5 Steps to Build Your Digital Content Tribe Like Hilton

By: Vanessa Sain-Dieguez, Hilton Worldwide

May 31, 2017

Generating new and exciting content is essential to any social media strategy, but it’s no small feat. Brands spend a good chunk of their marketing budget on copywriters, agencies and influencers to build a library of rich, dynamic content that captures and captivates their audience’s attention.

At Hilton, we’ve built a similar tribe of content creators, but they don’t come with the high agency price tag—they’re our team members.

With nearly 5,000 hotels globally, we turned to our team members to create authentic content that powers our HR social content strategy and helps to sell a Hilton career. After all, content shared by employees receives eight times more engagement than content shared by a brand, according to a study by Edelman, so we wanted to put them in the driver’s seat.

In less than a year, more than 200 team members have shown what a career with Hilton looks like via about 850 posts to our @HiltonCareers Instagram account.

Hilton Worldwide, Vanessa Sain-Dieguez, senior director, HR digital strategy and implementation

Vanessa Sain-Dieguez, senior director, HR digital strategy and implementation, Hilton Worldwide

We’re pretty strict with the rules on this one. Team members take over the account for just one day to show us “a day in the life” (even our CEO only got one day). This content not only engages our social audience but is also leveraged across internal and external channels for maximum impact.

Employee advocacy isn’t new at Hilton. We’ve been doing this for some time with our award-winning @HiltonSuggests program. But our approach to @HiltonCareers takes it a step further with the visual element of content creation and has been a huge success. Having this baseline of advocacy certainly helped us build momentum, but if you’re just starting from scratch, here are five steps to get started with your own employee advocacy program.

Find the doers. This sounds obvious but it is often overlooked. Find the employees who are always looking to do more. If you search, I bet you can come up with a list of 10 people who are always asking for more. If they know social, awesome—but if they don’t, see the next step.

Hold their hand. Of course, it’s easier to start with someone who understands social, but if your brand doesn’t have a social media army to turn to, I encourage you to think outside the box. When I started our @HiltonSuggests Twitter team, I trained many team members to tweet, and a handful of these tweeters turned out to be our best performers. Be open to teaching someone new tricks and take the time to hold their hand along the way—it will pay off.

Give guidance, but not too much. Less is more here. Keep the rules to a minimum. Have a solid social media policy and provide training so your employees know the do’s and don’ts. Most importantly, encourage your tribe to have fun. Social is about connecting to humans, not slogans or taglines. Don’t force your tribe to show you what you want to see…let them show you something you never even thought of. Turn over the keys and get ready to be dazzled.

Leverage an existing program in new ways. We have several social media resource groups that were a natural place to start. We also have a team tasked with finding stories internally to share on our intranet. Do you have employees engaging on social media or the content creation process that can be leveraged in a new way?

Thank them, then thank them again. Your tribe just created a lot of content that can be used time and time again. Be sure to thank them for it! Thank you notes, whether a hand-written card or a friendly social shout out, go a long way. Promote their content on internal and external channels to give them the recognition they deserve.

Vanessa Sain-Dieguez is the senior director of HR digital strategy and implementation at Hilton Worldwide, a post she has held since February 2016. Prior to that, she served as a director of social media for Hilton Worldwide.

Connect with Vanessa: @VSDieguez 

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