When looking to disseminate marketing content that connects meaningfully with an audience, these companies have cannily utilized an existing asset – their employees.
Sometimes, when searching far and wide for a solution, one finds that the answer is right under nose. Content marketing is essential, not optional, and many marketers equate the acquisition of relevant audience with large outlays of time and money. Yet this need not be the case.
Some clever companies have made great use of their own employees as a natural fist line of content marketing offense. Who knows the company and its products better and who has more natural enthusiasm for brand evangelism than a happy employee?
While some managers try to prohibit employee’s use of social media during work time, others harness that tweeting/posting/pinning energy to the company’s advantage. Every employee has a circle of friends, family and social contacts and the ripple effect started by reaching them organically with a positive marketing message is considerable.
The Finnish cell phone giant strongly encourages all its employees to share their personal opinions with the world across all social media. Workers at Nokia jump into online conversations about the company’s products, whether positive or negative- and add their perspectives and inside knowledge.
Internally, Nokia smartly uses tech products Socialcast- a Facebook/Twitter-like app wherein employees, including interns can share their work stories, and Agora- a social visualiser pulling together insight, consumer activity and conversation anywhere that Nokia is mentioned. Nokia also uses social media to recruit new talent. It all adds up to a workforce primed to intelligently and enthusiastically represent the brand online.
Software developer Adobe is particularly attached to findings by Edelman Trust Barometer stating that the most trusted source of information pertaining to a company is the lower and mid level employees and not the executives. Accordingly, they have instituted the Social Shift program, empowering the workforce to engage and share content on social media.
Adobe makes great use of the platform LinkedIn Elevate, a product by the business-oriented social network assisting any company’s employees in curating well-developed content, sharing it socially and analyzing results. Adobe employees enjoy having excellent content about every aspect of inside-Adobe reality that they can disseminate to their peers, and it’s resulted in a spike in both conversation about Adobe on LinkedIn and a doubling of traffic to company job listings.
When the carbonated beverage behemoth PepsiCo surveyed employees in 2010, 65% responded that they are regularly queried by friends and family about the company and its products, with more than half requesting company created documentation they could share using social media.3
The company created and internally distributed a variety of written content covering interesting organization-wide stories that went more in depth than standard press releases but was still appropriate for public consumption.
“We wanted people to be able to talk about PepsiCo as ambassadors,” said Sharon McIntosh, PepsiCo’s senior director of global internal communications. “But we also wanted to do it safely.”
Online mail order shoe retailer Zappos cultivates an aura of a whimsically fun and extremely warm and supportive workplace by, for instance, tweeting a photo of a job interview taking place in a giant plastic ball pit of the type that babies play in. Another tweet contains video of the very lively, entertaining official welcoming received by interns just arrived at the company.
The account @eyezap shows the outside world what it’s like to work for the company while @InsideZappos hosts a tweetchat to share behind-the-scenes happenings and conversations with a great deal of transparency. For example, the tweetchat asks the question “What is the most exciting change you have experienced at Zappos?” with various unfiltered employee replies on display.
New employees are actually trained on Twitter and encouraged to tweet about their work activities and share internal resources useful to customers, using the distinct hashtags #ZapposCulture and #Zapponians in posts across various social networks.