Getting €2 080 Worth of Free Media Per Employee on LinkedIn, Yearly
This article first appeared in Lithuanian on verslozinios.lt
We’re in the third decade of this century and LinkedIn still is the place for organic reach, just like Instagram was in 2015 and Facebook in 2011.
Opportunities like these don’t stay open for very long, and my best guess would be that in three years, reaching your audience without paid media on LinkedIn will be as hard as it is now on Facebook.
Clever marketers were quick to notice that while the organic reach of LinkedIn company pages is not that impressive, awareness for the brand can be reached through its employees, who enjoy view rates as high as 10 times the number of their connections.
Messages about the company or its brands, as voiced by the employees themselves, are also way more effective. Here’s why:
They're more authentic and believable
They have higher engagement
The no. 1 factor in choosing a brand are recommendations, and that’s what these posts are
Earning €2 080 of media per employee yearly
As much as this article’s headline may look like clickbait, it’s not. The average person, with average copywriting and storytelling skills can reach almost half a million views on LinkedIn per year, which would otherwise have cost €2 080, if paid ads were involved. Sounds like a bargain, doesn’t it? Let me elaborate.
Let’s assume two averages for these calculations:
4 000. Number of times a post is viewed on average. These are the numbers from some of the clients, to whom we produce and distribute content, along with Caption’s own employees averages.
€5. The average CPM (cost per 1000 views in this case). That’s a generalisation of course, because the CPM can be as low as €1 in some countries and with some demographics, and as high as €60 in some cases.
In this case, a single person, posting on their profile twice a week for a whole year would have the results, equal to €2 080 spent on paid advertising on LinkedIn.
So, that’s what you personally can attain. Now, what if you work in an organisation with 99 colleagues and you manage to come up with a system to motivate and enable half of them to be active on LinkedIn? The math gets pretty crazy.
Inevitably, even if you don’t incentivise, most of their posts will be company or industry related, and all of them have their titles and employers right under their names, carrying a very important message about the organisation: “professionals, who are experienced enough to talk about their field, work in this company”.
The benefits of employee advocacy
The advantages go further than you might imagine:
Employee-produced content ready for reposting in company profile
Enormous boost to SOV (share of voice)
The latter is too important to remain a mere bulletpoint. If you SOV grows, your SOM (share of market) does as well. According to Nielsen, a 10 percentage point increase in SOV grows SOM by 0.5 p.p. That’s both company share of market, and employee’s share of market. That can be the market for the best job position in the industry, or the market for larger salaries in your organisation. Either way, employees post - everyone wins. Period.
How to start an employee advocacy program in your company?
Regular posting is a habit, and habit’s aren’t easy to form. If you were to simply order people at your organisation to “start posting” they wouldn’t know where to start. B. J. Fogg’s model for habit activation comes in handy here. It’s pretty simple:
B=MAT. If you want to elicit behavior, three elements are crucial.
Without it, no one’s going to post. Why would they, really, if you haven’t xplained what’s in it for them? When working with clients who want employe advocacy programmes in their companies, it helps to first come up with the whys:Personal motivations:
Growing expertise. You learn a lot by teaching others. By articulating your knowledge into posts, you’re getting better at said topic.
Growing SOV. As I’ve mentioned before, it helps to explain an employee why being the go-to person to follow for, say, SaaS customer service posts on LinkedIn is an advantage.
Career opportunities. Being a visible expert in a field may help someday land a better job or get a promotion in their own company.
Collective goals. If there’s a collective goal, like getting 1 million views by Q2, it might be sufficient to motivate the team-players in your company to work towards that goal.
Lead generation. Even your non-sales staff might start getting inquiries about your company’s products. Maybe your company has a lead generation incentive program?
Recruiting. Most larger companies have incentives for bringing in a new hire, and posting cool things about your workplace sure helps in getting “how can I apply” messages in your DMs.
I’ve met with an owner of a small business, who had all the motivation to become active on LinkedIn - he had ideas for posts and has set very specific goals. But he didn’t know how to put them into words and how to illustrate his thoughts with pictures. We’ve helped by recording his thoughts, emulating his tone of voice and simply putting his ideas to text. The guy reached his quarterly goals (which were event ticket sales) in a week. Talk about the power of LinkedIn.
But that’s not really an option with five, ten or even more employees. Ghostwriting (and ghost...image-producing?) for more than a few colleagues will become a costly endeavour, so enabling them to do it themselves is the only solution.
A few tips to do so:
Teach. Some companies might have knowledgeable enough staff, some might want to find consultants or agencies from outside.
Show an example. Start doing it yourself and show them that if you can - everyone can.
Set an attainable benchmark. Demonstrate what’s considered good content, but make it doable, so the expectations aren’t overwhelming.
Help with their first posts. Consider lending a hand in writing the text and producing the visuals. These are the training wheels on a bicycle - they help with the first few miles.
Switch to consulting later on. Be accessible and ready to help when proactively requested to.
Let them do it during work hours. This is often forgotten. Let your colleagues know that it’s a part of their job, not extra activity. They should feel that they are even encouraged to do it at work. Scheduling a time to prepare posts (an hour or two per week should do) is usually a good option.
The last step is nudging your colleagues to actually do the posting.
Share topics. Things are happening in the company, industry and the world itself. Listing these topics on a weekly basis might get your company ambassadors on track.
Schedule posting times. When you know yesterday was John’s day to post, and today’s yours, it’s much harder to slack off, when you know John’s watching.
Have a rewards system. Reach 50k views and you get tickets to the theater. The goals can also be for the whole team, but personal motivators should be more effective.
Where to begin?
I can hear you thinking this sounds interesting, but I have heaps of work as it is!
And you’re right. Curating a program like this will take more time than you can spare. Here’s how you can get your schedule cleared up. Send this message to your head of marketing:
Hey, NAME, we’ve been looking on how we can bootstrap and be more effective with our marketing spend. I have an idea on how to get five/six-digits worth of media for free. It’s called employee advocacy. I’ll only need you to let me clear my schedule for about five days a month. Can I book 30 minutes for us to talk it through?
And to back you up in this meeting - here's a handy calculator you can use to estimate the value of LinkedIn. Get it here.