What if every time you released a blog post or new piece of content on your company website, you got not one tweet but 5? Or 50? Or 500? This post is about turning your whole company into part time marketers for your website.
I’ll say up front that this post is targetted at businesses that have at least 5 or more employees, and you need to be able to spare your employees for about 2 minutes each week for this to work at its best. Most of the sharing is done automatically so very little time is involved.
Step 1: Create staff profiles
The first step is to create one big meet the team page that includes a one line bio for each and every employee, and links through to their personal profile. Take the hard work out of writing the personal profiles by creating a template for them to complete themselves, and provide them with an example.
What to include:
- Their full name
- A photo (see below)
- Their job description and what they do for the business
- Any special skills, responsibilities or achievements (job related)
- A personal quote relating to their job/the business, which you can make stand out as a design feature
- Their professional background (summary)
- Their academic background (summary)
- A line or two about their interests outside of work, such as family and hobbies
- Links to them on the web if these add credibility (for example, a link to their blog if it has quality industry-related material or they are a prominent spokesperson in the industry)
Aim for a minimum of 300 words. Remember that Google looks at the type of words you use on your website when determining what your site is about. So you don’t want to dilute your content with too much irrelevant material. Try and focus your staff profiles largely on how your staff fit into the business.
You don’t need professional photos – most smart phones have an 8 megapixel camera so just take a photo of each person in a well lit area against a plain background. If possible, make it a plain bright colour and try and avoid the cliche headshot. A more relaxed pose makes your employees look more approachable and human. Check out the ‘fun’ photo of Will Critchlow on the right as a great example (Source).
“Why am I doing this?”
- It’s new content for your website. A company with 50 employees will be adding 51 new pages, each with content themed around their business.
- It’s going to help you build links and create social shares, as I’ll explain in a moment.
- It adds personality to your website/company. People like to deal with people, and they’re very good at recognising cheesy stock photography. Use real images of your offices and staff throughout your website as well as on staff profiles, where possible.
The ideal here is that they use their existing social profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ (as a minimum) to help the Company share content. Naturally, some employees are going to be reluctant to do that and you can’t force them. They may agree to allow you to share content through some (e.g. LinkedIn) but not others. What you can do here is ask if they will set up a new account for the services where they don’t want to use their personal accounts, using their company email address. Of course, if they set up a new account, they won’t have any followers so their ‘reach’ will only be 1. Even if everyone at work adds everyone else, this doesn’t really help with the problem as you’re only sharing the content between yourselves.
However! If your employees point blank refuse to use their existing personal accounts, go with the option of getting each to set up a new one using their Company email address. They may have no reach but the tweets etc are a social signal, albeit a less valuable one, and it’s better than nothing – they may also build additional followers to those accounts over time, and we have another use for them which I’ll explain in a minute. Make sure you have a LinkedIn business page so that your employees can indicate they are all working for the same company. Link this page back to your website.
As well as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ accounts, ask your employees to create an account with StumbleUpon. StumbleUpon can drive some massive spikes of traffic to your site so it’s worth using. You’ll need to explain to your employees how this works and advise them that to be effective, they need to bookmark a range of other sites as well as the Company site – otherwise they may find that their account is cancelled. It’s also very important that they set this up from home, otherwise StumbleUpon may see all the new accounts as spam and again, cancel them.
Make it their first task to add a good piece of content from your website to StumbleUpon, as well as to ‘stumble’ 3 more websites. To add a page from your site, they need to go to their profile and scroll down to the link at the bottom of the left hand menu which says ‘Add a new page’. They can then either add other sites they know, or use the top left hand ‘Stumble’ button to browse random sites to award the thumbs up to.
Step 3: Get employees linking in
Once you’ve agreed an approach to employees’ social accounts, you need to ask them to link to their personal profile on your website. You may find they are happy to do this from both their personal accounts and newly created company accounts, as their profile gives them credibility and is something to be proud of. So here a company of 50 employees will be gaining between 150 and 300 links for very little effort.
You also need to make sure they all ‘follow’ / ‘like’ etc your company social profiles. I’ll explain why this is important later on.
Step 4: Start linking new content
The main point of this exercise is to enable sharing of new website content. When you add a really good article, you can either share it once through your Company’s social accounts – or you can get all of your employees to share it, meaning 5, 50, 500 tweets every time.
You’re now wondering how you can coordinate your 5, 50 or 500 employees to all tweet and share your content. You could ask them to do it manually, and so far as StumbleUpon is concerned, this is exactly what you’ll have to do (again, make sure they do it from home and also ‘stumble’ a number of other websites at the same time). You could also set each staff member up as a user on OnlyWire and push out the content through each user account separately (which is set up with their user names and passwords for the individual services). This is realistic for a small company but would be very time consuming for a large organisation. A better approach to coordinate Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn posts is to set them up on Tribrr.
Tribrr describes itself as a ‘reach multiplier’ tool. Using Tribrr, every time you release a new piece of content, every single one of your employees can automatically share it across Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. For this to work well, you need your content to be published to an RSS feed. If you’re using WordPress, that’s easy, your feed address will be one of these:
If you’re not using WordPress, you need to sort out an RSS feed on your website. There are loads of great guides already, just Google: ‘adding an rss feed to website’
So here’s what to do:
- Set yourself up on Tribrr. Edit your profile. Here’s mine: http://triberr.com/members/?pid=26104. Tip: put your website/blog address in the first line, it helps members quickly decide whether to add you to their tribe or accept requests. Edit your website/blog info – here’s where you put in your feed address. Then add in your company Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn details.
- Upgrade to premium. This will cost you $40 a month but has a really big benefit that you need. Up to 500 “superfans” can join your tribe, and will share only YOUR content automatically. On the standard version, only 30 members are allowed and there is no auto sharing.
- Get all of your employees to set up on Tribrr and update their Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn information.
- Click Tribal Stream > Tribes > Create New Tribe
- When you’ve done that, use the links on the right to locate your employees on Tribrr and invite them to your tribe. The currency on Tribrr is “bones”. You start off with 100. Inviting someone to your tribe costs bones, so depending on how big your company is, you may need to buy some more.
Once you’re set up, there are two ways you can proceed. You can either rely on your employees to pick and choose which posts they’d like to tweet and share from the tribal stream. Or, they can opt to autoshare. I would recommend the latter, especially for larger companies.
Tribrr is a really useful tool and you’ll probably find yourself using it to build more tribes outside of your company to share content. Keep in mind the forthcoming authorship signals that Google is likely to introduce and look for quality over quantity.
Back to a small point I made earlier. Now, if you got all your employees to like / follow your social accounts, your ‘reach’ on Tribrr will be improved, making you a better prospect for other users so far as joining your tribe or inviting you to theirs is concerned. This is where those new company profiles that have no reach outside of the Company are still useful.
Now you’ve got your employees involved with your site, why stop there? You could try:
- Videos – get your employees talking about their role within the Company and what makes the Company special/unique. Add these to employee pages, mark up with rich snippets, add a video sitemap, create your own YouTube channel – and so on.
- Interviews – write up brief interviews with employees explaining what they do for the Company and examples of how the Company can help people/other businesses.
- Careers info – get your employees talking about what it’s like to do their job (this can go in your careers section but also provides more sharing opportunities across a wider range of sites) (see Howtowriteacv.guru for example).
- Blog posts – get your employees writing entries in a section of the Company blog – what have they done that’s good this week at work, did anything special happen? Make sure their posts have a bio and use the Google+ authorship tag.
- Guest articles – have your employees write full articles for your website as a guest contributor. Again make sure you use the authorship tag. If these are high quality pieces of content, your employees’ credibility will increase in Google’s eyes, and over time, their content – and their social shares – will likely be even more valuable to your website.