing team would probably put together themselves,” he points out, but it’s a great way to highlight the culture at your organization.
These simple pieces of content also show your employees that their perspectives matter. “It’s not just a marketing angle,” says Alistair. “So tell your marketing person to stop trying to do everything themselves.”
Ultimately, getting your employees to share content comes down to one question: Do they want to?
Alistair uses the most prominent example of shared content: job listings. Some companies have referral programs for employees, but Alistair says these are generally not effective. “The companies that have paid referral bonuses don’t always do as well as companies that don’t,” he says. “Because if you have to pay to get referrals, there’s something wrong with your company.”
If your employees are not sharing job postings, Alistair says, it may be a good litmus test for the type of culture at your organization. “If your company is not in a place where your employees would think, ‘Hey, somebody else should come work here as well,’ then you’re not going to be able to win those people over with money,” he explains. “You have to fix your culture at the core level.”