If you were on Facebook at all this week, you may have seen a phrase pasted on some of your friends’ Facebook pages. You may have even posted it yourself. If you haven’t figured it out by now, it’s a hoax. (If you’re still unsure, read this, or this, or this, or this – you get the picture.)
It’s not the first time this sort of thing has happened on Facebook, and it’s most likely not the last. These kinds of Facebook hoaxes have been around for years, just like chain letters.
But I’m not here to talk about Facebook hoaxes per se; I’m here to point out that while your business is spending time, money, effort and talent to advertise to an audience, your audience is more likely to blindly copy and paste this hoax Facebook status than believe your advertising.
Let that sink in for a moment and I’ll explain why.
According to Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising report, 92% of consumers say they trust earned media, such as recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising. Less than half of those same respondents trust traditional advertising. So while your advertising may be 100% true and accurate, less than half of your audience is likely to buy into it.
Remember, this is the same audience that blindly copied and pasted a friend’s hoax Facebook status to ensure their privacy is protected on Facebook.
Tapping Into the Reach of Your Team
Knowing that your customers will blindly follow their friends, but won’t trust your honest advertising, an obvious option is to involve your employees in marketing your business.
Think about it this way: your business has employees and current customers, right? And if these employees and customers represent the general population, chances are close to 75% of them are online and more than 70% of them are on Facebook. While numbers vary, it’s likely your employees have an average of around 350 Facebook friends.
How many fans does your business Facebook page have? Because even if you have just 10 employees, based on the averages above, you’re looking at a network of about 2,500 friends just through your employees.
Even if you have a large number of fans on your Facebook page, organically, you’re only going to reach about 2.6% of them, according to a 2015 study. While the percentages vary based on a number of factors, we can expect personal page posts to reach an average of 35-60%.
Getting Your Team to Spread Your Message
Allow Access to Social Media Sites: A large percentage of companies still block social media sites at work. The thought behind this is that social media sites decrease productivity, however research has shown the contrary – that employees waste more time finding other ways to access social media sites when they are blocked at work than they would accessing unblocked social sites. When social sites are unblocked, they become less of a novelty. Don’t forget employees can easily access social sites from their smart phones as well.
Page Likes & Notifications: Hopefully your employees are as enthused about your company as you
are and want to share it on Facebook. But remember, even if they like your Facebook page, they’re likely not going to see many of your page posts.
Encourage them to not only like the page, but to also “get notifications” and “see first,” both settings that can be selected by clicking and holding the like button on your Facebook page. This will make your page posts more prominent in their feed so they can share the posts to their own pages.
Tell Them What to Share: Another option is to email employees with recommended content for them to share on their Facebook pages. You can send them a link, photo, video or whatever you would like them to share and even include a suggested excerpt for them to share. Employees may not always feel comfortable with sharing content so keep this limited to once a week or just during special events.
Provide Relevant Content to Share: Did you have an employee recognition lunch, receive an award or have some milestone work anniversaries? This is great content to share because it’s relevant to your team and something they can be proud of.
Involve Your Team in Creating Content: Your employees are the ones working with your products or services on a daily basis, so they should be quite knowledgeable about it. Encourage them to write a guest post that can be shared to your social sites and they will be much more likely to share it because they are proud of it. Their coworkers are also more likely to share the content because it comes from a friend.
Provide Incentives: If your company offers referral incentives, this is a great opportunity to promote that. Reward employees for referring friends and family to your business through incentives such as gift cards, money or other incentives.
Not all employees who have Facebook pages are going to want to share your content to their page. After all, it’s their personal page and it’s their choice to choose what they want to share on it. Rather than focusing on social sharing as a requirement, it may be more helpful to view social sharing as a way to make your team more cohesive and include more than just your marketing or sales people in your business plan. Focus on how social selling can benefit each employee, rather than the business.