Many companies have now figured out that the audiences reached by its employees far outstretches that of their company's reach.
Let me give you an example of what I mean. If company A has 1000 followers on its LinkedIn company page, but has 25 employees all with 500+ connections, then the reach of the total employees combined is as much as 12,500 people, considerably more than the original 1000. Add into that employees' activity on other platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, and their friends and followers, and it certainly adds up. The opportunity now is for the company to somehow encourage their employees to share relevant company information with their own audiences.
It will be easier with some businesses than others. A food company asking employees to share cool recipes with their friends and connections will go down much easier than a photocopier company asking their employees to share company posts with their audience. In cases where the business example is just not that sexy, particularly some B2B products and services, companies will have to be a little more creative in how they make it work.
Think about employing a salesperson for a position at your company today. You have three final applicants to choose from and on paper and through interviews they can all do the job well. What is going to help you make your decision? In 2015, it would be a smart move to pick the one with the biggest audience, because going forward, you want someone with a great connection base to utilize physically on the ground and influence online.
If as a company you haven't before twigged to this concept, I'm sure you're awake to it now. Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to find a way to make the concept work for your company without alienating your team and demanding they do so. Doing that simply won't work and isn't fair to them or their personal networks, but do it right and you'll expand your company reach enormously.