Not too long ago, Facebook changed its algorithm to prioritize “meaningful interactions” between people. The company has been very straightforward about the implications, stressing that branded content which doesn’t spark back and forth conversations (comments, sharing to groups, replies to comments, etc.) will gain very little exposure in people’s timelines. In fact, organic reach is at around 2% while the Facebook engagement rates average between 0.55% and 0.99%.
This new landscape has led many B2B marketers to view Facebook solely as a pay-to-play channel with 39% of marketers reporting that Facebook only works if you’re willing to invest ad dollars in the platform.
Meanwhile, Facebook ad rates have risen by a whopping 35%. In an ideal world, this growing investment would lead Facebook engagement to rise in parallel. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case as 46% of B2B marketers are still unsure about whether any social channels have generated revenue for their business.
To top it off, B2B marketers are facing a tightening budget, which fell by 2% in 2017.
Taking everything into account, B2B marketers need to adopt a new level of sophistication, which could mean tapping into existing resources to increase organic reach.
Employee Advocacy = More Facebook engagement
Employees are a force multiplier when you consider the number of connections they have. Let’s do some basic math. Imagine that company A has roughly 3,000 followers on Facebook. Assuming that organic reach is at 2%, then only 60 of company A’s followers will see any piece of content it shares – unless it pays to promote it.
But wait! Let’s say that the same company has 20 employees, and each has the average number of 338 Facebook friends. That works out to a reach of 6,760 – or a total audience of almost 10,000. In other words, getting employees to share your company content with their professional networks can triple your organic reach.
In addition, the nearly 7,000 people that comprise your employee networks are more likely to engage with content – as customers tend to trust their peers more than they trust brands. According to recent research conducted by Oktopost, content shared by advocates in 2017 generated 6.75X more Facebook engagement than content shared by the official company profiles, in 2018 that number boosted to 9X – that’s a 2.24X increase!
To generate the same amount of engagement through ads would never be as budget-friendly. But don’t listen to us, take Fujitsu as an example. As a multinational ICT company, Fujitsu ran a couple of experiments, comparing the ROI of social ads to that of employee advocacy by looking the cost-per-click of each method. After 6 months of testing, Fujitsu discovered that overall, employee advocates generated a 360% higher return on investment than social ads.
How to Get Started with Employee Advocacy?
There’s building an employee advocacy program, and then there’s building one that works. While this strategy can be an amazing way to boost your social media reach, too much enthusiasm can poison the well. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Start small: Begin by onboarding employee segments that are typically adept at social media – such as marketing, sales, and customer success. See how they do. Test and refine based on their performance.
- Train employees and provide guidelines: Based on the results of your pilot, establish training guidelines for your company at large in less than two weeks. Providing ample training can really set apart an OK versus an amazing employee advocacy program.
- Emphasize good content: Don’t rely on gut feelings. Track top-engaging content using KPIs such as employee shares, likes, shares, comments, link clicks. Next, refine your content strategy to include the best combination of content elements – visuals, messaging, CTAs.
- Find a simple mechanism: Adopt a tool that makes both providing content to advocates and getting them to share it as simple and effortless as possible.
- Gather employee ideas and contributions: In employee advocacy, there are no wrong answers. Each employee has their own voice and audience, so encourage them to share their feedback and ideas.
- Reward employees for their efforts: Success deserves recognition. Make sure that your top-performing employee advocates are both incentivized and celebrated for their efforts.
Increase Facebook Engagement with Employee Advocacy
With organic reach gradually declining, generating Facebook engagement has never been more challenging. Employee advocacy offers a simple solution to amplify your content’s reach on Facebook in the most authentic way possible while increasing the likelihood of people engaging with your content. And all of this is done without any investment in ads.
To get started with a program, Oktopost provides a full-featured suite of employee advocacy tools that allow B2B marketers to launch, manage, and monitor the success of an advocacy program – while facilitating content discovery, personalization, and sharing for employees. Click here to request a demo of Oktopost’s employee advocacy platform in action!