A B2B client approached us last week with a problem we’ve heard over and over again: “My marketing team has created a ton of great content. I know it would make a huge impact on LinkedIn, if only I could get my employees to share it.”

So many organizations are putting time and effort into creating content that will engage their customers (if you’re not, call us and maybe we can help!). And it’s not just the standard marketing fluff. It’s real, helpful information based on the pain points they know their customers are struggling with. But, like the proverbial tree falling in the woods, if no one reads it, does it make a difference?

Nope, unfortunately, it doesn’t.

The problem is that as a marketer, you simply can’t reach everyone despite your best efforts through owned, paid, and earned media. Increasingly, it’s essential to tap into your employees’ network, especially through channels like LinkedIn, to get a viral lift and more eyeballs on your work.

It’s harder to do than you think. It would be nice if you could just tell your staff, “hey, share this” and the flood gates of engagement swing wide. What you’re really doing, though, is saying, “hey, here’s another task for you to complete. Take time out of your busy day to fool around on social networks. And, no, we’re not paying you more.”

It’s not going to work. You have to completely change the way you pitch LinkedIn in order to change their mindset and turn them into LinkedIn content superstars.

When we consult with clients about their LinkedIn distribution strategy, we advise content owners and creators to think of their employees as end customers. You have to sell them the benefit of sharing content on LinkedIn and clearly answer the question “What’s In It for Me?”

In order to build an effective strategy on LinkedIn, talk to employees about your content distribution program in terms of Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle. If you’re not familiar, the Golden Circle is the way effective leaders communicate and it’s pretty much the exact opposite of the way everyone else does – first why, then how, and finally what.

 Start with WHY

This is where you communicate vision and passion. It’s the time to inspire your audience – in this case, the employees you want to buy in to your LinkedIn distribution strategy. When talking about the why with them, these tips will help:

  1. Align it with the brand: Your LinkedIn content distribution plan should feel like a natural extension of your company’s goals. The more aligned, the more employees will understand why they’re doing it. Let your passion come through. As Sinek said, “People don’t buy what you’re doing, they buy why you’re doing it.” Are you excited about the plan? Make them feel it.
  1. Don’t put it in an email: emails are so easy to delete, forget about, or come back to later (which never happens). Make it fun. Spending a couple of bucks on a pizza lunch to introduce your strategy ensures that you’ll have their attention.
  1. Ask for feedback: Give employees some ownership. Ask what they think about it, provide chances for them to give their feedback, and incorporate good suggestions.

Then talk about HOW

The how portion of selling the content distribution plan to employees is where you talk about your differentiators. While it supports the “why,” it demonstrates how your plan and approach is unique in the marketplace. Incorporate this advice:

  1. Share the goal: What are you trying to do? Maybe you want to be seen as the go-to thought leader in your field, or provide unparalleled customer response on LinkedIn. Spell that out in concrete terms for employees.
  1. Answer “What’s In In for Me”: It’s great if the company benefits, but how does the employee benefit individually from spending time on LinkedIn? They need to know how it’s going to make their job easier, help them reach more customers, or close more sales.
  1. Do your research: Come armed with examples of how it will be effective. If you already have a LinkedIn champion on staff, invite them to share their experiences with the rest of the company about how it helped them be more effective.

Finish with the WHAT

The what is where you talk about the nitty-gritty details, the nuts and bolts of the plan. It’s what they’ll be doing on a day-to-day basis, the more task-oriented stuff that takes time and energy to complete. Again, to reiterate, don’t lead off the conversation with the what unless you want to doom your LinkedIn program to failure. Instead, do this:

  • Crush the learning curve: Not every employee knows how to use LinkedIn, especially for sharing content. Provide a few simple tips to get started. Slowly introduce more advanced tips along the way (a regular “Did you know?” tips email can be effective).
  • Introduce the content: Show examples of what they’ll be sharing. Walk them through your eBook, whitepaper, or infographic so they understand it and can answer customer questions after they share it.
  • Provide examples and flexibility: Some people are intimidated by the thought of writing something, even a short blurb to accompany the content they’re sharing for you on LinkedIn. Provide them with 2 or 3 possible comments to include when they share it, and also let them know they’re free to make their own.

This really only scratches the surface of how to get employees more involved on LinkedIn. Over the coming weeks, we’ll share more in-depth tips and advice that will help your LinkedIn strategy.