The Most Effective Way To Build A Brand: Your Employees

December 3, 2015

LinkedIn Elevate

Businesses should encourage their employees to become social professionals and share content. Consider these stats: Together, employees have 10 times more connections than their company has followers. Only 2% of employees share content their company has shared on LinkedIn. Yet they’re responsible for about 20% of the overall engagement  – clicks, likes, comments, and shares – that content receives. And 52 percent of consumers trust “average” employees over a company CEO, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer.

Plus, employers aren’t the only ones who benefit. Sharing content on social networks helps employees’ strengthen their professional brands as well. Yet few employees share company relevant content because quality content is hard to find, and they’re not sure what they should and shouldn’t say. That’s why we developed Elevate -- a product that helps companies empower their employees to be social and measure the impact on hiring, marketing, and sales.

Zehra Zaidi, Senior Marketing Communications Manager at CEB, and her team have been using Elevate since June across the company’s sales and global talent acquisition teams to help market the company’s products, services, and open jobs. CEB is a best practice insight and technology company with more than 30 years of experience equipping senior leaders with the intelligence they need to more effectively manage their talent, customers, and operations to exceed business objectives.

Zaidi launched CEB’s social-selling program in October 2014 to help business development and account management reps prospect and find the right contacts at their accounts. She realized early on that sales reps needed to share quality content to help brand themselves and CEB as valuable resources. “But sales reps were laser-focused on selling, not sharing content on social networks,” said Zaidi. “We needed to find a scalable way to enable them to quickly and easily share brand-appropriate  content across their social networks.”

“Building a brand requires lots of resources,” she said. "Unlike most companies that struggle to produce good content, we have a wealth of deep business insights available to us. Our challenge is curating the content so that it’s easy for sales reps to share and for prospective buyers to engage with."

That’s when she discovered Elevate. “Making it easy for employees to share content across social networks is an effective way to build your company’s brand,” she said. I couldn’t agree more. Keep in mind that employees have 10 times more connections than their company has followers on social networks. “What makes Elevate such an effective tool for helping us build brand equity and increase the relevance of our brand among our target audiences is how easy it is to use for employees,” said Zaidi. “Shortly after we deployed it, more and more employees wanted to use it.”

Jenna Robb, senior business development manager for CEB’s Marketing and HR practices, is one of the employees using Elevate. “It’s a great branding tool for me and CEB,” she said. “Elevate automatically provides me with relevant content I can easily share with my connections to stay top-of-mind. Since I’ve started using Elevate, I've had a lot more traction with people liking and commenting on my posts. Two or three likes and comments here and there may not seem like a lot, but it gives me satisfaction to know that executives are seeing our work, and it’s having an impact.”

The sales team’s use of Elevate was so successful that CEB rolled it out to the talent acquisition team in June.

Shannon Smedstad, CEB’s employment brand director, is responsible for amplifying CEB’s employer brand to attract top talent. “Employment brand is to recruiting what marketing is to sales. When we reviewed the results the 2014 CEB Employment Brand Effectiveness Survey, we realized that the messenger is as important, if not more important, than the message. That’s because people trust the authenticity of their peers and network,” she said. “Elevate is filling a void by helping our teams share relevant and interesting content with their connections, which helps increase awareness of CEB and showcases the firm as a great place to work.”

When I asked Zaidi what one piece of advice she’d give other companies deploying similar programs, her answer was all about content strategy. “It’s really important to develop a solid content strategy before asking your employees to advocate for your brand,” she said. “You need to identify curators who can create content that is both snackable and aligned to what sales reps want to talk about with prospective customers. This can change frequently so you need to constantly get feedback and refine your approach."

CEB’s results speak for themselves: employees using Elevate are sharing two times more than before, and as a result are influencing 140% more views of their company page and 70% more followers of their company page. These same employees are also influencing 110% more views of CEB’s jobs than before. But most importantly to Zaidi, CEB’s employees are speaking with one voice. “It’s hard to build a brand when you’re a global company. You must speak with one voice regardless of your location or team. Elevate has helped us tell a clear and concise story across the globe, as one company, one CEB. Speaking in one voice is key in helping us market, sell, and recruit.”

Zaidi is now rolling Elevate out to all employees at CEB.

Empower your employees to share great content with their networks, and become a socially engaged company. Learn more about LinkedIn Elevate today.