The Impact of Employee Content Sharing: It’s Big!

One year, 1,151 shares – 23 million in extra reach

February 13, 2017

Editor's Note: This post originally appeared on the EMEA Marketing Solutions blog.

The next time someone asks me whether employee sharing adds value to a B2B content marketing strategy, I’ll have the perfect answer. I’ve been analyzing the impact of employees sharing our LinkedIn Marketing Solutions content during the last year – and the numbers are staggering. Want to know the impact of employee advocacy on content marketing? How about this: one single employee sharing three items of content a day can add up to 23 million in additional reach over the course of a year. It can add up to 60,000 additional occasions when people engage with your content. How do I know this? Because that employee was me.

Not convinced? Think this is a one-off? Think I’m skewing the results? I’ll admit I’m a passionate sharer and I’ve got a good network that I engage with a lot. But I’m not all that exceptional. The numbers from a year of LinkedIn employees sharing our content prove it.

Two of my content marketing colleagues at LinkedIn — Alex Rynne and Sean Callahan — are prime examples. Through her shares on Elevate, Alex generated 22.7 million in additional reach. Similarly, Sean generated an extra 18.3 million in additional reach. Multiply that kind of reach, which can be achieved in just a few minutes per day on the Elevate platform, across every employee in your company. 

Last week, I published a post about why employee advocacy matters – and how the secret to a successful employee sharing strategy lies in understanding what’s in it for the employees themselves. I wasn’t just giving you some abstract theory – I was talking very much from personal experience. I’ve always shared content for the brands I’ve worked for, and I’ve always experienced significant benefits as a result. I’ve also produced a lot of B2B marketing content that’s been shared by my colleagues. Until this year though, I’d never had the chance to quantify what the impact of all that sharing actually is.

Quantifying the impact of employee shares 
For the last 12 months, I’ve been sharing content through LinkedIn Elevate, the platform that LinkedIn has designed to help build employee advocacy programs. There are two aspects to this sharing: I put content from our Marketing Solutions blog onto Elevate for other LinkedIn employees to share, and I also share content myself. Through Elevate, I can see the impact of both.

As a content marketer, I know the employee advocacy metrics this throws up are valuable. They motivate employees to share more; they highlight the platforms where we get most engagement, the subjects that ignite the most sharing, the sectors where we have most organic reach – and the ones where we maybe need some more employee advocates. It’s all practical and useful stuff – but more than anything else, it’s jaw-droppingly impressive.

A year of sharing on Elevate
During the year, we released 123 pieces of content from our Marketing Solutions blog onto Elevate, ready for LinkedIn employees to share. Between them, those 123 pieces were shared 4,290 times. That sharing increased the aggregate reach of our content by 15 million – and of those 15 million occasions, 44,360 resulted in people engaging with it. That’s a huge incremental impact. Just look at the chart below…

Was this sharing helping us to reach a relevant audience for a B2B marketing blog? You bet it was. Our top audiences were sales and marketing, with business strategists coming in third. Our top industries were IT and services (a valuable audience for our solutions) and marketing and advertising. Other key sectors like Financial Services were in there too. That’s the huge advantage that you start to see with a well-organized employee advocacy program – you’re using networks that are inevitably centred around the most relevant audiences for your business.

Those network numbers showed just how much benefit our content was getting from other LinkedIn employees – but what was my own sharing doing for me personally? And how was it contributing to reach and engagement? This was where things got really amazing.

How much difference can an employee advocate make? 
I shared 1,151 items of content during the year – which averages out at around three shares per day. That’s more than most employees manage – but it was certainly worth it. Sharing LinkedIn content with my network resulted in that 23 million in extra reach and 60,000 additional engagements that I mentioned earlier. And that’s in addition to the impact my colleagues were having. How does it happen?

It’s the multiplier effect of sharing content on a platform like LinkedIn that drives these kind of numbers – and that’s the reason why the impact I had gets to be so impressive. I’m not connected to millions of people, but when I share content with my network, the people I’m reaching are more likely to share it too. The multiplication effect adds up very quickly. Like compound interest, it’s hard to get your head around the impact it has until you see the numbers written down. I’m proud of the role that my sharing played – but it’s far from being unique.

That’s why visibility of the results of employee sharing has such a valuable role to play in building an advocacy program. These kinds of numbers can’t help but get people excited. And excitement and enthusiasm is the lifeblood of employee sharing. It’s why employees who enroll on Elevate end up sharing content 5x more often than they did before. It’s also why 86% say that being part of content sharing has had a positive effect on their own careers.

Want to explore how to get an employee advocacy program off the ground? You’ll find a great framework in our Official Guide to Employee Advocacy for Marketers.