By: Ellen In late September, LinkedIn rolled out its new employee advocacy tool, called Elevate, to the enterprise community. With Elevate, companies can give employees a seamless way to share content across LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook – and then track the impact of those shares.
There’s a reason why LinkedIn invested in this product. Employee advocacy can take social content from zero to hero, without a whole lot of spend or time required. In fact, when LinkedIn first announced Elevate, it shared the statistic that while only 2 percent of employees share the content their company posts on LinkedIn, that 2 percent drives 20 percent of the overall engagement the content receives. But if employee advocacy is so powerful, why do so many companies struggle with getting their teams to share social content? This is a common frustration we hear from clients. Even if they send employees pre-written social posts to copy and paste, few people actually follow through.
In a way, it’s not surprising. Our clients are tech companies, and I can understand why it would be a stretch for an engineer, product manager or designer to see the direct value of sharing social content. It’s removed from what they’re doing, doesn’t obviously support their job function and, in many cases, these employees may not have very active presences on LinkedIn or Twitter.
But here’s what I don’t understand: why on earth would salespeople be reluctant to share company content? Sales teams are busy, of course, and social media can feel a bit abstract compared to picking up the phone and talking to a prospect. But the truth is that sharing company content can help a salesperson do his job better while supporting the company’s growth. Here’s why.
Drive more qualified leads: Much of the content that companies share on social comes in the form of blog posts, e-books, case studies, industry reports and information about upcoming events. In other words: lead-gen mechanisms. The more people that share that content, the more clicks it will receive and the more leads it will generate for sales. Simply by sharing a post or pasting a tweet, a salesperson can help expand the reach of that content and thus increase the potential of more leads. But not just any leads. Assuming he or she is connected with prospects on LinkedIn, the salesperson’s decision to share company posts means getting lead gen content in front of exactly the right audience.
Be the expert: Here’s a fun fact. Since implementing Elevate, CEB, a beta user, reported that profile views for employees using the tool increased by an average of 150 percent, with company page views increasing by 90 percent. If your sales team uses LinkedIn to connect with prospects, this is a huge opportunity. On Twitter as well, the more interesting content a person shares, the more profile views she can drive. By sharing content that is relevant to the challenges their prospects face, salespeople help brand their companies and themselves as experts on how to solve those problems.
Build relationships: In an industry that’s all about relationships, social sharing gives salespeople a built-in way to engage with and educate prospects. At baseline, this can be a copy and pasted tweet or LinkedIn post that lets your audience know, “hey, I’m an ongoing resource for you.” But for savvy social salespeople, it can be so much more. Imagine sharing your company’s LinkedIn post with a blog about cloud migration and tagging a specific prospect who asked you a question about that topic a few weeks before. Or replying to a customer’s tweet about getting his credentials stolen with an e-book about steps to take once this type of theft occurs. It’s all about real-time education that builds trust between sales and their prospects.
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