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Content publishing is a great way to engage employees

Article contributed by Jennifer Keck, Technology Writer & Founder of Keck Marketing

Tech companies often struggle to create messaging that connect with customers. Yet no matter what you’re selling, you have one underused tool in your marketing arsenal: employees. Only about 3% of employees share company content, but employee advocacy has a huge impact on a brand’s success. Here are four ways an employee advocacy program can benefit your tech company. 

  1. It improves organic reach and engagement.

This one is the most obvious. If you’ve watched your organic reach on Facebook plummet, you’re not alone. Since the platform moved to prioritize user-generated content, only about 1.2% of a page’s fans saw any given post in 2018.

This doesn’t mean promoted posts and social ads aren’t worthwhile. Yet employee advocacy is one of the most powerful techniques out there. When employees share branded messages, these posts get a 561% boost in reach and are shared 24 times more frequently, according to MSLGroup.

  1. It helps build brand trust.

 It’s no surprise that people trust their friends over brands. But did you know 90% of buyers trust a recommendation from someone they know? Compare that with just 33% who trust the brand, and you can see why employee advocacy works so well. Building trust is especially important for startups that don’t have years of brand loyalty from a dedicated customer base. So, when your marketing manager tweets about how much she loves the SaaS platform you just launched, it will do more to get her techie followers to try it out than a promoted tweet ever could.

  1. It grows your pipeline and increases sales.

If you only get one department on board, pick Sales for the biggest returns. Here’s where we drill down into a sub-genre of employee advocacy: social selling. Simply put, social selling is the process of building a relationship with prospects over social media. That could mean anything from sharing a relevant article on LinkedIn to congratulating a follower on his recent award via Twitter. This helps sales reps build trust and show off their industry knowledge, without sounding salesy.

It takes time, yet it’s worth it. Case in point, Genesys, a call center technology company, saw 2.2x the pipeline growth, a 16% increase in win rates, and a 42% increase in deal sizes thanks to its employee advocacy program.

  1. It supercharges recruitment and retention.

Last but not least, employee advocacy programs can double as a recruiting tool. By encouraging employees to share job openings, you may just discover that your next rock star programmer was your product manager’s college roommate. In fact, 30% of consumers find employee-shared job posts helpful, according to a 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer.

And employees can do much more than share job posts. Pictures of company retreats, happy hours, and the resident pug dog go a long way to demonstrate that your office isn’t all work and no play. Recruits who want more than a great salary and benefits can see first-hand how much their friends enjoy working there. They’ll also likely be happier once they start –47% of referral hires have greater job satisfaction and stay longer, a Jobvite research report found.

Make no mistake, building and maintaining a successful employee advocacy program is no easy task. It takes time and requires commitment to see the results. Fortunately, there are over a dozen employee advocacy tools out there to help. But before you dive in, consider your goals. Is it brand building, boost sales, or to find new recruits? As with any marketing program, a SMART goal will help you get the most from your employee advocacy.

FischTank Marketing and PR

I’m not sure how to start this post. As I begin, I’m at 33,000 feet – cruising altitude as they say – and some guy two seats up on the right has been taking selfies of himself for the last 10 minutes, grinning as he reviews them. Insta-worthy? Maybe. It seems pretty weird to me, but no one else seems to care so why should I? I’m returning from a business trip to Asheville with two colleagues, making this as good a time as any to start reflecting on the past five years of FischTank.

The LLC paperwork for EMF Media d.b.a FischTank was filed in late December 2013; I put in notice at a place where I was very unhappy, and brought my first client aboard shortly into the new year. I had limited experience in business development, even less experience in bookkeeping, and now – very little income. Still, I was excited in a professional sense for the first time in a long time.

The first few months were not easy (try working at home when you only have two clients). I took meetings that went nowhere, attended networking events that had no purpose, and at one point went door to door to try and win contracts from small businesses in Jersey City. I also drove my wife crazier than usual. There were sleepless nights, stressed out mornings, and a never-ending supply of self-doubt. Those feelings haven’t gone away and I don’t think they ever will, but in early 2014, that was my 24/7. Funny how something can suck and be so exciting at the same time.

But this story isn’t about me or the “entrepreneurial struggle” that many of the self-proclaimed experts drone on about on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The FischTank story is and has always been about people. I was joined by Matt Bretzius, my partner at FischTank, who is smarter and more disciplined than I am. There is a 0% chance this company is anything beyond me in my apartment living room without him. We made one hire, then we made another, and now we have a growing group of bright, creative, and really unique professionals people. Gone are the days of my personally PDF’d invoices, disorganized spreadsheets, and envelopes stuffed with receipts from coffee shops and cab rides. We now have a bookkeeper who is actually good at math and record keeping. We started partnering more strategically with other marketing, SEO/digital, creative, and PR agencies, building a stronger referral network filled with individuals who have also helped shape the company.

Our clients are awesome. I don’t write that to kiss ass, it’s just reality. Collectively they’re a group of innovative and smart risk-takers, and a pleasure to work with each day. Nothing drives us more than when we see how hard they work to achieve their own goals. We enjoy telling their stories.

To everyone who falls into a category above, I’m eternally grateful for what you’ve done. You know who you are. To all of my colleagues, past and present, this five-year milestone is for you as much as it is for Matt and I.

It’s not all roses and sunshine. We’ve learned many lessons, some of them painful but each of them valuable. Sure there were partnerships, hires and clients that didn’t quite fit, and while not everything ends well, through it all we’ve maintained our integrity and evolved. From these experiences, we’ve built a positive culture we can be proud of.

The only takeaway or piece of advice I have for others, should you choose to listen, is to place a premium on resiliency. Bad days, weeks and months will come. You will get home late after a bad day and think maybe you’re not cut out for this stuff. Self-doubt will creep in when you’re at your most vulnerable and it will eat away your confidence. When this all happens, you cannot give in. Get up, show up, and keep coming at them.

The last five years have been the best education and experience I could ask for, exceeding any and all expectations I had on January 15, 2014. Will FischTank last forever? No, nothing does, but we’re having a helluva lot of fun today.

Eric Fischgrund is an entrepreneur, writer, sports fan, music-lover, and founder and CEO of FischTank Marketing and PR, a marketing and communications firm based in NYC.

Marketing and Public Relations

It’s no secret — traditional media outlets like newspapers and magazines are cost cutting, utilizing syndicated content to publish news on their websites. While this may present a difficulty in attaining coverage, with space to fill, the opportunity grows for contributed content provided by “thought leaders” – executives from individuals, businesses, and organizations.

In addition to media in general, public relations has been forever changed by the Internet. Google and other search engines make online content important not only to control, but to continue adding to. Then social media changed everything when social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn began ranking high on online search. Now, it is equally important to maintain content on a social page as it is your own website!

These changes to the media itself and the increased importance placed on content is why content writing, and more specifically, specialized content writers, are about to be a premium. With smart companies everywhere committing to public relations strategies that incorporate social media, thought leadership, e-mail marketing, press releases and more, the need for content has grown exponentially. Now the very same writers who five years ago were writing for the New York Times and Wall Street Journal are transitioning to the business side and driving smart content for brands. PR agencies have taken note, acquiring content firms and those who know how to execute on the digital side.

This is why 2017 and moving forward will be a big year for those talented with a pen.

Eric Fischgrund is an entrepreneur, writer, sports fan, music-lover, and founder and CEO of FischTank Marketing and PR, a marketing and communications firm based in NYC.