Should you ask employees to use their LinkedIn for business promotion?
Written by Alex Embling
Sep 1 2015
More and more B2B's are identifying LinkedIn as a "go to" channel for thought leadership, content promotion and lead generation.
As the third fastest-growing social network (which can send 4 times more traffic to your site than Twitter or Facebook), it makes sense to consider employee advocacy on LinkedIn as an effective social strategy.
But is it right to ask employees to use their personal LinkedIn profiles to advocate your organisation and support content marketing efforts?
Ask the professionals: Is it right to ask employees to use their personal LinkedIn profile for the promotion & marketing of the business?
Responses were varied and interesting, with the professionals who answered falling under three main opinions;
Yes. Employees should promote their organisation on LinkedIn
“Recent studies show that LinkedIn drives more referral traffic than the combined number of visitors coming through Facebook and Twitter. If you are not aware of this fact then you should go deep into the topic by looking at your website analytics. LinkedIn is the best platform that will give you success in terms of your Brand’s social marketing endeavours.”
“In my opinion, yes, I do believe that as employees they should display loyalty to the company / brand. I could think of numerous reasons why, zero reasons why not.”
“As long as it's kept as a choice all should be good.”
No. Employees should not be asked to socially promote their organisation
“In my opinion it's not right. If someone spends their free time building up their personal brand then ownership of that lies with them.”
It depends. Linkedin promotion needs to consider other factors
“Yes I think it's fine as long as it's optional. If it's promoting something that the individual thinks will be of direct interest to their LinkedIn contacts then why not.”
“...In order to answer it would seem there needs to be a clearly stated and agreed upon standard for what is right or wrong… In my view it needs to be worked out as a company policy even if it is simply each employee deciding for him or herself.”
So should you ask employees to use their personal LinkedIn accounts to promote your content marketing efforts? What extent of activity should they be asked to participate in (simple advocation, or in depth promotion and engagement)? And does usage choice depend on each unique case, or should you have a compulsory blanket rule for all employees?
Why LinkedIn advocacy is important for your organisation
Why? Well as Neal Schaffer says it, “…every employee representing your company that is on LinkedIn increases the chances that your company will indirectly be found, and the more connected your employees are to others (including each other), the easier it will be for those wanting to contact any of your company employees to do so through the LinkedIn profile,”
Employee advocacy is increased visibility for your brand - employees make the best consistent brand ambassadors. Having a lot of brand ambassadors/employee advocates in turn makes your brand more accessible, expanding your reach and promoting your employees as valuable thought leaders.
Linkedin is a credible site, so having a lot of advocates is very good for reputation and brand awareness. Plus, successful engagement can boost employee’s own perspectives on their talents and boost morale. By allowing employees to engage on the company’s behalf, it also shows a level of trust, building a more positive working atmosphere.
Ok. I want to make the most of my employee advocates. What should I do next?
Get employees excited about LinkedIn promotion; highlight the benefits of social activity both for the business and them, and explain the reasons for engagement
Guide your team through the activity; explaining what to do and best practice action to help those who are new to the platform become more confident
Provide recommendations of what content to share, people to connect with, groups to engage in
Incentivise to maintain long term engagement
Always provide a choice of activity, or no participation at all
If your staff are well informed of why you want them to be active, they’re more likely to choose to participate. Over time you’ll find staff who are passionate about their roles will happily promote and share brand content without thinking about it - especially if they’re sharing content that they helped to create in the first place.
Advocacy without annoyance - Controlling LinkedIn notifications
Of course some employees just won’t want to use Linkedin. This can be for any number of reasons from unfamiliarity with Linkedin, to time constraints or simply not wanting to promote activity.
One response we had raised the point that employers must ‘keep in mind [that staff] may have a side business they are working on and use their LinkedIn profile to promote it. If that's the case you can't fault them for denying your request’.
Relevancy to an employee's own interests is an important point - your employees may have second jobs, be freelance, or not think their connections would be interested in your brand. This is one of the reasons that allowing choice for employees to use or not use LinkedIn is important.
For employees who are reluctant or think promotion may conflict with other aspects of their LinkedIn use, the feature to turn off notifications and to broadcast everything they comment on, update or like can provide a solution.