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Employee-Generated Content: What It Is and Why You Need It

posted by Michael Epps Utley Michael Epps Utley
Employee Generated Content What It Is and Why You Need It

When promoting their businesses, many owners and marketers don’t leverage their most valuable assets: their coworkers.

Employee-Generated Content (EGC) is a tactic that makes it relatively easy and effective to put a spotlight on your top talent. It can also add authenticity to your brand.

This guide explains what you must know to use EGC to improve your brand image and drive sales.

Employee-Generated Content: The Basics

EGC is material created and shared by a firm's employees. It is authentic, unfiltered, and reflects the real personalities of those working for the company.

Examples include:

  • LinkedIn posts from people celebrating a new job.

  • Instagram images of colleagues proudly wearing company-branded items at events like retreats or conferences.

  • Facebook posts celebrating company team softball victories.

EGC can take many forms, including the sharing of:

  • Positive work experiences and success stories

  • Thought leadership or expert knowledge

  • Candid photos of office life and company events or outings

  • Awards and honors

  • Professional wins and milestones

  • Workplace reviews on platforms like Glassdoor and Indeed.

The types of employee-generated content are only limited to the imaginations of the people working for you.

Benefits of EGC

Here are the key ways employee-generated content can benefit a business.

EGC Builds Connections With Consumers

The power of storytelling in marketing and business communication is well known. Consumers are attracted to brands they build emotional connections with. Moving beyond generic social posts, employee-generated postings are typically about personal stories, such as a new job, promotion, event, or achievement. On top of that, most of these events are emotional, whether it’s pride over a promotion or the joy of attending a workplace party.

In addition to building emotional ties with consumers, ECG can demonstrate to potential hires that your company is a great place to work.

EGC Earns Higher Engagement on Social Media

Think about your social media interactions. You probably engage more frequently with posts from friends and other people than from brands. That’s why employee-generated content on social media is critical. It helps personalize the messages associated with your brand, making it more likely people will want to further explore your business. Add to this the fact that your employees have a combined social media network that is far larger than your brand’s, and you can see the extraordinary benefits of EGC.

People Trust EGC More Than Branded Content

People trust other people; they don’t necessarily trust brands. When an employee endorses the company they work for, it helps build trust in the brand. It’s a form of social proof.

Encouraging employee advocacy is a critical component of building your business's reputation. Your workers can become your brand’s greatest champions, spreading the word across their vast social networks.

Four Tips for Creating ECG

Follow these recommendations to optimize your employee-generated content:

1. Develop a Strategy That Aligns With Your Business Goals

You must create an EGC strategy that aligns with your company's goals. Use these questions to get started.

  • What are your business goals?

  • How will your EGC support your company goals?

  • How does it align with your broader marketing strategy?

  • How will you ensure posting consistency?

  • What type of content do you want employees to create?

Tailor your strategy to your business needs. For example, if you want to increase brand awareness, encourage employees to use branded hashtags on their social media posts about your business. If you aim to attract and hire top talent, focus on content that spotlights your company culture, such as appreciation posts, content about company wins, or day-in-the-life stories.

2. Have a Documented Mission Statement, Brand Values, and Policies

Encouraging employee-generated content will shift some control over your brand narrative from company leaders and marketers to your workers. While this may cause concern, publishing mission and vision statements, brand values, and EGC policies can limit risk.

By doing so, you will:

  • Ensure EGC aligns with your company’s vision

  • Maintain the integrity of your brand

  • Ensure posts align with your expectations

Having policies in place holds your employees accountable and reduces the risk of harm to your brand. It will allow you to safeguard your company image while sharing the unique perspectives of the people who work for you.

3. Start Small and Don't Mandate Participation

You may be tempted to go all-in when you launch a new marketing initiative like EGC. However, this type of content poses some risk, so starting out with a limited pilot makes sense. Begin with a small group of highly engaged workers. This will create a model and set the tone for coworkers to follow.

4. Develop an Employee Advocacy Program

Once your EGC pilot is up and running, use what you’ve learned to develop a formal employee advocacy program. It will help ensure your initiative will succeed.

Follow these steps to launch an employee advocacy program:

  1. Set goals. Define clear, measurable goals. For instance, if you want to improve social media engagement, define your expectations for likes, clicks, shares, and comments. Once you establish key performance indicators (KPIs), track progress using tools like Sprout Social, Hootsuite Amplify, or EveryoneSocial.

  2. Identify leaders. Find internal champions who are highly engaged in the pilot. Encourage them to inspire and cheer on their coworkers. Leverage them to set the standard for content quality and authenticity.

  3. Expand distribution of guidelines and provide training. Employee training is crucial. Ensure your workers understand your company’s mission and vision, proper brand representation, the content development process, and social media best practices.

  4. Develop employee support materials. Provide your team with resources like style guides, brand personas, and content development tools, including social media templates.

  5. Reward employee participation. Acknowledge people who actively contribute EGC. Gift cards, bonuses, and shout-outs are all excellent ways to do this.

  6. Track metrics. Track the goals you set for your EGC program. Make adjustments to optimize your efforts over time.

Employee-Generated Content (EGC): The Final Word

Launching an EGC program can enhance your business's public profile, humanize your brand, attract top talent, and increase brand awareness. Leverage the information in this guide to get started with EGC and enjoy all these benefits.

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