By Aileen Driscoll, Vice President, Director of Digital & Peter Walpole, Senior Digital Manager
The Power of Authentic Employee Perspectives
With more employees working from home more often, the lines between personal and professional identities continue to blur. In recent years, a global discussion about representing one’s “whole self” in the workplace – virtual or in person – has grown. And this movement towards authenticity and transparency now manifests in social media.
Concurrently, platforms like TikTok, LinkedIn and Reddit which serve up candid, first-person perspectives thrive. Brands are investing more in influencer marketing to complement owned content and put a human voice behind their stories. But some have yet to engage those with the most authentic perspectives about their companies to humanize marketing: employees.
What to Expect
A company’s workforce offers insiders’ perspectives that influencers usually can’t, and those nameless faceless brand handles rarely deliver. As social audiences are drawn towards authentic, engaging content – and algorithms increasingly favor it – employee generated content (EGC) and online advocacy will become even more prevalent.
This year, employee storytelling and executive visibility will play an increasingly important role in the mix. Whether companies use an employee advocacy platform like Bambu, or the built-in (and often underutilized) ‘My Company’ tab on LinkedIn, everyone from C-suite executives to talent just joining an organization has tools to advocate for your organization on social.
EGC’s growing impact will be seen most in two places: on brand and company handles, and in the profiles of individual workers. Savvy PR pros and marketers will develop new strategies for curating, amplifying, and rewarding both.
How Brands Can Win
- Identify and engage with employee content. If employees are already sharing great content on social media, be sure you’re identifying it quickly through social listening to recognize it online and reshare it on brand and executive channels. And if you’re accustomed to whitelisting influencer content with paid social, consider putting amplification resources behind great employee posts, too.
- Formalize EGC’s role in planned brand content. If your content calendar doesn’t regularly include stories from your workforce, add it! Make employee content a staple of your monthly planned content mix.
- Provide advocacy training. If employees are not sharing content on social or have expressed hesitation to do so, host training sessions and suggest appropriate social content topics, answer questions, provide social platform how-tos, and offer guidance on how employees might best use their personal social channels to support the company, its mission, and their role advancing it.
- Revisit your employee social media guidelines. Ensure that your social policies aren’t solely a list of don’ts and make it clear how EGC is permitted, encouraging empowered employees to share their positive stories.
- Keep an eye on relevant subreddits on Reddit. Communities related to specific industries or companies can be a great source of real, unfiltered information about employee experiences and opinions.
Why it Matters
Employee voices are critical for building trust in a company and brand reputation. And the experiences they share online have an impact, with nearly 3 out of 4 consumers saying they trust a company more if it has positive stories and reviews about it online. Beyond brand building and the role EGC can play in generating demand for products, it’s also vital for recruiting and retention, with candidates now relying heavily on reports from workers before deciding to join. Having a broad base of employees active and advocating for the company on social adds depth to a company’s online communications efforts and delivers impact in ways owned and influencer content cannot.