Employee generated content is something of a new buzzword in the marketing and social selling landscape but it’s not an over-hyped “craze” that sales teams should ignore. In fact, it overcomes one of the biggest content problems social sellers face:
50% of B2B content marketers say they struggle to create content consistently according to Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs.
Relevant and timely content is the cornerstone of social selling, so when there’s a shortage of content to attract and nurture prospects with, employee generated content can help bridge that gap.
But it can also do a lot more besides. In this blog, you’ll find the 10 compelling reasons employee generated content can give you an edge with social selling - from building thought leadership and authenticity, to saving time and even honing your sales communications.
What Is Employee Generated Content?
Employee generated content is simply any content that employees entirely create. So instead of marketing taking the lead with content and getting input from the necessary experts and teams, employees create it – whether that be videos, photos and social media posts.
Businesses are consistently leveraging employee-generated content because it produces far more engagement than content created by the company.
10 Reasons Social Selling Needs To Embrace Employee Generated Content
1. Employee generated content sets you apart as a thought leader
Many social sellers get stuck in broadcast mode - sharing content created by marketing. But what do you think buyers would prefer? Here’s a blog created by marketing or here’s a blog I created knowing the exact issues my buyers and prospects are talking about right now?
When you take the step to creating your own content, you begin to establish yourself as a thought leader. And, as thought leaders hold great sway with B2B buyers:
92% of B2B buyers are willing to engage with a sales professional who has established themselves as an industry thought leader
2. Buyers crave authenticity over glossy marketing videos.
Buyers are increasingly expressing a preference for authentic communications and employee generated content provides that. If you use your usual writing style, your prospects and buyers will “hear you” in the content. And as you’re writing it, you can fill it with all of your experiences - both business and personal - to show what led you to writing that content or to support points you’ve made.
3.Employee generated content is easier to make specific to your social selling needs
Demand Gen’s B2B Report 2019 found an overwhelming need for personalised content from B2B buyers:
- 96% of B2B professionals considered messaging that “spoke directly to our industry needs” to be important.
By its nature, employee generated content is much easier to make industry-specific. As a social seller, you’re not concerned with overall marketing campaigns but what your buyers need right now - and as you’re in the thick of what people in your industry are saying, it gives your content the edge it needs.
4. Decision-stage content is sales in writing (and who’s the best at that?!)
Would you hand over the reins to someone else to close a deal at an all-important meeting? Decision-stage content is sales in writing. Employee generated content allows you to frame the argument in a way that you know works best from your daily conversations with prospects - from the opening hook, to the build-up, to overcoming objections.
5. Marketing budgets will only stretch so far
As much as marketing teams would love to have industry-specific and even company-specific content for every vertical and key account, marketing budgets only stretch so far.
In social selling, you need content that will help your buyers to move forward with their decision now. Instead of waiting for marketing to fill the content gap in the content gap, why not create it?
6. Employee generated content can be quicker
If you take the lead with employee generated content, it’s often far quicker than backwards and forwards discussions with marketing. Just like with any sales presentations, marketing teams can always quickly “tidy up” and refine the content (while ensuring they keep to your tone of voice).
7. It hones your social selling communications
Employee generated content operates like a 10x sales template. Knowing that your content will be in the public domain means you naturally refine your sales message.
It forces you to consider whether this is the best possible way to frame your thoughts, opinions and arguments instead of simply being the best that you can create when under pressure from prospects to respond.
8. It saves you time in the long-run
Often in social selling, you have to tweak existing content to make it fit or find yourself sending a rushed response to a FAQ that you’re not 100% happy with. By taking 10 minutes more knowing that employee generated content will help your social selling strategy and immediate sales needs, it saves you time in the future for when these questions arise again.
9. You’re probably already sitting on an employee generated content goldmine
Social selling teams are often prime candidates for employee generated content - often with a stash of resources or templates that they’re already using to help their sales. Turning that information into online material is relatively easy and, if your sales teams all commit to doing so with your best resources, you can quickly build up a bank of online content that’s easy to refer to in future.
10. It can be fun! And finally, we’ll leave you with this: it can be a lot of fun (and immensely gratifying) to create content with your name on in the public domain. When the engagement figures start to build, you know that it’s because of what you’ve created.
We’ll leave you with some excerpts from our interview with self-proclaimed “grumpy old men” technical experts at SAP on their social selling success journey, Trond Røvang and John Oxenby:
Trond: “I actually like what I do. It is a little bit fun. It's also quite beneficial for work because you have to think through things because it’s hard to go back on something once on video. But in general, we're just fortunate to enjoy what we're doing and turn it into a hobby….But it surprised us to see so much positive feedback. And you get a little bit addicted to it.”
John: “It’s also quite rewarding. We believed that there was a gap between very shallow, glossy corporate branding and the full manual which takes you two weeks to get read through it.”
(Access the full recording and write-up here: [INTERVIEW] Two “Grumpy” Technical Experts’ Journey To Social Media Success.)